How Do You Define Success?

How Do You Define Success?

What makes a person a success in life? I learned a little about this when I was just nine years old and in the fourth grade. I had a wonderful teacher who joked with us and laughed at herself and who taught us, using two pencils, the basics of knitting.

I loved knitting. I would sit and knit for hours. I started with simple patterns; afghans and scarves and soon graduated to more involved patterns to make sweaters and socks. I was fortunate I had my godmother, a voracious knitter,  to show me tricks about knitting, and later, my neighbour Ruth to get me out of a bind.

I  think learning to succeed in life is a little like learning how to knit. When you begin a new pattern you look at a photo of what the finished product and read the written instructions. At first glance the instructions look like hieroglyphs; you have to learn to decipher them but that’s the easy part. The hard part is trusting that these instructions will help you to create the item you see in the picture. If you’re lucky, as I was, you will find others who have mastered the skill who can guide you.

You make mistakes, you drop stitches and mis-count how many “knit” stitches and how many “purl” stitches. Buttonholes are hard and sewing the pieces together in the end even harder! But you only really become good at knitting when you learn how to correct your mistakes and solve the problems you encounter. The confidence you gain in doing that is what propels you.  Knowing you can solve your problems takes away the fear of problems and going ahead fearlessly  – or even despite fear – is the only way to master anything.

You can quit (temporarily). You can fail but it won’t matter in the long run as long as you keep going. Once you learn how to solve problems; how to pick yourself up and carry on, life becomes the adventure it was intended to be.

How do I define success? Success is knowing you can do whatever you decide to do even if you haven’t done it yet; that you can and will persevere no matter what the odds. If you’ve got that mindset, you already are  a success in life because you know how to enjoy the journey.

Is success an outcome, a state of mind, an achievement? Do you feel you are a success in life – why? How do you define success?

photo credit: Maraire

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About The Author


I am passionate about writing and community building. I’ve written a book about healing and happiness, The Happy Place, as well as a Community Building book, Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age, now available at any Amazon store. I’ve been through life changes that I thought were the end of my world, but I’m still here. I never know what will happen next. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?