7 Ways to Define Success: What Does Success Mean to You?

So what is success? And what does being successful mean to you?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of success is as follows:

  1. Degree or measure of succeeding

2. Favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

3. One that succeeds

Does having wealth mean success? Does currying favor equate to success? Does being eminent or superior guarantee success? How does one succeed?

Here is another definition of success for today’s times that can help to answer the question of what success means:








Here are some thoughts from others about how to think about defining success as well as how to think about achieving it.

1. Simplicity

“A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Understanding

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Albert Einstein

3. Compassion

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”


4. Courage

“Success in not final, failure is not final; it is the courage to continue that counts.”

— Winston Churchill

5. Energy

“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”

John Wooden

6. Service

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Mahatma Gandhi

7. Strength

“You will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles.”

— Helen Keller

And lastly, here are the wise words about success from the poet Emma Lazarus:


— Emma Lazarus

Oft have I brooded on defeat and pain, 
 The pathos of the stupid, stumbling throng. 
 These I ignore to-day and only long 
 To pour my soul forth in one trumpet strain, 
 One clear, grief-shattering, triumphant song, 
 For all the victories of man’s high endeavor, 
 Palm-bearing, laurel deeds that live forever, 
 The splendor clothing him whose will is strong. 
 Hast thou beheld the deep, glad eyes of one 
 Who has persisted and achieved? Rejoice! 
 On naught diviner shines the all-seeing sun. 
 Salute him with free heart and choral voice, 
 ‘Midst flippant, feeble crowds of spectres wan, 
 The bold, significant, successful man.

Best wishes for discovering your own meaning for success — and for persisting and achieving it!