How do you define success?

This is one of my favorite questions to ask people because I find it to have the most telling answers. You find out what people value, what motivates them and how they see the world, all through one question. In asking around, I found that there's a strong possibility that certain answers to this question contribute to unnecessary struggle or a negative outlook.

Success according to a 16-year-old high school student:

"For me it's having a house and [being] married and all that. But in big picture - being happy with your life (even though some things might suck) and having the lifestyle you want."

Success according to a wild heart:

"Success is when you achieve... For me success is when you have an idea or a goal in mind and you go through all the actions and work hard to accomplish it. Success is when you finally accomplish that thing, whether that's a small goal or a big goal. Like if you have a goal in mind and you get there and you exceed it or achieve it.....that is success."

Success according to a future fashion designer/model:

"To be happy and to have people know my name."

Success according to an LA photographer-in-training:

"Kanye West is the key to success... No my real answer is that, personally, I guess I define success as being able to not worry about being in debt. And if I feel like traveling someplace and being able to see the world, being able to do all that."

Success according to an undecided, yet profoundly motivated young man:

"Achieving my goals and doing better than my peers."

____

Most of these definitions include a common denominator of success as achieving your goals. While most could agree that's an accurate definition, but I would offer a slight twist:

Success is making progress towards your goals.

Thoughts from a 50-something man most would deem successful:

"Once you achieve your goal, you'll find out that it's not necessarily the achievement, but it was the journey towards it that was the most important. As you achieve success, it builds upon itself because you are on a journey of self-improvement. The smaller things in life no longer have such a big impact on you personally because you have created a larger purpose."

Sitting back and looking at the big picture and viewing success with an all-or-nothing mindset can leave you feeling like a failure because it's not every day that you achieve financial stability, buy your dream house, get married or get hired for your dream job.

However, every day you can make progress toward your goals which makes every day a success. You can apply for that job, create a folder of inspirational pictures of your dream home or put money from your paycheck into a savings account. You will learn exponentially more going through the uphill journey of achieving your goals than you will in that one moment you achieve them.