It’s not a shock to discover that most people want to be successful. The problem, though, is not that most people want to be successful, but that few really know what success looks like. We’ve discussed success many times before but today let’s try to understand what success really means.

How much thought have you given to exactly what success means? Would you consider yourself a success? If the answer is “yes," exactly why do you consider this true? If the answer is “no," do you really know what success will look like when you’ve finally achieved it? Will you be able to actually feel it, see it, smell it, etc.?

These aren’t frivolous questions to ask yourself, because your ability to succeed in life may depend upon your answers. To some, success means driving expensive cars, living in a beautiful home in an upscale neighborhood, wearing designer clothes, or having a corner office with an assistant. Some of us think that success means having so much money they won’t have to work another day in their life, or that they can retire early and travel the world! A few of us think that real success is measured by devoting themselves to a life of servitude through helping others.

In the final analysis, each one of these could be considered correct. Success actually means getting to do what you really want to do in your life, personal and professional. Success is therefore finding your true purpose in life. However, finding your true purpose is the hardest part. Achieving success is just like playing a game of checkers.

It is perfectly fine to choose a purpose for yourself that doesn’t mean much to the rest of us. Failure comes only in having no purpose! In the view of some professionals, it shouldn’t be considered failure when you perform poorly at things that do not have value to you, as long as it doesn’t intentionally hurt anyone else. Conversely, however, failure is performing poorly at something you consider important.

In summary, you become a success when you are actively engaged in becoming the person you most want to become! I remember a quote from a Dale Carnegie course I took years ago that works well here. “If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.”

Think about it.