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My Meaning of Success

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Merriam-Webster defines the word success as "the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence." To the blind beggar alongside the dirt road of Calcutta, India, however, success might simply mean attaining enough rupees to purchase a loaf of bread while success in the eyes of a U.S. Marine may be avoiding the enemy's fire in order to make it back home for Christmas this year. The definition of this seven letter word is neither definite nor limited because in truth, it is surely interpreted differently by the nearly seven billion inhabitants of this earth. I personally feel success is the reaching of a single goal: true, unquestionable happiness. This self-content and in turn, "successful life" can only be met by pursing one's passions, maintaining healthy relationships, and above all, putting self-approval over the approval of others.
An unknown source once said, "The happiness in this life does not consist of being devoid of passion, but mastering them." I could not agree more. Throughout my life, I have been asked what I want to be when I grow up, whether by my dad with video camera in hand, my second grade teacher, or most recently, the creators of the PSAT. As one may expect, my answer differed each time. It was not until this year, though, that I analyzed this question in terms of what I'd actually enjoy doing for the entirety of my adulthood. Through this perspective, I was able to come to the conclusion that if there's one thing I have as much skill as I have a love for, it's writing and no matter the salary, there's nothing I'd rather be payed to do. Not only do I view this realization as a successful point in my life, but I intend to put in all the hard work necessary to pursue this passion and further fulfill my own definition of success.
While success may be something you acquire as an individual, I also personally believe all those that play a role in your daily routine affect this accomplishment. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't received the guidance, love, and support given to me by my parents. I owe any doors open for me in the future to both my mother and father and therefore cannot imagine a successful life that does not include the two of them. As a person of faith, the same goes for God. Without Him, I would not possess the talents I am blessed to have and in turn, would not come remotely close to making my dreams my reality. Henceforth, no matter how long I travel the road to success, I will not feel I have reached the destination unless I've sustained a strong relationship with my family and my Savior.
In my opinion, since success is happiness, the most superior ingredient required for leading a successful life is undeniable acceptance of oneself. I find that there is no way to be truly happy if you are not confident in who you are because as cliche as it sounds, there is really no way for others to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself. While it is easy to point out all you're lacking or wish you had, accepting what you do have and embracing it is one of life's biggest challenges, and I feel that the overcoming of this obstacle is what greatly determines success. Though I can openly say I have yet to reach this complete self-approval, it is what I strive for above all else.
Success finds its significance in the lives of each and everyone of us. While the dictionary may have attempted to define it, the term's meaning will never be distinct because it is one that requires personal interpretation. To me, the single greatest determinant of success is happiness. Furthermore, I believe that leading a happy and thus successful life is the combination of three key elements: passion, support, and confidence.



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