Why ‘success’ means different things for different people

Adrianna Mejia
Why ‘success’ means different things for different people
It doesn’t have to be portrayed as something grand, something that happens when you reach a certain age, or something you can see or use

MANILA, Philippines – If you ask different people to define success, you will end up with many answers.

Traditional ideas of success rely on having money or property. For some people, success may be measured by how much you earn or what position you’re currently holding in a company.

But modern times have brought about a shift in perspective. The conventional meaning or vision of success has changed.

Strayer University conducted a survey that revealed that more people now associate success with happiness, good relationships, and loving what you do for a living, rather than material possessions, power, and prestige. Among the respondents, those who feel successful usually do so because they have a strong support system and accomplished their set goals.

This shift of perspective is also seen among Filipinos.

According to a survey conducted by BBDO Guerrero and Halls & Partners across Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao, young Filipinos believe that success is personal, rather than driven by external factors. They equate happiness with success.

Among the survey respondents, an overwhelming majority chose to define success through an experience-filled life (91%), having the freedom to work on their own (90%), or philanthropy (93%), versus fame, power, or popularity.

Other than redefining what success is, 88% of the respondents are optimistic about having more opportunities for success, with 73% saying that they have more of these chances compared to their parents.

At the end of the day it all boils down to how you define success and the positive outlook you have in achieving your own triumphs in life – and how hard you’re willing to work to earn it.

Here are some examples of different interpretations of success.

Career milestones vs fulfillment

Career success can mean many things to different people.

Some people dream of having a big corner office with glass windowpanes and earning 10x more than their peers. That would be pretty sweet and really does show that you’ve finally made it to the top.

But how about those who chose to pursue their passion for singing or art? These people may not call what they do exactly work, but they’re happy and productive. That’s success, too.

One study suggests that happiness reflects on work performance. Those who are happier are more successful in their chosen career paths.

What does this mean? Aiming for rewards is a great motivation for hard work – but it’s also perfectly fine to go the other way and aim for satisfaction in whatever you choose to do.

Relationships over anything

Saying a relationship is “successful” can be quite complex. There’s no one way to define or pinpoint what a happy relationship is. It depends on a mix of many factors, such as how much you prioritize your loved ones, or whether you treat them well. 

Another way of looking at success is seeing how much value you put into relationships, or how many friends you consider as true ones.

Do you acknowledge how family, friends and colleagues have supported you all throughout your journey to achieving your goals? Do you keep it balanced and maintain relationships no matter what? Do you treat everyone with mutual respect and trust? When working towards a goal, don’t forget about what it took you to get there. Think about the people who helped you along the way.

Money matters

If you’re a breadwinner working day and night just to put food on the table and get your kids through school, and you still have some savings for emergency purposes, you can already say that that’s something to be proud of and an achievement in itself.

In money matters, success isn’t always immediately apparent. It takes time. If you’re a young professional trying to save up for your dream car, house, or ultimate vacation, then it’s good to keep track of your finances. Develop a habit to save up right when you start earning, even if this means putting away just a small portion of your monthly income.

When you finally hit your goals, there’s no other feeling like being able to see your loved ones being proud of you, and even benefiting from your own success. This is where the fulfillment of working hard and trusting the process comes in.

Success doesn’t have to be portrayed as something grand, something that happens when you reach a certain age, or something you can see or use. It can be something deeper than that. What matters the most is your own definition of success.

No matter what your definition of success may be, remember that celebrating it with friends and family will make it feel even more worth it. If success is more often than not associated with happiness, sharing it with others is one step in the right direction.

How do you define success? Share it with us in the comments sections below and watch out for more inspiring stories to help you in your journey to success.  – Rappler.com


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