The opposite of succeeding is a failing. So if failing is learning, then why is it that the opposite of learning is ignorance? Confused? Great, because there are too many people confused with what success actually is.

Over the past decades, I have come to understand that priorities do change.

What was once important could be inconsequential today.

What if your definition of success changes in the future? Does that mean you’ve wasted priceless time in pursuit of nothing but air?

“Time is more valuable than money,” the late motivational speaker Jim Rohn said. “You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

No two people are exactly the same. My definition of success is different from yours. Regardless, having a fundamental understanding is the key to ensuring you are on the right path.

8 Traits of Successful People

Richard St. John presented an overview of the 8 traits of successful people at a TED-Ed conference. He spent more than ten years doing research, as well as interview more than 500 successful people. After collecting thousands of success stories, Richard came up with the following 8 traits. He believes these are the foundations of successful people.

  • Love what you do
  • Work really hard
  • Focus on one thing, not everything
  • Keep pushing yourself
  • Come up with good ideas
  • Keep improving yourself on what you do
  • Serve others something of value because success isn’t just about me, me, me
  • Persist because there’s no overnight success

Have you watched the video?

Now, it’s great that you know the 8 traits of successful people. All you have to do is to develop those traits.

But one question remains, have you figured out what success is to you?

Journey to Success

International leadership coach John Maxwell has an interesting though on traditional definitions of success. Either it requires some magic formula or it is a destination to reach.

John has spent almost five decades knowing successful people and studying the subject. He doesn’t see ‘success’ the same way as most people do.

“I began to see success as a journey, an ongoing process of growth,” John explains. “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

Purpose in Life

A lot of people I asked attributes happiness or wealth to success.

Unfortunately, my impression is that there are only a few people who are both happy and wealthy.

What use is it to be wealthy but unhappy? Besides, how can one be happy if money for even only necessities is scarce?

It may as well be true that you need the money to cover your basic needs. Furthermore, indulging in small luxuries could give you the satisfaction.

But more than wealth, you need to know your life purpose. Happiness is a state of mind. It is when you know you fulfilled your purpose that leads to long lasting happiness.

Countless Roads

On your journey to success, there are countless roads you could take.

“It’s impossible to map out a route to your destination, says motivational speaker Suze Orman. “If you don’t know where you’re starting from.”

Knowing your life purpose is a good starting point. Think of the roads as the choices you make. Some roads lead you to success, while others lead you far away. Whichever road you take; you are bound to arrive at a crossroad.

Do you know people who are not thrilled with their life and have not done anything to change their situation?

Perhaps it is completely understandable.

After all, with so many roads and not knowing where each leads to, it may as well be better to stay where they are.

Grow Yourself

Companies continue to invest in improving products or services. It’s a given fact that this is the only way to remain competitive.

Likewise, you need to invest in yourself. Learn where each road leads to. Know how to navigate the roads. Put yourself in a position to succeed.


Today, you are standing on one of the countless other roads you could have taken.

Are you on the right road?

Is this the road that leads you to your dreams?

So what is ‘success’ to you and how sure are you that your definition of success will not change?

Is it happiness for you? Will you be as happy as today ten years or twenty years down the road?

Is it wealth? Sure, the benefit of money can bring happiness, but would it be long-lasting?

If happiness and wealth are on polar opposites, then let me leave you with a message from a legend. I think his message is the bridge that will bring both happiness and wealth together.

“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires,” says Bob Marley. “But in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”

So … have you figured out your definition of success?


  1. The video is great! I really loved reading “stress isn’t working 15 hours at a job you like. Stress is working 15 minutes in a job you dislike.” That’s so true. I just notice that when I work on the blog, time flies. I don’t mind coming home from work and work another 4 or 5 hours on my blog. I love it!

    I also really like the message “Success isn’t about me, me, me”. It’s good to spread the word about that. Couldn’t agree more! What’s better than also helping others in finding their passion and achieving their goals!

  2. Yes, passion is so important. I loved being a makeup artist. I also loved being a teacher. I love being a social media manager and I love blogging. I think I love too many things! This is maybe because I’m a passionate person by character?

    My husband who is the CEO of a company, always says that he LOVES his job. He never wants to come home early haha. I’m happy that I have a husband that enjoys his work.

    It’s really important to love your job. Of course, there’s always things you don’t like. I always hear that I’m ambitious too. When I was studying I got a lot of feedback that didn’t make short enough scripts haha. I didn’t understand why that was bad. I just loved to read books and compare them and to write about the subject. A little bit extra than another student maybe.

    I found my passion for doing so many different things. Like I said, I’ve been a teacher, makeup artist, blogger, social media manager. I don’t hate one of them, however. I didn’t date much either but I still found the love of my life I guess. Maybe I’m very easy to fall in love with work and people even.

    Well, it works for me 🙂

  3. These are definitely great reading and yes, I agree we are on a road… And when necessity comes and money is scarce, reality soon will take its toll on happiness… it is exactly how my life is… and I also agree that success is not just all about me… hu hu hu… and even if and when I do not do much, I try to be someone positive in other people’s lives.

  4. Another great read from you, sir! It seems like the universe is slowly clearing my head for the decision I’ll be making for next year. Just came off from a blog talking about how it’s important to make yourself valuable and all, and being responsible, and your post was the perfect post-read. There’s always the feeling of “something more”. I hope one day to be able to write helpful posts like this one and get my life together for it. (Drats, now I’ve got a whole group of things to think about, thanks to you, haha! Nothing like reflecting on life in the middle of a downpour.)

  5. I like this definition too. “Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others.” We are truly blessed to discover our life purpose and to live it out every day. It gives meaning to our existence. It gives us direction. And living it out gives us a lot of fulfillment. 🙂

  6. There is truly something in the topic that really moved me, maybe because I’m really fond of an article that talks about success. I’m getting old, and I’m at the point in life where I chase dreams without thinking about real success. Success for me is meeting countless failures in life, but you still manage to remain firm and welcome life again. Anyhow, according to one book I have read way back 4 years ago, it says, time freedom and financial freedom is what success really is in which I can agree as well. Every one of us accepts our own way of thoughts of success and whatever it is, we should always remember that real success is doing the will of God.

  7. Doing what you love! I guess that is the most important key to succeeding! If you do not have that passion in what you are doing, then you will hardly find ways to excel on your chosen field. Success in the first place for me is not defined by how much you are being compensated or how much your material possessions are. Success for me is excelling on something you truly love!

    • I totally agree. Success is for me too, doing what you love. One of the definitions of success I found was: The accomplishment of one’s goals. And true, it opens up so much. It totally depends on your goals. And doing hat I love is definitely a goal!

      • So true Carola! It’s just so sad that most people today take wealth as a measurement of someone else’s success. You are right, it really depends on someone else’s goals and how they managed to achieve it. If your goal is to become rich and you became wealthy, then you can consider it as a success!

    • I agree. Reaching goals while doing what you love is how I would define success too. There is this drive that will push you to work harder if you like what you are doing. It’s not about the money, how well compensated you are. It’s about that satisfaction you feel even for the little achievements you get.

  8. I like your 8 traits of successful people. Especially the fact to always keep on improving yourself, I think that is something that many people take all too lightly.

    Should wealth then be the measure of success? Sensitive subject for sure. If wealth is someone’s goal, and he reaches that goal – then it is a success! The Swedish word for success would imply that it is “moving forward” – if you’re moving forward towards what you want, you are successful.

  9. “You may be happy with what you are doing today. When the necessity comes and money is scarce, reality soon will take its toll on happiness.”

    Ouch! I think being successful is doing what you love doing! Being contented of everything that you have. Yeah, I know that we still need money as long as you can still buy the necessities. Success is also defining the balance in your life. Work is not the only thing in this world and we should really enjoy the things that we enjoyed the most.

  10. Very interesting read. I have to agree with you that the definition of success is subjective. My definition of success drastically changed in the last 10 years, the things that I held merit before, no longer has the same importance to me now. We measure ours and others success quite differently too. What may seem like a successful victory for us, could be a regular achievement for other people. It’s all about embracing your own definition of success and be content about it.

  11. I liked the 8 traits of a successful person. My favorite was the part that success is not always about me, me, me. When I picture myself successful, it doesn’t mean I have all the material things in life, I am stable and such. To me, being successful means I have served other people, I have influenced them in the best way that I can. So far, I’m still on a journey to being successful. Being successful in my career, family, even my love life. Haha! I’ve failed a lot but that just means I’m one step ahead.

  12. I really loved reading your article. I specifically liked the 8 traits of successful people and what resonated with me the most was this – Focus on one thing, not everything. I used to think that I can do everything all at the same time until I realized that we have to work smarter, not harder in order to become successful. And yes, happiness is a state of mind!

    • I agree with you on this completely and with the post. I think that when you try to focus on too many things you lost sight of what you initially wanted to achieve or do. Sure, it is great to be able to multi-task, but doing many things at once should be surrounded by the goal you are looking to achieve and not many different goals which could lead to disappointment. Happiness is not only a state of mind but should be a habit. Happiness is a choice.

  13. Success for me is doing what I love and working as if I’m playing… I think success is also a matter of perspective. Surely there are people, esp. those in mediocrity often believes that successful people are those who are wealthy, privileged and happy. While the poor remain poor and unhappy because they are unlucky. I always believe that success isn’t about acquiring possessions and becoming financially stable. There’s more to it than money. I’d prefer to be known as a successful person because I was able to touch lives, make a difference in the world and inspire people from what I simply do. I wish I could be like that and then I can say I did a great job. it was a success.

  14. This is one of the best inspiring TedTalks I’ve seen! And I couldn’t relate more! True enough, finding one’s passion is a struggle for many. I, myself, have already tried several jobs — from teaching to sales to volunteering to childcare to working in a library — and still, I’m searching for that one job which would make me feel like not working at all! Hahaha.. I actually have only a few months left to decide what I really want to do in the future. But I have several hobbies on the side. I just hope they’d turn into something as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this article, sir Robert! It’s always nice to know that it’s normal to be lost at some stage in one’s life. Indeed, happiness is the only measure of success. Cheers to that!

  15. Another inspiring post, Robert. Sometimes I am guilty of defining success by what others would think of me as being successful. And then one moment I would realize these things that I thought would give me “success” do not necessarily make me genuinely happy in the end. I feel it’s sometimes a bit complicated to be both successful and happy at the same time. Oh well. But I just learn to be more appreciative of all the blessings that I received.

    Grow yourself – these are beautiful words I always keep in mind. At the end of the day, there may be goals I listed that may not turn out exactly the way I want them to be. But I always tell myself it’s the person I have become after everything that had happened to me that matters.

    Keep the inspiration coming!

  16. I used to think blogging and teaching people to blog was my passion, but I realize that that aspect is just a tool: a tool for people to put their passion out into the world. What I am passionate about is seeing people realize their massive potential to contribute to making lives blissful! I agree with the video, that everything simply becomes a solution to get to the result you want. That is how I approach life!

  17. In anything successful, passion and attitude are the two things that I deem vital through the journey. There are so many tools that you can use to help you achieve it. The video is quite inspirational especially to people have passion projects. Sometimes, I feel bad for thinking that success can be measured by figures. But honestly, it only can be measured by the happiness you get while doing it. The remuneration and the figures are only bonuses for it. Another great post from you!

  18. Most of us aim to be successful but do not have the proper mindset on how to be one one. Reading this article inspired me more to strive and focus on my goals one step at a time. If you dream of becoming a successful painter, like me, you should have the vision to do it. Learn the changes you would encounter and ways to improve. When you become successful in your work, then you can inspire and motivate others. That’s how success is for me.

  19. Success is a very broad topic and its definition varies from one person to another. Most of the people I know think that success depends on the money you have in the bank, the size of your house, the number of cars in your garage. While it may be true for people who are in the middle class or those living in poverty, it is sometimes not the exact views those rich people have. Sometimes, success for them is attaining happiness such as having a complete family or a healthy life away from severe illness.

    I always love watching TedEX videos. The one you posted in here is an eye opener that we do not have to stay in a job that we dislike. We have a choice if we would just be brave to choose the one we love.

  20. Passion is really a moving word sir. I love everything about arts. I love music, editing makeup and choreography (dancing). 2 years ago I decided to quit choreography but my body just move to the beat when I hear beautiful music. It really makes me relax,  and I love teaching different types of genre of dance. I will be lost if I hear and dance to the music, it’s my life. I can’t explain how I love it, and the same goes with makeup and expressing my emotions through it. A lot of people told me to stop but I can’t, I’ve been teaching a lot of people and I’m happy seeing them successful in their field.

  21. I really love this article. And every sentence in it is true. Stress is 15 minutes working on the field that you don’t like. I think I am in stress now because every morning I never felt excited. But quitting the job right now will just kill me. Guess I will wait till my saving is enough. Then quit and find my own path. Thank you for writing this.

  22. Every sentence in this article is true. Especially when you said about the 15 minutes working on the field you hate. I am now working in a company. But I often get bored of the situation. I thought, getting a job quickly would make me and everyone happy. Now, I know, I need to go to do what I want. Thanks for sharing.

  23. This is a really well-written post. I love reading these reflective posts of yours because I always agree with them so much. Things that I worried about years ago now seems so insignificant. It makes worrying seem pointless

  24. Do I have those 8 essential traits? This is what I’ve asked when I read your post. I had my shares of career and personal success which gave me rewarding experiences in the past. I still seek to gain more and find my purpose in life. I am pursuing my passion in writing but I intend to do more and become more. I have my dreams, I am working hard and praying more! I guess success is… about the journey and the fruits of labor. Previously, I love to compete and become the best. That’s sweet success for me. Now, I am competing with myself but not stressing too much by being a little lenient – I want to enjoy my life every day as I work… guess I am getting older hahaha! Great post, Sir!

  25. Reading different articles on success always make me curious. We all have our own different definitions of success. When I was younger I only see the “professional” side of success or even as a student, I only see academic types of success. But, as I grow older I realize success is more than that. I agree with what has been said regarding the Journey to Success. There are people who become CEO instantly or becomes rich sooner than the others. But, one’s journey or path is unique. Sometimes, it is the story of that journey that can determine the success of the person professionally or personally.

    This is a good read 🙂


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