The secrets of success

Everyone wants to be successful, but most of us aren't sure what success looks like

Last week we talked about how a healthy lifestyle is an important part of being successful. But how do you recognise success? We live in a culture obsessed with success. Bookstore shelves groan under the weight of thousands of self-help manuals outlining the path to success, motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins make millions holding seminars that supposedly reveal the secrets of success and even many religious leaders now promote their faith by suggesting it will provide divine help in becoming more successful.

What is success?

When asked to picture success, the images that most readily come to mind for most of us are a big house, fancy car or expensive clothes. But research shows that once you have enough money to meet your basic needs, earning more doesn't make you feel any happier or more fulfilled. Lots of us aren't chiefly motivated by money and define success in other ways, such as maintaining a strong network of loving relationships with friends and family, setting and achieving worthy goals or attaining peace of mind.

Defining what success means to you

All of the above definitions of success are valid. However, if there is a secret to feeling like a success, it's succeeding on the terms that are important to you. If you've always dreamed of being a great chef but are a well-paid lawyer, chances are you won't feel you're living a successful life no matter how impressed others might be by you.

Remember that success is impossible without failure

Bill Gates once observed, "It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure." Always remember that almost no one gets to be a big success without enduring the valuable learning experience of failure first. And if you are lucky enough to enjoy some success, don't ever forget that failure is probably lurking just around the corner. As Bill Gates also said, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."

How TAFE can help

The chances are that you define success at least partly in terms of being able to earn a reasonable income, do work you find satisfying, make a contribution to society and help others. The qualifications TAFE NSW offers can help you realise those types of ambitions.