The Process Of Success

What is Success?

SuccessSuccess in its various forms may be one of the most desired goals or outcomes. We are constantly surrounded by representations of the meaning of success, in the media from our sporting superstars, business tycoons or the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous. Success as a concept is difficult to define. In its application, it is difficult to determine the process to achieve success, or to be successful. For many people the idea of success can dictate how they plan and live their life, from how they define their self worth and value, role in society, future dreams, and aspirations (Frankl, 2000).

In considering the real meaning of success and the influence of differing generational, gender and socio-political expectations, let us consider the stories of three remarkable Australians.

Pamela is a woman from the generation of ‘Baby Boomers’, the prosperous decade following World War II (aged between 47 and 65). This was a generation that expected the world to improve, that challenged the definition of traditional values, with increasing access to education, consumerism and subsequent affluence (Owram, 1997). Pamela was no different, while as a child she was not aware of the implicit messages of her generation, but she saw those with affluence, the nouveau riche, as happy with social capital. She equated the meaning of success to having money, friends, and material possessions.

Pamela’s parents were from the ‘Greatest Generation’ and believed in the value and power of education. They reinforced the idea that ‘if you did your best, you could succeed’. It is likely that education was viewed as a tool to advance, as many people of the Great Generation were not able to complete their education, due to the impact of the war. As such Pamela’s parents made financial sacrifices to enable Pamela and her siblings the opportunity to attend private school education.

Despite the increasing access to education, the traditional roles of men and women were still a large part of the social construction of identity, gender roles and society. This meant for Pamela that success in the professional domain entailed a career as either a nurse or a teacher. Pamela became a nurse and flourished in the medical environment, viewing continued education as a method to obtain social connections and the affluence that she connected with success and happiness.

your-successAs a consequence of her professional achievement, Pamela felt good about herself, a feeling of self worth that she also equated to success. Pamela had great plans. As a young adult she was prosperous in many domains of her life, from education, career and relationships. ….


This is a sample from a chapter in the book, Your Success. Available from Amazon.

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