Saturday, October 30, 2010

Curious about Success: What Does It Mean to You? How Do You Define It?

What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.” - Margaret Thatcher, English leader

Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” - Dale Carnegie, American writer

I chose “success” for this week’s blog theme, because it is a word that pops up several times daily. I suddenly realized, however, that I had not yet written about it in this blog, even though it has such a place in my life.

In my fitness classes I talk about successful fitness results – achieving success for activities of daily living. In my e-newsletters and articles, I write about career success, successful skills giving presentations, sharing stories, and living as a freelancer, free agent, and independent contractor.

I found wonderful and meaningful success quotations, but was surprised to find only three pages of “success” quotations as compared with fourteen pages of “failure” quotations. Why is that?

Let’s share the positive:

  • A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” - David Brinkley, American journalist
  • Action is the foundational key to all success.” - Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist
  • Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” - Abraham Lincoln, American President
  • Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” - David Frost, English journalist
  • Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it... Success is shy - it won't come out while you're watching.” - Tennessee Williams, American dramatist
  • Success is dependent on effort.” – Sophocles, Greek poet
  • Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” - George S. Patton, American soldier
  • Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.” - Arnold H. Glasow, American author

And some more excellent thoughts. Don’t you just love them?

  • Failure is success if we learn from it.” - Malcolm Forbes, American publisher
  • Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.” - Ross Perot, American businessman
  • Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.” - J. Paul Getty, American businessman
  • How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not for more than sixty years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?” - Logan P. Smith, American writer
  • I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.” - Jonathan Winters, American comedian
  • Success is that old ABC - ability, breaks, and courage.” - Charles Luckman, American businessman
  • Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” - Booker T. Washington, American educator
  • The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind.” - W. Somerset Maugham, British playwright

And, three more to chew upon in upcoming weeks:

The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” - Ayn Rand, Russian writer

The man who has done his level best... is a success, even though the world may write him down a failure.” - B. C. Forbes, Scottish journalist

The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” - Theodore Roosevelt, American President

So, how would you define success? It is interesting that when I am teaching an Adult Education Class, and ask the participants how they would define success, money is never mentioned. I am not knocking having money, but am interested that for many people it doesn’t define success for them.