Success Definition

Defining success: What is the meaning of success to you?

What is success? When it comes defining success …, everyone usually think about having more money and a higher social status. Let me ask you – How do you define Success?  Is it wealth that resembles success to you? Is it fame? Or … Is it happiness? Can you call yourself a success if the one thing that you feel you’ve accomplished in life is marrying a caring lady and having obedient children?

Success can be defined in many different ways, but it’s up to you which one to choose. Achieving wealth, respect, or fame is an important perspective to success but those are not the only aspects to define success.

Success Meaning

Success cannot be defined in one sentence, but instead it is comprised of many things. The success definition is relative and depends on the individual. One single definition may not resonate with all. Success is something that you have to define for yourself, and no one can do it for you. In fact, the first step toward achieving success is defining success for yourself.

In this post, we will share success definition from highly successful people to help you find out your own success definition or success meaning.

How incredibly successful people define success?

When incredibly successful people in their fields are asked about their definition of success, most say wealth, fame and materialistic achievements are not what make them feel accomplished. Here are success definitions from some of the world’s most influential people. Use these or find inspiration here to create your own definition of success that can be applied to your unique life.

Stephen Covey

Stephen Richards Covey was an eminent American non-fiction author. He was a multitalented personality who was recognized for his work as a successful businessman, educator and an influential public speaker. He is credited for writing one of the most influential business books of twentieth century, titled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Stephen Covey defines success as –

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

Defining Success

What better place to find your definition of success than your own funeral. The life you’re living today is the legacy you’re leaving behind. If your current legacy is not the one you want to leave, you can change it today.

Warren Buffett

Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and most successful investors in the world. He has a net worth of over $108 billion as of February 2023. The “Oracle of Omaha” has business ventures into everything from media, insurance, energy, and the food industry. According to Buffet, the definition of success isn’t money or fame. He says:

 “I measure success by how many people love me.”

Success meaning

Buffet says when you get to a certain age in life, you won’t measure how successful you’ve been by the money you’ve made. Instead success is measured by how many people really love you. Since money can’t buy love, the only way to be loved is to be loveable.


If you ask me, my definition of success, it has a bit different meaning to me. To me success is not about making billion dollars, becoming famous or getting a powerful position. I can find success in every area of life. My wife and relationship with her is success to me, making a difference in someone’s life is success to me, and above all getting along everyone towards betterment gives me feeling of being successful.

“When you reach at the peak of success and you have no one to celebrate along with, such success has not value.”

If you achieve success putting others down, leaving behind the relationships for career advancement, and not giving enough recognition to the people who have contributed in your success journey; at end when you will reach at the top of your success graph and you have no one around you to celebrate the same; that success has no meaning. You are one of the most unsuccessful person in this world.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, popular poet, songwriter, director, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Angelou worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King on the Civil Right Movement. At the request of Bill Clinton, Angelou delivered her poem “On the Pulse of the Morning” at his 1993 inauguration. Then in 2010, President Obama awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Angelou’s success wasn’t defined by being groundbreaking or her award recognition, success is all about liking what you do:

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Defining Success

According to Angelou success starts with liking yourself. You can only feel truly accomplished when you love yourself and value your actions and behavior. You must always reject any measure of success being imposed on you that doesn’t match with who you are, what you want to do, and how you want to do it.

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill may have been one of the most important historical figures of the 20th century, but prior to 1940 he faced many failures. Though Churchill never gave up and continued to be a public figure. It was the years of failing that prepared Churchill to become a leader and formed his definition of success:

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Failures are part of the success story. We will sometimes fail in life. We should never give up at such occasions  and keep the enthusiasm going.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States.  Obama, who once held the highest office in the land doesn’t equate power with success. In the year 2012, at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama told the audience that her husband “started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down.”

She went on:

“For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

Making an impact in someone others life and bringing difference gives true feeling of accomplishment. Remember the “The Starfish Story” shared in our Inspirational Stories Series? If, you have not read the same yet, please go and read how a little girl makes a difference.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey, or simply Oprah, is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist. Winfrey is an international icon of success. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is the highest-rated television program of its kind and was nationally syndicated in Chicago from 1986 to 2011. She is one of the richest and most influential women in the United States. Business Week has named her the greatest African-American philanthropist in American history. To Oprah, fulfilment is directly synonymous with her idea of success.

 “…How to be used in the greater service to life. Ask this question, and the answer will be returned and rewarded to you with fulfillment, which is the major definition of success, to me.”

Success Definition

Ask yourself how your actions can have an impact on the well-being of a community or an ecosystem. If you find the answer that will make you feel more accomplished and fulfilled in life. And, that’s the true success in life. You will leave this world one day, but your contribution to social case will keep you alive.

Richard Branson

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is a British billionaire, entrepreneur, commercial astronaut and business magnate. In the 1970s he founded the Virgin Group, which today controls more than 400 companies in various fields. For Richard Branson, the definition of successes isn’t having a private island or a $5 billion net worth. Branson believes success is about happiness.

“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”

Money and fame does not matter, if you are not happy. Happiness is something which gives you feel of accomplished. Find out what makes you happy and act accordingly.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, American basketball player is widely considered to be greatest basketball players of all time.  Jordan’s career spanned fifteen seasons in the NBA, playing for the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards during the 1980’s and 90’s. Jordan believes that road to success passes through the failures only. He says, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. ”

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Failure and success are deeply connected with each other. Both cannot exist without one another. It’s often a failure that inspires one to push even harder to reach beyond success. You need to fail fast and fail over again and again to learn which paths go towards failure. These become learnings and experience for the future success.

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Over to you now, thanks for reading this article on defining success. Please share your definitions of success in the comment section below; I and our other Invajy readers would love to know your perspective to success.

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