Everyone craves for success, but it is only a handful who achieve it in the real sense. In your life, success can have different meanings and interpretations. This MissionSelf article speaks about 15 extremely successful people, along with their definition about success.
Author J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, wrote a book ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the pen-name ‘Robert Galbraith’, in April, 2013. Many publishers rejected the novel. However, when the secret was revealed a little while later, the book’s sales skyrocketed.
What does success mean to you? What is its definition? We all are thriving for success in our lives, be it our work, life, or relationships. We all have our own dreams.
It’s your life, and it is up to you to decide what you want in life. For someone, success might mean material pleasures, for someone else it might mean having a peaceful and happy life, for someone it might mean having fulfilling relationships, and for some it might be achieving name and fame. However, there is no easy way or shortcut to achieve success in anything that we want.
The following are a few instances of people who have achieves huge success in their respective fields, and this is their take on success.
‘Facebook’ is his brainchild, and he shot to fame at a very early age in life. His success story is known almost to everybody. As a teenager, Mark was fascinated with computers, software, and coding. In 2004, when he was studying at Harvard, he developed the networking site exclusively for Harvard students. It was earlier called ‘The Facebook’. Later, the site became open to the public, and today Facebook has millions of users worldwide. Though Mark was accused of stealing ideas, and had to fight through litigation’s, he chose to pay the settlement money. Whatever the case may be, Mark indeed has success written by his own hands.
“If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”
― Mark Zuckerberg
He believes that being passionate about work will make your work not sound like work, and instead make it easier. A movie was based on his story, titled ‘The Social Network’. For more secrets about his success, read ‘The Boy Billionaire: Mark Zuckerberg in His Own Words’.
He is one of the most successful businessman, who came from a humble beginning. He is always level-headed, calm, and evidently enjoys his work. He has had his fair share of failures too. A dropout, he did not follow the conventional method of schooling, and founded the ‘Virgin Group’.
“The best advice I could give anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.”
― Richard Branson
His quote indicates how simple his advice is: just follow your heart’s real passion, the rest will follow. If you want to know further about how he built his empire, refer to his book ‘Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School’.
Oprah’s story is full of ordeals: she was born to an unwed mother, and at a very young age was molested by her male relatives, and lacked family security. After shifting to her strict father’s home, she concentrated on her oratory skills, and the rest is history. She went on to become one of the strongest woman on Earth, with her talk show gaining immense popularity in America.
“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
― Oprah Winfrey
What can we learn from her success? Your background does not matter if you want success in life. It is imperative that you concentrate on the available resources, and make the most of it. And of course, according to Oprah, your small wins are little steps to winning in the long run.
He is a super-successful entrepreneur of the Internet world. He is the CEO of Zappos. After selling Link Exchange to Microsoft, in 1999, he joined Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop. He provided the golden ‘Midas Touch’ to the company, and it was because of him that the company became one of the most successful ones in the world.
His book ‘Delivering Happiness’, released in 2010, was an instant hit, where he describes his journey from working at a worm farm to the corporate life and his achievements.
“Have fun. The game is a lot more enjoyable when you’re trying to do more than just make money.”
― Tony Hsieh
His mantra for success is to enjoy your work, and not look at it as a task. If you merely look at it for making money, you’ll never enjoy it. It is very important that you understand that, to grow, you cannot merely run after figures.
He is a former medical practitioner, who turned into alternative medicine after he admitted to have too much stress in the profession. Physicians were under a lot of stress due to demanding and risky nature of the job, due to which, they subjected themselves to heavy smoking, drinking, and caffeine abuse. After attending a lecture on Ayurvedic medicine by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he discovered his passion for life. He has mentored many celebrities such as Michael Jackson. He has written over 80 books, some of which have turned out to be bestsellers.
“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”
― Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams
Deepak Chopra has redefined the meaning of success, not limiting it to our achievements, but also focusing on happiness and well-being.
As a child, Bill Gates was always fascinated by computers and programming. Seeing his progress, his parents enrolled him in an exclusive preparatory school. After school, he joined Harvard as a law student, but soon lost interest, as he preferred spending time in computer labs. Along with his close friend Paul Allen, he formed ‘Microsoft’ in 1975. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
“To win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.”
― Bill Gates
To emerge as a winner, sometimes you should be willing to take risks. If you have unwavering faith, take the first step, do not be afraid of failures, and venture in something new. Do not be afraid to do something new and different. That’s what he advises
The famous co-founder of the online site ‘The Huffington Post’, Arianna was born to write. When she was 23, she wrote her first book ‘The Female Woman’, which received worldwide acclaim. In 1986, she married Michael Huffington, and the couple have two children. In 2003, she achieved success with her book ‘Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America.’ Today, she is a successful entrepreneur, and a role model for many people.
“Failure is not the opposite of success; its part of success.”
― Ariana Huffington
Her mantra for success is to follow a dream that you want, and strive for your dream fearlessly, regardless of what people think of you. People will tel you that what you’re planning to achieve is not surmountable. However, it is up to you to decide whether you want to follow your passion, or simply suppress your thoughts and dreams, believing what others say.
The former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, late Winston Churchill was one of the most profound speakers during those times, and was also one of the most successful politicians of the 20th century. He also won a Nobel Prize in Literature. Though he was an excellent orator, he first struggled with speaking, as he suffered from a speech disorder.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill
This mantra should be followed by all those people who get easily bogged down by failures. Failure is not as bad as it seems, and success also has its own shelf-life. Instead of basking in the glory of your success, it is better to start with the new task, and gear up to achieve something new. Whatever the case may be, it is your courage to complete a task that matters the most.
As an infant, he was given away by his own parents for adoption, and he even dropped out of school. He was always fascinated by computers and software though. In 1976, he founded Apple along with Steve Wozniak, and the success of Apple is known to all. He successfully launched the Macintosh computers. In 1985, he was ousted from the company by its directors, and Jobs went on to make his own company, Pixar, which gained a lot of success. The company then joined hands with Disney. Later, Apple brought Jobs back into the directorial board. He brought Apple success again. Despite battling with a deadly disease, he kept his spirits alive for almost a decade.
“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
― Steve Jobs
The richest people did not concentrate on making money. They simply followed what they wanted to do. It is true that money helps in lot of things, however, concentrate on your work, and money will follow. And yes, even after achieving success, do not be afraid of failures; it actually gives you the chance to do something innovative, and venture into something new.
J.K. Rowling (Novelist)
The author of one of the bestselling books worldwide in children’s fantasy, The Harry Potter series, her story is nothing less than a fairytale. It is a true account of winning against all odds. She had to battle her financial woes, raise her daughter as a single parent, with severe depression. When she completed writing the first Harry Potter book, it was rejected by almost 12 publishers, until it was accepted by one, and she went on to become one of the wealthiest women in Britain.
“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
― J.K. Rowling
According to her, it is important that we embrace failures, and keep trying relentlessly for that single shot at success. Rowling got fame and attention much later in life, after being rejected so many times. Really, at least I owe some special moments of my childhood to her. Today, she juggles with writing, and also plays the role of a doting wife and mother to three children. She is an real inspiration to all writers out there.
Henry Ford (Entrepreneur)
He was one of the most successful entrepreneurs the world has seen, and the founder of Ford Motor Company. He was an innovator in his own sense, and was responsible for bringing automobiles in the life of commoners. As a child, he was always fascinated by mechanics and machines, hence, he chose to leave his father’s profession as a farmer and set out on the journey of mechanics and automobiles. One of his earliest models ‘Model T’, became an extremely popular car, and the rest is history.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
― Henry Ford
In short, his quote suggests the importance of having faith in yourself and your dreams. If you do not trust yourself, it is never going to happen. On the other hand, if you’ve a strong will to make something happen, it is going to happen.
Walt Disney (Entrepreneur, Cartoonist, Animator, Voice Actor, Film Producer)
Walt Disney is best known as the creator of the Disney World, which is known worldwide today, and the creator of our beloved ‘Mickey Mouse’. Truly, this man was a believer in his dreams. He harbored the dream of making his own amusement park, since childhood. Along with his brother Roy, he took a step towards achieving this dream. Within a couple of months of Disneyland’s opening, it had millions of American visitors. His company is known to be one of the greatest entertainment and media companies in the world.
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.”
― Walt Disney
His success mantra is plain and simple. If you can dream about something, you can certainly do it. Just start taking steps towards your goal, and even a small idea can create big ripples.
Sachin Tendulkar (Sportsman)
In India, people consider him as the ‘God of Cricket’. A player who started out on the field at a very young age, he was blessed with talent, and his relentless perseverance to be the best gave him the best results. Born in a middle-class family in Mumbai, India, he was coached by Ramesh Achrekar, one of the best coaches of cricket during those times. He found success at an early age of sixteen. Throughout his career, he humbly stood out as a star performer. Even during the low phases of his life, and injuries, he battled his way out and made a comeback. As of today, he has retired from cricket. However, he was one of the pivotal performers who led India to win the World Cup in 2011.
“People throw stones at you and you convert them into milestones.”
― Sachin Tendulkar
His quote proves that, it is important to keep the hard work consistent, and also be ready to be subjected to ridicule and negative comments. It is up to you what to do with those stones which people throw at you. In other words, use criticism constructively.
Thomas Edison (Inventor, Entrepreneur)
Whenever we think of Thomas Edison, the light bulb comes to our mind. He brought out fascinating changes in the light bulbs that were available during those times, making them more economical and durable. As a young boy, he struggled with a hearing difficulty. However, no one expected that this boy would one day make wonders. His inventions include the phonograph, movie camera, etc. As he struggled financially during his early age, he went on to become one of the most successful scientists and entrepreneurs of his time.
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
― Thomas A. Edison
His quote explains why it is important not to be disheartened by failures, and to never ever give up. To invent or do something new, you have to go through multiple failures. However, you never know if you give up, when you might just nail it, hence, it is important to keep trying.
Mark Twain (Author)
Mark Twain was a well-known author, responsible for writing classics such as ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, ‘Life on the Mississippi’, and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. Mark Twain’s original name was ‘Samuel Langhorne Clemens’. He was also close friends with Nikola Tesla, indicating his fascination for science and technology.
“The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation.”
― Mark Twain
Personally, I feel this is the best advice to anyone if you really want to achieve success. If you really, really enjoy work, nothing can stop you from achieving what you want. There is no point joining a vocation that does not interest you. Instead, make your passion and love your work, and success will surely follow.