What is success for you?

Episode 3 of Part 1 of our Introduction series: Setting the stage for success.

Habits:  Know thyself  |  Be curious

Skills:  Self-awareness  |  Responsibility

Description:  This episode introduces the concept that success as it is traditionally defined is not necessarily helpful in achieving the type of things we might hope for in life. We suggest a new definition of success, and identify why the distinction matters. We also touch on how an individual's view of success may change over time.


How this lesson might be discussed with your child

The overall focus of this episode is to encourage thought about what success really is and to consider an alternative definition that might be more widely applicable.

This can be expanded upon in any discussion around success, what it means, who decides who is successful and who isn't. Questions that might prompt further discussion may include:

  • What do you think defines success?
  • Can your definition apply to anyone?
  • How do you think society as a whole defines success? Is this right/fair?
  • How might your current view of success change your behaviour or approach to life?
  • Who do you see as a successful person?
  • What are the attributes that you believe have led to their success?

Some specific discussion points

As usual, the discussion of any literary works, historical figures, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss the characteristics of success and there respective pros and cons. For example, how do we recognise a successful actor or athlete compared to how we recognise a famous mathematician, scientist or author. How are equal levels of success across industries celebrated and how does the recognition or reward vary from industry to industry. For example, how does a leading actor compare to a leading scientist, to a leading entrepreneur to charity pioneer? Are these various roles valued differently by society? Why?

This can be take further into broader questions of seemingly successful people in the broader media. Who would you define as successful, what are the traits that made them successful and would those traits help them to be as successful in another field? Questions may include:

  • Who is the most successful person you can think of?
  • What makes them so successful?
  • Are these traits or characteristics the only ways to be successful?
  • Can you think of a successful person who doesn't have any of those traits?
  • If we didn't determine success by fame, fortune or status, what other measures could we use?
  • Do we even need a measure for success? Why/Why not?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." — Mark Twain

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you believe that you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the things you did? Why / Why not?
  • Why do you think Twain is suggesting to 'Sail away from the safe harbour'? 
  • Do you think that 'sailing away from the safe harbour' could help more people reach success? Why/Why not?
  • What do you think this quote has to do with success?
  • How does this quote align to your personal view of success?