Redefining Success

The publisher of Success magazine recently wrote that he wanted to redefine success and potentially rename his magazine.

He wrote, “Our society celebrates those who obtain fame, wealth, power and celebrity… and we call them successful.”

He goes on to share how we’re taught from an early age to strive for success and most often that success is defined by status, accomplishment, and material possessions. Yet, when we achieve all of these things many of us still feel empty inside.

While we may accomplish all of these traditional trappings of success we often don’t achieve the one thing that is most meaningful: significance.

“We want to know that our lives meant something, that we’ve had a positive impact on the lives of others. And only significance provides that, success by itself cannot,” writes Darren Hardy, publisher of Success.

It’s pretty telling when a magazine entitled Success is grappling with what the word actually means. I think Hardy is on to something when he talks about seeking significance.

I too believe people are beginning to seek meaning over materialism.

We want to be happy and we’re realizing the material side of success doesn’t necessarily bring us that happiness.

In a survey I conducted among 500 people, the two attributes of success that have increased the most in the past five years were “Your contribution to society and the world” and “Your level of happiness.”

Respondents also reported that the following attributes had all dropped in terms of importance from five years ago: “Grades,” “Level of education,” “Size of house you live in,” “Job title or position,” “Kind of car you drive,” “How many clients you have,” and “How much money you make.”

These survey results support the idea that the pursuit of meaning is overtaking the pursuit of materialism. That’s good news!

What do you think?

What have you seen in your own life or among your friends and colleagues? Is how you define success changing? Is this a good thing? Please post a comment and share your perspective.

Excerpted from “Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness”

About Debbie

Debbie worked in marketing for 32 years and ran a successful coaching and consulting business for 19. She now teaches marketing and helps people find greater happiness and success by learning how to Follow Inspiration.

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