what is success?

Ways to Define Success?

The word success is often associated with a full bank account and lots of cash, but if that is true then the term success is limited. If we put success and money on the same level and everything else on a less important scale, I think that we’d be setting ourselves up for lack in life. There are more ways to define success, and although money is certainly one of them, it is not the only one.

ways to define success?
Foto by Julian Jagtenberg in Pexels

The problem is that society aims to equal success with financial wealth.

The successful businessman with his private jet

The influential politician in his/her big mansion

The Hollywood actress in her 18-bedroom villa

Although nothing is impossible, I think that many set the bar for success too high.

What is Success, Really?

Success is getting up in the morning and living another day, watching that first fruit grow on a tree that grew from a seed you planted, seeing a dog you rescued from the street and nursed back to life go to his/her furever home, seeing an innocent man walk out of prison after all the hard work you and others put in to accomplish that, achieving a goal.

happy dog

Success is so much! Money is a part of it. Oh, I definitely want money as part of my success. Achieving my financial independence will be a celebration of success for sure!

Success for me are also the following things:

1. When I watered my plants the other day I noticed the first cranberries grow from my cranberry tree, the first limes from my small lime tree, pomegranates from my tiny 8 or 9 inch tall (or rather, small) pomegranate tree, and the first guavas from my small guava tree. All those trees are not fully grown yet, and yet they’re sprouting fruits. I planted them 3 or 4 years ago. The pomegranate tree was planted 5 or 6 months ago.

2. The first egg one of my rescued chickens laid. Picking up that egg felt wondrous to me.

my first organic egg

3. When my prison pen pals love how I share their work on my other website. This link links to Thomas Porter’s touching poems and essays and this link leads to Kenneth E. Foster Jr.’s amazing work.

4. Paying off your car! I only got a few months left, hooray!

5. Receiving your first payment from your online work – it could be affiliate marketing, a writing job, online teaching, it doesn’t matter, you got it and that’s a small success!

Small successes can lead to big ones!

6. Helping a dog give birth to 9 puppies (true story)

7. Steering a 42 ft boat between rocks by the light of the full moon (under the captain’s guidance – also a true story)

8. Closing down a decrepit zoo (true story too)

9. Climbing mountains that are over 2000 or 3000 meters high

10. Your first time scuba diving

Success is anything that gives you that feeling of accomplishment.

scuba diving

Life has so many successes. It cannot only be defined by what the media constantly shows us. Wealth, status, and the big house are surely a big success but they are not the only success. There is much more to it.

Do not limit yourself to what society presents to you as success. You could be dirt poor and still be successful, by knowing who you are, being your neighbors’ rock, and living your life to the fullest; by guiding your family, watching the fruit come from seeds you planted in your garden, and going to bed at night knowing that you had a good day. It could be anything.

Sure, life is easier with a full bank account and not having to worry about expenses. Having to budget every month is a pain in the royal behind and a reminder of a limited financial situation. I agree, having much money makes things a lot easier.

This post, however, is not about being successful without money. Money is welcome here too 🙂 This post is about finding success in places besides money, in everything we achieve, in our daily lives.

growing your own fruit

Leaping to our Conclusion – Pun Intended 😉

Today, for example, I took a break while I wrote this article and I went outside to check on some tiny frogs in the dog pool. Every year after the rains in hurricane season, frogs lay eggs in that pool after the rains have filled it up with mud and water. After the tadpoles grow arms and legs they need to be on dry land for some time. Being in the water exhausts them and it can do so even to the point of death. So, like last year, I placed some rocks and wooden planks in the small pool to give them space to rest.


This year, though, the tiny frogs – as tiny as the tip of my finger – couldn’t figure it out and they needed a little help. Many were already floating face up, either exhausted, or dying, and a few were dead. So, it was me to the rescue. I swooped up dozens of tiny frogs – for sure close to a hundred – and left them on the rocks and wooden planks.

It took me forever, 😉 my goodness, so many frogs, and my back started hurting from bending over the doggie (or froggie?) pool, but I was determined to save as many as I could.

And I did, and that is also a success.

Am I going to have many frogs soon? You bet! And I love it! Besides being incredibly cute they also keep the insect population in check. So, that’s my success story of today. Which one is yours?

11 thoughts on “Ways to Define Success?

  1. Hi Christine,

    There are many aspects of being successful in life, not just material stuff that we often see on social media or TV. I stop comparing myself with others’ wealth a few years ago, although it’s still hard for me. I try my best to ONLY compare myself with the one I was yesterday. If I make little progress than yesterday, I will be happy and feel successful.

    The feeling of getting closer and closer to your ultimate goal every single day is such a good thing to lift you up and make you feel successful. Don’t you think so? 🙂


    1. Hi Matt,

      I agree, the feeling of getting closer to your goal every single day definitely lifts you up and gives you the feeling of success. You’re very right to only compare yourself with the one you were yesterday. There’s no one else you should compare yourself to.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Have a great day!

  2. Your post is sort of inspirational. It makes you reevaluate things and put them in a better perspective. At least a different perspective.
    Your point on money being the key to success is so very true, I couldn’t agree more. I also welcome it, but it’s not the end all, be all.
    It’s great to read things every day or two that give you a different slant on life. It helps find your center I believe.
    Thank you for your insight.

  3. Hi Christine, what a wonderful inspirational post, I enjoyed reading it!! It is nice to hear that there are still people who do not look at life from the material side. That people know that success is not just buying an expensive car or getting 7 on the lottery, but it is a state of inner satisfaction. I watched many rich people who were deeply unhappy. I like that you do everything from the heart and that you pay attention to small things. Who does small good deeds would do great too. I remember how much happiness it caused in me when I helped a little lost gypsy girl find her mother who got lost in the crowd. I will never forget her mother’s gratitude and her little girl’s smile of relief. I didn’t get any money for that but I filled my heart and that’s what matters most. Stay the way you are and keep writing such beautiful texts!

    1. Hi Danijela,

      “Success is a state of inner satisfaction”, I absolutely agree! Pay attention to the small things, yes!
      And what you did for that little gypsy girl saved the day for her and her mother. It often takes nothing to achieve such a feeling of happiness and gratitude.
      Thank you for your comment!

  4. Hi Christine, I totally agree that money is only one part of success. There are many other ways to define success including helping others. Success to me as a stroke survivor is getting my affected hand to do more. For example 7 years ago following my stroke I couldn’t open my hand. Since then, I have gained about 60% use of it and feel proud of my achievements. Like yourself, I take pleasure in seeing plants grow and remember the feeling of success after picking my first home grown tomatoes. Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hi Kathy,

      I can relate to that. I didn’t have a stroke, but I had a back injury that limited my movements for many months, and when we lose certain functions of our bodies, functions we have always taken for granted, we realize how important they are. Regaining 60% of the use of your hand is a wonderful achievement, you should be proud of it 🙂

  5. Hi Christine, Yes definitely some food for thought. Money is not everything no matter how much we want it. I think as a blogger myself it is better to look at a bigger picture rather than how much money I make. I think if it was about the money I would have probably quit by now but instead, I think looking at other things to be successful at is a great motivation. Breaking new records for things like traffic, impressions, writing targets and how to fit this in around everything else. The saying comes to mind “A Watched Pot Never Boils”. If you focus on just making money you probably won’t make any. It will only be when you least expect it. I think a few years back I would always stress about going to the pub and spending money but the funny thing about it was I would always come back to a lot more sales than if I would have stayed in watching the computer all night. Sod’s law I think they call it. Anyway, yes thanks for sharing will give me something to think about no doubt.

    1. Sod’s law works great sometimes, doesn’t it? 😉 I like the saying ” A Watched Pot Never Boils”. I’ll remember that one 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!

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