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Katie Bell
Camille Pack
English 2010 Section 33
2 February, 2015
Word Count: 1,519

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Success, are you sure?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines success as “the fact of getting or
achieving wealth, respect, or fame” (Merriam-Webster). Is that really what the human race defines success as today?
We all know successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. They all have brilliant minds and are quite wealthy. But most of the world’s
population is not as popular or wealthy as them; are they not successful? According to most humans, the word success and its definition may not be what it used to
Over the years the iconic successful business man or wealthy and perfectly
happy actress image has been recreated to suit more of the human population. As
a result of this, many more are considering themselves successful and in turn success becomes something more meaningful. Success has even been recreated to
an extreme where wealth, power and fame are nothing compared to what people
see as success.
In this article we will discuss three aspects of success that we as people have
transformed into a new meaning by asking these questions:
1. What is the definition of success to people today?
2. Is there a criteria to be met to be successful?
3. What mindset helps someone to be successful?

In This Issue:
 What is success?
 What criteria makes
success? (pg.2)
 What mindset helps a
person be successful?
 Life experiences from
people who have
reached success.
Photo Credit:

“Tis a lesson you
should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don't
Try, try, try again.”
-Thomas H. Palmer

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To read more go to: http://

Success & Studies
Recently, a study was
done by Strayer University
called the “Success Project
Survey” to see what success
means to Americans today.
The article indicated that “a
whopping 90% believe that
success is more about happiness than power, possessions, or prestige” (Smith).
This mindset is redefining
what Americans believe
success is.

Striving for Success
If you asked anyone on the street what success means to them, it’s very seldom you would get the reply of ‘being rich’ or
‘being popular’. Success seems like a big word, but in some cases it means the simplest of replies. I recently asked several
people from all walks of life what the definition of success meant to them; here are two of the replies which encompass the
theme for the rest of the answers I received. Teena said, “Being successful is feeling good about your life and the accomplishments you have made” (Stone). Carissa said, “Being successful to me means creating a happy environment for my husband and children” (Fjeldsted). All of the people who were interviewed didn’t mention wealth other than to have just enough
to keep their families in a comfortable position.
Wealth, as some say, cannot buy happiness. As a matter of fact it can’t buy many of the things that keep a person in a
state of well-being such as: self-esteem, confidence, love and gratitude. A good example of this is “Trailer Hitch” by Kristian
Bush. In this song he sings the lyrics, “I don’t know why…everybody wanna die rich…everybody tries…to fit it into that ditch.
You can’t take it when you go; never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch” (Bush). This is a perfect illustration of the new found
definition of success because people are not looking for wealth these days. Although wealth can bring comfort and help in
the pursuit of success, it does not define success. It can however be a tool to some people’s successes but it is no longer
viewed as the ultimate.
Another way this was proven is described in the purple box above. Strayer University found that the majority of items which people would rather have than wealth
is happiness, love, compassion, health and other intangible traits. If so many people
are striving for success, then what makes a person successful? Is there a certain
criteria to which humanity must follow to be successful?

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do,
and liking how you do it.”

Success isn’t a Science
Since the desire for success is so large and everyone wants it, there has to be a
standard to follow to be successful right? Wrong. Maya Angelou answers this question simply. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do
it” (Smith, Martin and Goudreau). The only criteria for being successful is that you
achieve what you had set out to do.
Each person’s equation for success is different. Criteria is based on what you
want the successful outcome to be. No matter what you are trying to accomplish
there will be a criteria that must be created and followed. Two examples of criteria
put into action to result in successfulness are: learning how to read and writing a
book. While both involve the work of sounds, letters, words and sentences,

-Maya Angelou
Photo Credit:

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Success in the
World Champion and Olympic skeleton athlete Noelle
Pikus-Pace knows a thing or
two about failure. In 2005
she was ranked first in the
world for skeleton. While at
one of her competitions a 4man bobsled, weighing
roughly 1,600 pounds, hit
her going 70 miles per hour.
Everything she had worked
for was gone in the blink of
an eye. In her recently published book, Focused, she
says many times throughout,
“In life we always have the
option to choose” (Pace).
She had to choose, failure
as a result of injury or success due to determination.
There is always the option to
choose. After her incident
she chose to continue her
Olympic career, with a surprisingly quick recovery she
has been able to compete in
the 2010, 2012 and 2014
Olympics. Her determination
to succeed is what kept her
dream alive even when
faced with a major setback.
Your mindset is what helps
put you on the path of success or failure. Even though
Noelle is a successful professional, we can be successful in our lives by overcoming roadblocks that keep
us from our desired outcomes.

Photo Credit:

the criteria is completely different. Both must master the basic criteria of combining letters and words together, but each has additional steps that must be individually thought
out, chosen, followed and achieved to get you where you desired to go. For instance, a
writer not only has to read, but has to know how to write expressing his own success.
This or any success is achieved by having the proper mindset.

Photo Credit:

Success in Sight
Carol S. Dweck, Stanford Psychologist and Author, can tell you exactly what mindsets have to do with success or failure. After years of research she has written a book
including her findings called Mindset: the New Psychology of Success. In her writings
she explains the two mindsets that all humans, one way or the other, approach success with. The two mindsets are the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed
mindset is when one believes that their qualities are set in stone, never to be changed;
often resulting in failure. This is caused when one has been taught that there is no way
to improve or change their attributes and personality. It creates the ‘I can’t do that;
that’s not me’ mentality when trying to accomplish something. On the other hand, the
growth mindset is when one believes their qualities can be refined; often resulting in
success. Even though one may fail, they are not held back by this failure and see it as
a lesson for learning and growth. Roadblocks do not hinder those with the growth
mindset; they see it as a challenge to overcome. Both of these mindsets will create the
outcome the individual worked for, whether it be success or failure.
Through these mindsets the opportunity to choose becomes relevant. Along with
the story of Noelle Pikus-Pace, in the side bar, the story of Thomas Edison rings true to
the idea of the growth mindset. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t
work,” said Edison after trying to make a light bulb. Instead of using the fixed mindset,

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and giving up on what has been one of the greatest inventions ever made, he
used the growth mindset to become successful in his desire to invent. The power of
the growth mindset can be the key to being successful in whatever you set out to accomplish. This mindset added with your own criteria and desire to succeed can be

Summing up Success
Whether you are trying to build your own business or simply get good grades in
school, success can be achieved with a few simple things. First, figuring out what
success means to you. Second, creating a criteria with easy to follow steps. Finally,
having the right mindset to reach your goal.
Dr. Seuss wrote success as, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your
shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and
you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go” (Dr.
Seuss). Success is all about what you can achieve yourself. Every person in this
world has a unique definition of what success is; you create success and become that
The important thing to remember is, don’t let others create your definition of
success for you. Each person is different with their own circumstances and experiences. Even though there may be failures along the way, allow them to build you up in
your journey to success. Let your successes be as individual as you are.

You have brains in
your head. You
have feet in your
shoes. You can
steer yourself in
any direction you
choose. You're on
your own, and you
know what you
know. And you are
the guy who'll decide where to go.
-Dr. Seuss

Photo Credit:

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Works Cited
Bush, Kristian. “Trailer Hitch.” Streamsound Records. CD.
"Dr. Seuss Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print.
Fjeldsted, Carissa. Personal Interview. 25 Jan 2015.
Jacquelyn Smith, Emmie Martin and Jenna Goudreau. "88 Quotes On Success From The World's Most Accomplished People." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Sept. 2014. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <
Pace, Noelle. Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time. Deseret Book, 2014. Print.
Smith, Jacquelyn. "This Is How Americans Define Success." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 28
Jan. 2015. <>.
Stone, Teena. Personal Interview. 26 Jan 2015.
"Success." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <>.
"Thomas Edison Light Bulb Quote (and Our Greatest Failure)." Lights and Lights. Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <http://>.
"Thomas H. Palmer Quotes." Thomas H. Palmer Quotes (Author of The Historical Register of the United States. Volume 2 of
4). Web. 28 Jan. 2015. <>.