The Definition of Success

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Last night I had a telephone conversation with a friend, and while we were mulling over one subject after another, I mentioned how cool it would be if only I could win the lottery. I remember stating that I wouldn?t even mind sharing the jackpot with a few other people, as long as a couple of millions were left hanging for me.

My friend asked me what I would change about my life if I was wealthy, and that?s when it hit me: Nothing really. The only difference would be that I would not have to be concerned about paying the monthly bills anymore, and maybe that I would purchase a nice house in the hills, but the actual contents of my life and the way I have furnished it so far would not undergo any significant transformation.

This discovery intrigued me. In fact it got me mulling over it long after the conversation with my friend was over! I started wondering if the universal measure of success should not be: the degree to which a person manages to be satisfied with the general contents of his or her routine.

Just think about it for a moment: there are many wealthy people who would give away half or all of their assets if only they could obtain contentment. And there are many people balancing on the edge of poverty, but with peace in their heart, faces that smile a lot, and a set of activities that they would not want to change for the world. Now, which category of these people is really successful?

My conclusion is, that success has just as many faces as any other possible theme, depending on the society in which it is measured, and the character of the person who measures it. Wrongfully, many people confuse success with wealth: they assume that a person?s triumph can be concluded from the expensiveness of his or her watch, car, or house. They envy those in their circle of acquaintances who can financially afford more than they can. They keep comparing themselves with the Joneses and allow their happiness to depend on the level to which they can equal these people's lifestyles. And they forget to just do the simplest thing in the world: turn inside and analyze what it is that they really like.

I think success should be more synonymous with happiness than with affluence. For it's only when you find satisfaction with what you're doing and don't dread facing every new day when your task has to be embarked upon, that you are really successful. When you can move in an environment that pleases you, and when you feel at ease with the ones you deal with on a daily base; when you feel loved, cared for, understood, and valued in what you do, and you don?t have to switch personalities from one location to another: that?s when you?ve really attained success. When you see that you make a difference, if only in one person?s life; when you are confronted with gratitude, not only from others toward you, but from your outer-self to your inner-self: that?s when you are a real winner.

Success, therefore, cannot be measured by what radiates from a person's purse or material cover, but from what exudes from his or her personality. You can feel it in one's touch, you can hear it in one?s voice: in the way one speaks, and you can see it in one's eyes. Successful people are self-assured, know what they want, and go for it. And what they want, they simply determine with feeling, and not with what others dictate them.

So, are you successful?

About the Author:

Joan Marques, holds an MBA, is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Leadership, and a university instructor in Business and Management in Burbank, California. You may visit her web site at

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