What Does it Mean to Be Successful?


The great philosopher Thomas Carlyle once wrote, “Let each become all that he  was created capable of being.”

I can’t think of a better definition of success.

Life  challenges us every day to develop our capabilities to the fullest. We’re successful  when we reach for the highest that’s within us—when we give the best we have.  The quote at the beginning of this post says that success is in the doing, not  in the getting. I can’t emphasize that point enough.

Life doesn’t require us to always come out on top. It asks only that we do our best at each level of experience.  This is what successful people do in some of the most important areas of life: 

  • Successful people accept life as it is, with all its difficulties and challenges. They adapt to it rather than complain about it. They accept responsibility for their own lives instead of blaming or making excuses. They say  YES to life in spite of its negative elements and make the most of it, no  matter what the circumstances. 
  • Successful people develop and maintain a positive attitude toward life. They look for good in others and in the world, and usually seem to find it.  They see life as a series of opportunities and possibilities, and always explore them. 
  • Successful people build good relationships. They’re sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. They’re considerate and respectful. They have a  way of bringing out the best in other people. 
  • Successful people have a sense of direction and purpose—they know where they’re going. They set goals, accomplish them, and then set new  goals. They accept and enjoy challenges. 
  • Successful people have a strong desire to learn: about life, the world, and themselves. They see learning as a joy, not a duty. They continually enrich  their lives by learning new things and improving themselves. They are always discovering, always growing. 
  • Successful people are action-oriented. They get things done because they’re not afraid of hard work, and they don’t waste time. They use it in  constructive ways. They don’t get into ruts or become bored because  they’re too busy looking for new experiences. 
  • Successful people maintain high standards in their personal conduct. They know that honesty is one of the main ingredients in the character of  a good person. They are consistently truthful in both their private and  public lives. 
  • Successful people understand the difference between existing and living, and always choose the latter. They get the most out of life because they  put the most into it. They reap what they sow. And they enjoy life to the  fullest.