Random Reflections of an Average Reasonable Person

What does success mean to you?

When we were kids we were always told by our parents and elderlies that life is difficult, the world can be harsh, and that many challenges will come our way. Which is why we were always reminded of the value of education and hard-work, so that we will be become successful in the future, in whatever fields we want to forge ahead.

In our yearbooks or slam books we wrote: “When I grow up I want to be a successful doctor”, or “I wanna become a successful lawyer”, or “I will become a successful engineer”. If you notice, we all wanted different things or careers in life, but one thing is common: We all want to be successful!

But what does becoming successful really mean?


This is one of my favorite visual illustrations of success. It aptly shows that success is not attained by doing nothing. Credits to the owner.

When I was young, I used to equate money or being rich, to success. I see a doctor who drives a fancy car, who lives in a beautiful house, who can buy whatever he/she wants, and who is popular among other people to be the successful. I used to think that ultimately, the measure of ones success is how much money you have in the bank, how many properties you have , and how influential one has become.

However, as life went on for me, as I encountered many different experiences first hand, and as I have learned from the people I came across with, I discerned (and maybe you too) that success is more than glitz, glamour and ka-ching!

Today I view success as being able to live life in peace and in harmony with other people and with nature, being able to achieve your dreams, and being able to help others achieve theirs too!

Here are ten of the definitions of success from some of the figures whose stories inspired me. I have also included links to their respective profiles so that you can click and learn about their lives:

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”Zig Ziglar, Salesman and author


“Success:  To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded!”Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poet and lecturer


“Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill, Nobel Prize Winner and former prime Minister of the United Kingdom


“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America


“Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”Michelle Obama, Lawyer, writer and wife of former US President Barack Obama


“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”Melinda Gates, Philanthropist and spouse of Bill Gates

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”Helen Keller, Author and teacher


“I work really hard at trying to see the big picture and not getting stuck in ego. I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose… When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.”Ellen DeGeneres, American TV host, comedian and actor


“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey, American TV host, producer and entrepreneur


“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.” Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States of America and a business tycoon


How about you? How do you define success? I would definitely love to hear!

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