My Definition of Success and Failure

Since my post on Individually Defining Success and Failure, on December 19, I have been actively developing my definition of both failure and success.

I’ve read articles & blogs (which a few key posts are noted below), thought, meditated, and have taken notes about the meaning of success and failure in my life. I find that neither failure nor success is totally quantifiable in my definitions.

Describing failure in the sense of the way I deem society to define failure: a divorce, bankruptcy, losing a house, or being fired, is not for me. I see those things as the accumulation of mistakes often made with the best of intentions, misunderstandings, and lack of knowledge, though not necessary ly absolute failure because I believe people come back from those “failures” better, stronger, and hopefully more prepared not to make the same choices/mistakes in the future.

Success and failure are a set of feelings for me, actually the accumulation of many feelings, that become habits, beliefs, and actions in my daily life.

To me, failure is: feeling regret and fear, unjust or unequal choices for those effected by my decisions, rash judgement and assumption, lack of faith, exerting too much control, disquiet in my heart and being overly critical. Failure for me is the accumulation of these feelings mixed with a rigid routine, wasting time and money, a rushed and busy lifestyle, emotional and physical distress, and close-minded practices.

While I experience these characteristics on occasion, I am able to keep in mind that all of these together would be a “failure” in my life. It keeps me on track. I know when I am not feeling right and need to direct myself to the feelings I have when I know I am on my journey to success.

What is success in my life?


Success is: a calm, easy feeling, fair, ethical, and kind decisions that reflect well on my lifestyle and support those in my life. Success is feeling confident, motivated, spiritual, and connected. It is acknowledging and supporting the important people in my life. It is continued knowledge, education and the open-minded search for broader opinions, ideas, and cultures. Success is maintaining a physically active, mentally challenging, and adventure-finding routine.

So while, I didn’t define success and failure as absolutes, I defined them as guidelines to keep me moving towards happines and use my feelings to guide me away from the discomforts of failure.

The beauty of these definitions for me, is that both allow me to learn, grow, and constantly reevaluate how I am doing. That to me is a big success in and of itself.

With the new year, what is your definition of success and failure in your life?

Best of luck answering this important question and I hope it guides you to a healthy, prosperous and successful 2013. 

Articles that helped me prepare this post:

1. ‘Re-defining Failure (And Success!)’  by Todd Henry

2. Take Two Risks and Call Me in the Morning

by Bonnie Friedman, from the May 2005 issue of O magazine

3. “2 Steps to Defining Success” by  Jesse Petersen 


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