We all have this idea of success in which we try to paint this perfect little picture while carving out the lines of the steps it takes to reach the finish line. And we are all trying to get there. Success: a victory living in consciousness. We use the term so loosely, and the meaning diminishes. Yet it means nearly everything to all of us, striving our whole lives to accomplish this ideology. What means success to one person may not mean the same to another. Like the coined phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

After surveying my social network, I incorporated those views into the perspective of my own. Understanding the general response in regards to what success looks like will help us ascertain the real meaning of success. In terms of success, it is heavily reliant and founded on cultural, social, political and individual values. Even though we may all differ in our goals, we must not overlook the trends. It is human to be interested in the success of others because we all function together as a culture, a society, a nation and a humanity. Our successes are all intertwined as it affects the balance held in the universe. One person’s success is all of our successes because we succeed just as we fail and that is together.

For the majority of Americans, success looks like this: making a lot of money, owning a white picket fenced house in the suburbs, holding a stable corporate job and raising a family well into old age so you can sit on your front porch and drink iced tea with your loved one. That most certainly cannot be said for all of us, but when I picture the American dream, that is what I see. For my best friends, success looks like touring our band around the globe to play our music. For my brother, success looks like starting his own social media company to make lots of money. For my sister, success looks like being able to meditate in Japan for a whole year and then play video games for the entirety of the next one. For my parents, success looks like doing right by my siblings and I to secure a prosperous future. For my teachers, success looks like having their class reach the top national percentiles academically to fully understand and appreciate the depth of the subject. For my peers, success looks like receiving honors status on their graduate degree.

What can be inferred from all of these responses is that the main meaning of success is simply to strive for something. No matter how big or small “it” is, success takes on a different form for all of us. There is a human tendency to want to quantify the subjectivity of human success, as if there was some measure we should meet. However, I am here to say that success is unbounded.

For me personally, success is an unattainable art form. The success that I picture cannot be attained while in my human lifetime. Success to me looks like living in another dimension where I don’t need to eat, sleep or consume any other worldly materials. I am free. Simply speaking, success to me is living life evolved from all the mundanities. It looks like spending hours surfing the best waves racing against the rising and setting of the sun. As we rise, we succeed; as we fail, we fall. So even though our views on success may differ, success is generally considered striving for a positive goal to avoid failure.

One cannot see the whole spectrum of success without overlooking failure. When we do not succeed, we fail. When we fail, it just means we are one step closer to success. I believe it takes a lot of failing in order to succeed. It is very rare anyone will get anything right on their first try. We must keep trying time and time again until we do succeed. We are all capable of succeeding greatly. It is very important to remember that you may fall and fail along the way. However, do not let your failures discourage you. Instead, let them serve as a reminder that you were strong enough to try. Allow them to be part of the process. The whole point is that you don’t give up. No matter what you do, you will succeed just as much as you fail. Many great people throughout history understand failure is a part of success. As Ellen DeGeneres once said, “It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” As I say, the only way to succeed is to fail and fail a lot. Fail as much as you can so that way you will know how to succeed. We are all trying to get somewhere. The big question is: where are you trying to go?