What is Success?

Craig Rouse
Professor Pangborn
English IB TTH
1 February 1999

When society thinks of a successful person many different ideas come to mind. Some people may picture a wealthy business man who has gained power through his achievements and who knows a lot of people. Another picture is that of a person who grew up with nothing but through many years of hard work, accomplished their goals and made a better life for themselves. A third picture is one of just an ordinary person who achieved a goal that was important to them. It may have even been something as simple as doing well on a difficult exam. They still succeeded at something. Ideas on what the word success really means differs from person to person. When they say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," the same can be said about success. Although the dictionary contains a definition for this word, it is still confusing. Each successful person is different in the way that they achieved their goals and in the ways that they rate their overall success. Ultimately the best way to define success is a person who achieves a goal and everything turns out the way they wanted it, whether it rewarded them monetarily or whether it just made them happy.
In a Webster's New World Dictionary, the word success is defined as a favorable or desired outcome. The same dictionary also said success is the gaining of wealth and power ( 597). These definitions confuse people because they do not clarify whether success is about being rich or about having a good outcome. Which one is right ? Each person has a different opinion. One author wrote that "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal" (National Promotions 1). Later he goes on to say that "Success is whatever we want it to be that's worthy to us" (National Promotions 1). When someone has a worthy goal it is usually something that is good and something that is important to them. Some people do not believe that a goal of becoming a more powerful business person has the same worthiness as a person whose goal is just to get a job in the first place. What really matters is what the person who sets the goal thinks. Everyone's goals are different but if one is chosen that is truly worthy to the person achieving it, then it will mean success for them. From Mastermind: Seven Secrets of Total Success, Louis B. Cady, M.D. gave his definition of success. He said, "Success is an increased sense of self worth, happiness, inner peace, personal fulfillment, and almost certain economic advantage as we work and progress toward, and ultimately achieve, a mutually complimentary set of a well-balanced goals and objectives"((1)). Again the act of achieving a goal is brought up. Cady describes these goals as well balanced. Any successful person should have well balanced goals because it will enable them to truly achieve it. Sometimes people set their goals too high and it makes everything more difficult . If goals are truly thought about and well balanced, then they will be worthy to the person trying to achieve them. Also in Cady's definition of success he brings up economic advantage. In many cases people base their goals on money. There is a great number of successful people in this world who are wealthy. The thing that everyone must remember though is that just because a goal is accomplished does not mean that wealth and power come after it. There are also many successful people who are not wealthy and who are considered just as successful. The most important part of being successful is actually working for the goal and trying to achieve it, whatever it may be.
Many people automatically assume that the only successful people in this world are the ones who have achieved great wealth. It is a way that some measure their success. A reason why people do this may be the fact that many people look at money as a sign of what they have achieved. The more money they have, the more they have achieved, the less they have, the less they have achieved. Many people see money as