What is Success?

I have seen this question posed on several other sites recently, mostly related to blogging success. So I wonder, in life, how do we define success?

It seems like, both in blogging and in life, people define success by numbers. As a blogger, the success is determined by the number of visitors per day, the dollar amount they can sell their ads, and the amount of diggs or tweets their posts received. As an author, the success is determined by how many books are sold, the number of positive reviews by large newspapers and magazines, and the number of movie offers that are made for their book. As a lawyer, the success is determined by the number of cases won and the dollar amount of settlement that is gained for their clients. As a family’s provider, the success is determined by the dollar amount of the salary he or she brings home, the dollar value of the home in which they live, and the amount of cars in their driveway.

But is that a real measure of success? Shouldn’t there be other things that determine if one is successful? Wouldn’t the quality of lives be different if there were other measures of success?

If we still want to focus on numbers, how about numbers like these. For the blogger, maybe the success should be determined by number of people who found the article valuable – who found something they were able to apply to some aspect of their work or their life. For the author, maybe the success should be determined by the number of people who were touched by the story, or whose lives changed after reading it for the better. For the lawyer, maybe the success should be determined by the people whose lives were helped, either by having a criminal taken off of the streets so they could not harm others, or because a settlement was won where the client not only desperately needed, but deserved the money – not something to make them millionaires, but something that covered what needed to be covered. For a family’s provider, maybe the success should be determined by the number of hours they are able to spend each day strengthening their relationships and their family bond.

And what about an individual’s success? Is it really about the things that can be bragged about, the amount of money that is made, the number of things owned, or the number of grandiose, external achievements? Maybe an individual’s success is more within. Maybe it is simply discovering more about themselves, who they are, who they want to be. Maybe it is by finding peace in life, and then leading by example and spreading that peace to others around them. Maybe it is supporting those around them to help them achieve the things that they want. Maybe it is a ton of other wonderful accomplishments – some great, some small – that not everyone can see, but for those who can, it defines them as a successful, amazing individual.

Maybe our definitions of success should be re-evaluated. Maybe we should be proud of everyone in our lives, whether their successes are obvious or not. Maybe what we do not realize is that, because of our individual ideals of success, we do not show those around us that we value them for who they are, instead of for what they accomplish.

That being said, what is your definition success? Do you show others that you value them, appreciate them, and are proud of them, despite what you may or may not think they are accomplishing?

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  1. says

    I think that is a fair and succinct introspective piece. I’ve also wondered the same. I think success is a definition unto ourselves. I also believe that the ideas of “success” change as we grow older and mature. When we’re young and do not have a family to provide for people dependent on financial security, one may have more loftier and ambitious goals that define their success. Others may find that being a drifter in life, acquiring knowledge and a worldly perspective, may be as successful as obtaining the materialistic items associated with financial success. It’s true that there could be a greater focus on success that involves more important matters, but I believe it’s the stage of your life that you’re in that impacts your definition of success at that time.

    ciphuns last blog post..Dunkin’ Donuts can create Frozen Assets

  2. says

    Kristi, I agree 100 %. People tend to measure success by the results that they can see.  Sadly, many people consider material wealth as the most accurate indicator of success.  A person of modest means might be a wonderful husband and father, well liked and appreciated by everyone that knows him, but still not considered successful.  On the flip side, a very wealthy person might make those around him feel horrible, and yet he is still viewed as a successful person.

    When we think of living a successful life, we are really talking about having a reasonable measure of success in many different areas of our life.  For that to be a reality, it’s absolutely vital that we established a definition for success in each of those areas.  This is the only way that we can gauge our progress.

    Jonathan – Advanced Life Skillss last blog post..65 Ways to Make Her Feel Special

  3. says

    Bloggers and online businesses rely on one thing, and that’s, converting visitors into customers. You can have all the visitors you want, but it’s all about conversion.

    I was a visitor once and now I am a converted loyal fan.

    Frank Js last blog post..Are you using a Secure FTP Client?

  4. says

    I always find success as being happy. A person should not define their success on results. We often do, but I’ve always found the journey to achieve those results the most important part. For that reason, I have failed at reaching some goals but feel successful because of the accomplishments I made in my attempt to reach it. Perhaps I’m just redefining the results so I perceived success, but I would fail those goals again for the happiness chasing them brought me.

    Mark Lewiss last blog post..Don’t Give to The Beggers

  5. says

    Wow, really liking the article. My definition of success in life and blogging is working towards your goals day in and day out. It can be blogging or it can be building a great relationship, it all depends on the person and their goals. I do my best to provide value to my readers with every post. Big or small.

    KushMoneys last blog post..t3leads Review

  6. says

    Hmmm, you have me thinking,..”hard”. When it comes to blogging, I think the numbers do matter to me, because it shows how well I am doing and I want to have a popular blog. In life and relationships, oh boy, that’s an entirely different thing and I am stumped and in a middle place as to feeling like I have success there.

    Destinys last blog post..Free flixstick floss

  7. says

    Nice article! My definition of success is being the best Christian, husband, father, friend, and person that I can be (I am far from perfect in any of those). Money can certainly help you enjoy life, but it is a means to an end — accumulating money is not the actual goal, it simply enables other goals. After settling down and especially after having kids, I tend to see “career” as a means to an end too — I no longer fixate on “my career” but want to do the best I can with my work to provide for my family.

    Peak Personal Finances last blog post..Best Car Loan Rates

  8. says

    Thank you Kikolani. I really enjoy your article.Here is your another great entry!

    Individual success is way easier to be measured because we ourselves set target and achieve it.

    In my opinion, the best success as a blogger is to write, contribute and spread the joy of blogging around without much complaint.
    You will get to know people that have true interest in you and later becomes friend.

    I am glad to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world through blogging. There are from Japan, US, Iran………
    We ex-change emails, write, call and even send “gem” gifts to each others.

    Now, I have a small cabinet just to display the gifts from my bloggers’ friend.
    I am glad to start blogging and falling in love with it.
    I can see the reasons why I am so committed to it and many times I stay up late to post and reply comments.

    By the way, I would love to have a link ex-change kikolani!
    Thanks in advance:)

    yoon sees last blog post..Contagious-Passion on painting

  9. says

    I agree 100% to many people take success for granted and use the dollars and cents as measurement. The last 2 yrs since being on the net I have learnd more about life and people in my life than ever before. I know people are reading my work and that is all that matters to me. Nothing else matters to me know as I also have seen my 2 adult girls grow up and marry and have wonderful lives. That is my major success in life…Barb

    Barbs last blog post..

  10. says

    You nail the spot. I think these days we think of a blog success in terms of numbers. However there are non tangible effects of a blog. For example some blogs really inspire someone to change or do something. This in my opinion can’t be express in numbers.

    Great post!!

    Lithiumminds last blog post..Free SEO Tool : Fagan Finder’s URLInfo

  11. says

    I’ll have to agree with @Mark Lewis that success is more of a subjective phenomenon. I also agree with @Ciphun that your personal perception of success evolves as you evolve in your journey through time and space. At the end of the day, as you’ve so beautifully presented in this post, each of us has to define what success means to us but it is important that we do so on the basis of the positive impact our lives has on others, as well as the pleasures we derive from our efforts.

  12. says

    Success can be defined by numbers only if the goal was defined by numbers. When a blog is the source of revenue, that’s easy. When the blog supports a source of revenue, along with many other supporting cast members, there is no easy answer.

    David Leonhardts last blog post..El Marcadorado updated

  13. says

    Success is such a subjective word. If I compare my blog to Problogger, sure it won’t measure up. But if I set goals and I meet or exceed those goals then I surely am on my way to being successful.

  14. says

    To be honest sadly no matter what I accomplish no matter how much money I have I always feel unsuccessful. When you don’t allow yourself to absorb any compliments etc you become hardened to the facts. I have been successful in many things but it’s sad I don’t let myself enjoy that 😉
    great post thanks
    and I enjoyed your wp security post on
    Nice work Kristi
    “She’s on FIRE ” 😉

  15. says

    I’m like John, never satisfied, always pushing forward. Sometimes I get to ahead of myself, but I find time to reign things back in eventually.

    Success, to me, is being able to live life without a care in the world. At least as an ultimate definition. Money is and always will be a means to an end. And to end my money journey, I only need about 3 or 5 million.

    That’s not too much to ask is it?

    Waynes last blog post..Fight Back Against India SEO Sweatshops

  16. says

    Hey Kristi, this is a thought provoking post. We typically tie success to tangible amounts, such as visitor count, amount of revenue earned, etc. These are perfectly fine and valid targets but we need to be clear on the underlying intent behind those tangibles. Why do we want to get xx visitors? Why do we want to earn $xx? For me, I want to increase my traffic because it is an indicator that I’m bringing value to even more readers. Being clear of the underlying intent makes sure we do not get distracted by the physical outcomes.

    Celes | EmbraceLiving.Nets last blog post..Upcoming Career Workshop: Chart Your Career, Live Your Dreams!

  17. says

    Wow, this post was long for me, but very interesting. I liked the way you explained and asked questions at the same time.

    I would measure success in different ways depending on the topic, but now days people measure it by how many things they have or how much money they have. Being divorced now for a couple of months, I judge my success on what I went through and where I am today. I was rock bottom, but I have managed to pick myself up and be successful in what I do now. I am stronger and many people around me can see that.

    I had to start all over again as I lost everything and I can say that I have begun to build a small empire. I don’t have all the fancy goodies and all, but what I have I use it to my best ability.

    Thanks for this read, I really enjoyed it :)

  18. says

    Excellent post Kristi.

    There are several key areas to measure success, and not just numbers. Also success and goals go together. Goals are the road to success. When your goal is achieved, you achieve success, no matter how small you may regard that goal to be.

    Salwas last blog post..It’s a Blog, Not a Sales Letter!

  19. says

    Id have to say the number one measure for success is your happiness, you can be rich, poor, have a large house or a thousand visitors to your site per day, but if those things don’t make you happy, then you have failed in your biggest task living your life to the best of your ability.

    • says

      @ciphun: I think it’s the stage in life you’re in, and also those around you. If you surround yourself with people who define success in terms of money, your definition of success may be influenced by them as well.

      @Jonathan: That’s another good point. The people that society focuses on as successful may become role models when, in fact, they are not truly good people underneath all of their “success.”

      @Frank: I’m glad to hear that. :) One thing I have noticed is some of the sites that get a ton of traffic do not necessarily get a relative amount of comments from regular readers. I prefer the latter. :)

      @Tycoon Blogger: That is a good definition.

      @Mark: Sometimes we do achieve more things in areas we do not expect while attempting to complete a particular goal. While we may get sidetracked from that goal, the things we do along the way coudl be more valuable and wonderful.

      @KushMoney: Always striving to be better is a great way to find personal success.

      @Destiny: It took a while for me to figure out what would make me feel truly happy and successful. Sometimes it just takes time, but once you find what it is, it is well worth it.

      @Peak Personal: That’s how I feel about career. Some people seem to be motivated by it, but I just see it as necessary to fund all the things that do make you happy.

      @Yoon: Meeting people from around the world is one of the perks of blogging. I find it interesting to gain perspectives from people in different walks of life, all coming together in the blogging world. Definitely interested in a blogroll exchange as well. :)

      @Barb: That sounds like a fulfilling, successful life indeed.

      @LithiumMind: Exactly! Thanks! :)

      @WD Favour: I think we have to define it for ourselves, and also be sure to look at how others around us define it as well, so we can see the success in everyone, and not assume that someone is not successful because they are not doing the same things that we are.

      @David: It’s true, there is not one right or wrong answer. It’s all subjective and very personal.

      @blinkky: That sounds like a good way to define successful blogging.

      @Adam: Very true. We can’t compare our success with others – it has to be success that we define ourselves.

      @John: You do have to allow yourself to receive compliments… sometimes, when things are looking down, it’s good to have those positive statements, from yourself and others, as a reminder of all the good things you have done!

      @Wayne: I don’t think anyone should ever get to the point where they stop pushing forward. It’s always good, as you meet one goal, to set others to strive for.

      @Celes: If you’re considering the number of visitors as successful in terms of being able to spread a valuable message to more people, then that is a great way to define blogging success. I just know that some people do not really care what the visitors get from the site, so long as they add to the hit count. Your intent is defiintely a great one.

      @George: That is a success story indeed. I think there are people who struggle to rise from rock bottom, but do not consider themselves successful when they make it through because they are not as rich or powerful. But the fact that you made it through that means you did succeed and triumph, and that is inspirational.

      @Facial Brisbane: It is about self perception. If you think you will never succeed, you will set your sights lower than if you continue to work towards becoming a success.

      @Salwa: Yes, knowing and achieving your goals is a great way towards success.

      @Dragos: You have great views of success in your post as well. Happiness is a great personal success, and sharing it with those around you to make them happier is a wonderful bonus as well.

      @Landscapers Brisbane: Working towards satisfaction is a great way to ensure that you will be successful by your own definition.

      @Khaled: This is true. If you are going for a definition of success based on impressing others over fulfilling yourself, you will never feel truly successful.

  20. says

    Hi Kristi,
    Thanks for the post. Its really nice to read it. For me success in blogging and life is mainly to do with the satisfaction I get doing the work and not the output at the first instance. I dont think the way we measure the success using stats for blog should be used when it comes to life :). They are just my thoughts.


    Krishs last blog post..Making A SEO Friendly Permalink Using 301 Redirect

  21. says

    Hi Kristi,

    I think this is the first time to your site. I like this article very much. I am an unconditional blogger.If there is such a person. I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences.
    What I find with most sincere blogger’s have a message they want to convey out of generosity to their fellow humans.
    I like to think I always take something away from each article I read.


    bunnygotblogs last blog post..It’s A Bug’s Life

    • says

      @Krish: Sounds like good thoughts to me. Your own happiness in doing everything should be a bigger priority than the outcome.

      @Yoon: You’re welcome!

      @Bunnygotblog: That’s one thing I enjoy about reading blogs as well… when the writer is sincere and really leaves me with something to think about after I finish their article. Thanks for the first visit! :)

  22. says

    Maan.. successful so personal. Some people are contented with small things and they call them success while many are constantly trying to achieve success. To each its own I guess..

    Ben Peis last blog post..Ben Pei Visits Japan

  23. says

    For me, there is only one level to judge whether I am successful or not—emotion! If you feel life is joyful, I will be glad to tell you that you are successful, because what all we have done is just seeking for a better living environment. In a word, enjoying life will be the most significant!

  24. says

    Hi Kristi,

    In our life,most of all factors have success term.If I share mine school days knowledge,then

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

    I am 62 years old and still i stick with this definition of success,and really very true for me.

    — Neil De Villers