What is success? It is not just reaching a goal. Success is the condition or state of meeting a certain set of standards. It can be seen as the opposite of Failure. The standards for success can be relative to an individual’s personal perspective or belief system and are influenced by context. This chapter discusses the four perspectives on what is success.
An individual’s view of success may be very personal, but it is usually tied to the outcomes that are seen as successful by that person. In business, we speak about “success” in terms of measurable results. A business that is profitable is said to be successful if its gross revenues meets a pre-defined target. On the other hand, a business may fail if its net income does not meet targets set by management.
Another perspective on success is how individuals define success. Sometimes this is referred to as the “success mindset.” People with the “success mindset” believe that they know what success is. In this definition, a person is said to be successful if they are able to live up to the standard of whatever they believe is their success. This makes people who have the success mindset feel as if their goals are attainable.
A different way of looking at success is based on a certain set of fixed goals. Americans define success as being in a position to attain their set goals. These are the goals that are typically stated in the American Schools Standards for Learning which are taught in the United States in elementary, middle, and high school. These are some of the goals that can be measured in measurable quantities. However, these goals are not usually specified. In other words, Americans believe that if a person reaches a set of measurable goals, they have succeeded.
Still another way of viewing success is based on the definition of success that is determined by the individual. In this definition, the person is considered successful if they are successful at achieving their goals. Many people believe that reaching these goals is really not very important, or even unnecessary, so long as a person is successful. For these people, success means whatever defines success for that particular person. In this way, there is no standard set of definitions for success.
Defining success, however, is not always as easy as some of the people make it out to be. The above views are simply a framework for individuals to work within to determine whether or not they are successful. This framework does not necessarily define success, but it does provide individuals with tools to work towards their goals. Success is a highly personal thing, depending on each person’s level of motivation and determination. Individuals who feel that their goals are unattainable may look to define success on their own, but there is nothing wrong with this approach if that is what the individual feels is necessary for them.