How to be more successful

What is success?

Before we get on to how to be successful, I’d like to know how you define ‘Success‘ ?

Becasuse, how we each define success, is very different.

success champion image
What’s your definition of Success?

Many people would say something like… ” I will be successful when I’m earning ‘X’ amount of money every year, living in a big house (with 3/4/5 bedrooms, a swimming pool, etc., etc.) and driving a brand new (name of ideal car)“.

The problem with a definition like that, is for most people, they probably won’t ever reach it.

Surely a high success target is a good thing?

Time to think about success

The trick is not to be too materialistic. Let me give you an example….

At a personal development seminar I attended a few years ago, the facilitator asked everyone to introduce themselves. We were asked include a short explaination of our current circumstances and what we hoped to achieve from the seminar.

One of the attendees, a man in early middle age, lived in a large 5 bedroom home with a pool house, with his Wife and two children. The kids were doing really well at school, his work for a multi-national Company paid him $850,000 per year, plus expenses. He drives a Mercedes, lives in Southern California, and also had a second ‘holiday’ home in Freeport, Texas.

He enjoys his career, but was concerned that his work was taking over his life, giving him very little free time.

When asked if he was successful, he immediately replied “no!, but I’m trying hard to get there!”

He was then asked what it would take for him to believe he was successful.

His answer? He would need to be earning $1.5Million a year, to have an additional home in Europe, to own a yacht (for his home at Freeport) and to always be at the peak of physical fitness.

For probably 95% of the population, his current circumstances are above what would be considered a successful situation, yet for him, because his definition is so high and based almost completely on material things, he doesn’t feel successful. In fact, he almost feels like a failure.

Clearly, he’s done as well as he has, at least in part to the fact that he’s still reaching for his version of success, and who knows? one day he may reach it, if the stress doesn’t get to him first.

At the other end of the scale…

In contrast, another attendee was 31 years old and lives with his partner in a rented apartment. He’s currently unemployed and often struggles to get by on the social security cheques. He came to the seminar to try to ‘get more direction in his life’.

When asked if he felt successful, he replied “ABSOLUTELY!!” He then went on to explain that for him, every day above ground was a success. If he woke up in the morning, he was already a success and the day had only just begun!

Again, it has to be said that his low definition of what success is, has almost certainly played it’s part on his current situation, but the ‘un-successful‘ business man spends his whole life filled with stress and pressure to be successful and the struggling man, who seems to have no prospects and little money feels the pleasure of success every day and enjoys his life.

Food for thought??

So, what should I do?

go be successful

Now, I’m not saying that you should try to live your life with as low an expectation as you can. Everybody needs to grow.

But, maybe it’s time to evaluate what you already have in your life that many people can only dream of. Then I’m sure you’ll see that everyone is a success in their own right.


I think Steven R Covey said it best. In an interview with the New York Times. He said,

“If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success”

So, do you want to be the richest person in the graveyard? Or, do you want to be remembered as the person who lived a life full of amazng experiences, with people who loved you and whom you loved?

Choose your definition of success wisely.

What would need to happen for you to feel successful? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Always remember that no matter how bad your circumstances look to you, there will always be someone who’s in a much worse situation and can only dream of being as lucky as you are  😉

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Steve, who's also the Founder of Teen Anxiety UK, has been writing books and articles about various aspects of Psychology since 2006.

For the last five years, he's main focus has been in helping build confidence and self-esteem.

His formal qualifications include Clinical Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP and CBT.

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