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The Surprising Truth About Success

What does success mean to you? This word can have different meanings for different people. Find out the surprising truth about success here!
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Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Lori Geurin

What does success mean to you? Being successful means different things to different people. So much is based on your perspective, experience, and priorities.

What Does Success Mean?

Here are some common synonyms for success from Dictionary.com:

  • fame
  • gain
  • victory
  • win
  • prosperity
  • accomplishment
  • progress
  • happiness
  • achievement
  • boom
  • profit
  • champion
  • triumph
  • realization

Do any of these surprise you? What about progress, realization, and happiness?

The Surprising Truth About Success

What if I told you that success doesn’t have to mean you’re the best?

If you’re like me the first time I heard this, you might feel confused or irritated.

People view success differently, and that’s okay. It’s good to challenge our thinking from time to time. Sometimes I find myself believing something for so long that I forget why I believed it in the first place.

When we find ourselves at this point it might be time for a reality check.

So it doesn’t particularly matter what the dictionary says (ok, maybe that does matter a little).

But, it’s what a word means to you that really matters. Like what it makes you feel in your heart, the emotions that well up inside you when the word is spoken and the memories it evokes.

Back To The Drawing Board

So recently I was rethinking “success” and this is what I came up with.

When I was a competitive, young girl I viewed success as being the best at something, being #1.

Whether I was pitching fast-pitch softball, playing basketball, volleyball, or track. Or singing, playing the piano or clarinet at music contest or a recital, I held the same narrow-minded view for years. Having success regardless of what I was doing always meant “winning.”

Now I’m (a few) years older, and (hopefully, at least a little bit) wiser. And I’m seeing this word in a brand new light.

There are times in life when we go through memorable or tough times. These times help to reshape and refine our understanding of our life’s purpose.

I’m connecting “success” with these  synonyms:

  • progress
  • realization
  • happiness

To me, it means all of the above. Also, I would add “remaining steadfast and persistent in the face of adversity”.

To explain why I now see success so differently would take a few 1000 more words. Maybe a follow-up article to come?


Have you ever reconsidered the meaning of a word due to a life event or experience? What caused you to reconsider?

And what if you believed that success was your only option? Would that change how you feel about yourself?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.


Just for fun, if you’re up for a blast from the past, you might enjoy watching this video of We Are The Champions, by Queen.

If you liked this, you’ll want to check out:

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