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  • Shifali Gupta

9 Definitions of Success: What Success Means to the Giants of the World

In the end, we are all striving for a successful life. We go to college, get great jobs, marry our dream partners, buy expensive stuff and go on vacations, just to feel like ‘a success’ in life. Lately, this word has lost its meaning and is being used relentlessly in the society, which seems to be in an endless pursuit of the ‘so-called’ success. I think it’s time we revisit our definitions of success and give it a meaning of our own. Here’s how some of the most influential people on the planet have defined success in their lives.


Tony Robbins

1) ‘My definition of success is to live your life in a way that causes you to feel a ton of pleasure and very little pain — and because of your lifestyle, have the people around you feel a lot more pleasure than they do pain.’


Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, NY Times bestselling author, philanthropist, and widely popular business and life coach. Over the years, he has received a multitude of awards and accolades, including one of the “Top 50 Business Intellectuals in the World” by Accenture, one of the “Top 200 Business Gurus” by Harvard Business Press; and one of the “Top Six Business Leaders in the World” by American Express. Through the Tony Robbins Foundation, he has awarded over 2,000 grants and other resources to health and human services organizations, and has helped in implementing a life-changing curriculum in 1,700+ correctional facilities.


Winston Churchill

2) ‘Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.’


Winston Churchill was a British statesman, orator and author, who served twice as prime minister of England during World War II. He led Britain to victory, from the brink of defeat. Churchill was famous for his inspiring speeches, and for his resilience during the testing times. He was considered the greatest Briton of all time and certainly the most famous British prime minister till date.


Maya Angelou

3) ‘Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’


Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. She went on to publish seven autobiographies, three books of essays, many books of poetry, and has a list of plays, movies and television shows to her credit. During her lifetime, she received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. She is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which were based on her childhood and early life experiences.


Herman Cain

4)Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.’

Herman Cain was an American businessman and activist for the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party. During the 1980s, Cain's success as a business executive at Burger King prompted Pillsbury to appoint him as chairman and CEO of Godfather's Pizza. From 1996 to 1999, Cain served as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.


Booker T. Washington

5) ‘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 Taliaferro Washington was an American educator, author, orator and adviser to many US presidents. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African American community; he became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, for building his community's economic strength by a focusing on self-help and schooling.


Arianna Huffington

6) ‘We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes -understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.’


7) ‘To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.’


Arianna Huffington is a well-known author and an international media mogul, who started the award-winning news platform ‘The Huffington Post’. In her early years, she was a conservative commentator before switching to liberal politics. The site, purchased by AOL in 2011, has become one of the most popular and powerful online news platforms in the country. Huffington has authored more than a dozen books on feminism, corporate America and politics.


Oprah Winfrey

8) ‘How to be used in the greater service to life. Ask this question, and the answer will be returned and rewarded to you with fulfillment, which is the major definition of success, to me.’


Oprah Winfrey is a talk show host, actress, media executive and a multi-billionaire philanthropist. She’s best known for hosting her own wildly popular show, ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. In 2011, Winfrey launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).


Richard Branson

9) ‘Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.’


Richard Branson is an English business tycoon and philanthropist, who is the owner of the Virgin Group.Branson is always known to have an entrepreneurial streak in him, with a knack for making money. With its humble beginnings as a record shop in Oxfordshire, England, The Virgin Records was his first venture, which eventually led him to establish Virgin Atlantic and The Virgin Group. Today, at the age of 67, he is going strong and continues to expand his more than fifty-year-old legacy.

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