What Is Success and What Determines It?

When we think of successful people, we think of those who have brought themselves to a position of financial stability, fame, luxury and achievement of specific goals. For example I think of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, J. K. Rowling, and many others. But the question is, what is behind all their successes and what determines success in our eyes?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

I’ve recently started reading a book, called The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which is basically a book where the author analyzes the success of many people like the Beatles, Bill Gates, and many hockey players. He emphasizes a lot on how cultural differences, by-born intelligence, rational decision making, and consistent practice has an impact on a person’s future and success. I would really advise you guys to read the book and take a look at his opinion on success.

“Do you see the consequences of the way we have chosen to think about success? Because we so profoundly personalize success, we miss opportunities to lift others onto the top rung…We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail. And most of all, we become much too passive. We overlook just how large a role we all play—and by “we” I mean society—in determining who makes it and who doesn’t.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success

However, my opinion on success slightly differs, with Malcolm Gladwell as I believe that success can be acquired by anyone who wants it. I think determination, ambition and hard work can take anyone towards achieving their goals and being successful. Success shouldn’t be determined by how much money a person has in their bank account, or how reknown their name is, but should be determined by the hard work and effort the person puts into getting to that level.

I know in today’s society, we see a man in a fancy suit, shiny shoes driving a luxury car, and automatically label him to be someone successful. Sure, maybe he is, but we never look into it. Situation may be that his father was someone highly successful, and after graduating with a post-secondary education degree, he chose to join his father’s business. What I mean to say is that, this man has it all, the financial abundance, fancy lifestyle, education and so on. But is he truly successful? Did he really have to work hard and sweat at all to get to the position he is at?

Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Public Domain Image via Pixabay

In my eyes, a man who has a high school degree, and has started a family business for the sake of providing for his family, and is somewhat well known in his area for a hard working and determined man is just as much successful as the man I previously described. This man probably doesn’t have a huge house, fancy clothing, a luxury car, or a post-secondary education. But at whatever level he is at, he worked hard to get there, and that right there makes him someone successful, in my eyes, of course.

Comment down below, and let me know what success means to you. What do you think it means? What do you think should determine it? How should it be looked at and what is needed in order to acquire it?



8 Replies to “What Is Success and What Determines It?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and I have to say that I agree with many of the points you have made. Often times we assume that someone who has a lot of money and fancy things is very successful, but what we don’t often think about is how they got there. Was it hard work and determination? Or was it because they walked into the fortune because their parents were successful? Have they simply piggybacked off the hard work of their family?

    I started reading The Outliers a few years back but never finished it. I didn’t read a lot of it, but I did find it really interesting. You’ve encouraged me to add it to my list of books I want to read once I’m done my University classes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post was very informative and interesting. I found myself agreeing with your idea of a successful person. I also believe that to be successful you don’t need to have a lot of money or all the fancy things; you need to work hard and fulfil your dreams. The Outliers seems like an interesting book and I will make sure to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed reading your post as it brings back the real meaning of success. I agree with you that success does not always include money and fancy items but that is usually what we think of when we hear the word success. I also believe that if you work hard for what you want for yourself you are a successful person, even if others don’t look at you as a successful person. I will definitely be adding The Outliers to my list of books to read.


    1. Thank you so much Maryum, I’m glad you liked it. I totally agree with you, unfortunately todays society tends to look at success, and determines it materialistically. And please do give The Outliers a chance, I’m currently reading it, and I swear it’s a page-turner, I know you’ll enjoy it.


  4. If you put happiness after your success and tell yourself that you’ll be happy if you can manage to be successful, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. Success is too broad of a word to be defined into a specific goal and since it is human nature to always want more, I think the only proper definition for success is happiness. As long as you are content, you are successful. I can’t remember where I originally heard this from, but I’ve repeated it so many times that the words feel like my own. When I first heard about The Outliers, I didn’t think I’d read it, but now, I’m seriously reconsidering.This post was well-written and really got me thinking.


    1. Exactly, Aroba! I absolutely agree with you, happiness and satisfaction truly is the perfect definition for success. Which is why I believe that even an average, local businessman should be considered successful, because like many others, he is also happy with how far he has come towards his individual goals. And yes, I can not recommend you enough to read The Outliers, I’d have to honestly say that the book has changed my life!


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