What is success? People define this notion in many different ways. Success may mean the achievement of what one wants or intends, a high position in one’s job, course, sport, in society, etc. Some people believe that success is connected with the amount of money they earn, the house they live in and the car they drive. But is success really measured in dollars and is it just making money and being well-known? To my mind success means finding personal satisfaction in your work and loving what you do. It is a sense of personal accomplishment and self-satisfaction. If people want to be successful, they should have a goal to strive for and constantly raise the bar. When their ambition is reached, another one is created. The meaning of success may vary at different points of life.
Of course not everybody manages to succeed in life. All successful businessmen, actors or musicians face a number of challenges at the beginning of their career. They have hard times overcoming many difficulties but they don’t give up. At last their persistence leads to success. One must be hard-working, patient, strong-willed, persevering and self-confident if one wants to be successful. Success always goes hand in hand with hard work and great efforts and very often one faces a lot of obstacles, troubles, disappointment and failure on the way to success.
Some people forget about integrity and honour striving for success, wealth and glory. When they achieve their goal, it doesn’t make them happy. On the contrary, they feel disillusioned and dissatisfied. Having climbed the ladder of success they find nothing worthwhile on the top. A person shouldn’t use any means and take any risks achieving success. Many people today are under so much pressure to succeed that some admit they will lie, cheat, do something morally wrong and even sacrifice their private life and health if it helps them to get on. Many ambitious people who want success at any cost move their families, friends and hobbies to the background. People who work too much trying to achieve their goals or to be promoted don’t go in for sports, sit up very late, skip meals, smoke excessively and feel stressed.
But can a person be successful if he isn’t happy? The link between happiness and success was investigated by a team from the University of California Riverside. According to their research ‘happiness, rather than working hard, is the key to success’. Psychologists say that ‘cheerful people are more likely to try new things and challenge themselves, which reinforces positive emotion and leads to success in work, good relationships and strong health’. So happiness is essential to people’s wellbeing. Prof Diener said, ‘We define success as obtaining the things that culture or society values, whether it be friends, close family, money and income, or longevity.’
Let’s try to deduce a formula for success.
Hard work + enthusiasm + love of your work = success
A person is successful if he uses all his talents to improve the world and leaves it a bit better, whether by bringing up a healthy child, planting a tree or building a house. Success is not only a good career. It is also having a balance in life and helping other people. As somebody has rightly said, ‘Success is the completion of anything intended’.
1. Complete each sentence (A-H) with one of the endings (1-8): A. Some people believe that success is connected with
B. If people want to be successful they should
C. All successful businessmen, actors or musicians
D. Success always goes hand in hand with
E. Many people today are under so much pressure to succeed that some admit they will
F. People who work too much trying to achieve their goals or to be promoted
G. Cheerful people are more likely to
H. A person is successful if he uses
1. face a number of challenges at the beginning of their career.
2. don’t go in for sports, sit up very late, skip meals, smoke excessively and feel stressed.
3. have a goal to strive for and constantly raise the bar.
4. try new things and challenge themselves.
5. the amount of money they earn, the house they live in and the car they drive.
6. hard work and great efforts.
7. all his talents to improve the world and leaves it a bit better.
8. lie, cheat, do something morally wrong and even sacrifice their private life and health if it helps them to get on.
2. Give the definitions of the following words – goal – failure
– ambition – sacrifice
– challenge – wellbeing
3. Answer the questions 1) Is success connected with the amount of money you earn? Why?
2) Why is it important to be ambitious if you want to succeed?
3) Why does the meaning of success vary at different points of life?
4) Why doesn’t everybody manage to succeed in life?
5) Why do some people feel disillusioned and dissatisfied having climbed the ladder of success?
6) Can you lie, cheat, betray or sacrifice your private life and health for success? Why?
7) Why do many people who work too much feel unhappy?
8) What is the link between happiness and success?
9) Do you agree that cheerful people are successful? Why?
10) Do you agree with the statement ‘Success is the completion of anything intended’? Explain your answer.
4. Read what people say about success. What is success to your mind? ‘Success is… Well, to my mind it is doing what I like, having a good job and good relationships with my family. Bringing up children is a very important job and I feel satisfied when I spend free time with my daughters, watch them playing and hear them laughing. Being a good father is a hard work and I want to succeed in it. I got promotion three years ago and I remember feeling very thrilled and proud. But I felt much prouder when my younger daughter wrote in her composition, ‘My father is the best father in the world’. This is what makes me happy and successful. ‘
‘I’d like to scale the career ladder and achieve the most senior management level possible. I want to be respected and I want people to take my opinion into consideration and to ask me for advice. I want to gain power and wealth and to be independent. Of course I understand that there is no success without failure and sacrifice but even failure can become an essential ingredient to success. I’m ready to work hard.’
‘Success is a complicated notion. As for me, I’m not a careerist. I like freedom and I hate the idea of being trapped in an office from morning till night. Success is not necessarily a high position in society or a well-paid job. Success is the opportunity to show your talent and to be creative in the field that you like. Success is not escaping problems but facing them with a smile.’
5. Read the quotations below. Choose any statement and comment on it – ‘Action is the foundational key to all success.’ (Pablo Picasso)
– ‘Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.’ (Dale Carnegie)
– ‘Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. ‘ (David Frost)
– In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.’ (Bill Cosby)
– ‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’ (Bill Gates)
– ‘Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.’ (Dale Carnegie)
– ‘Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.’ (Booker T. Washington)
– ‘Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.’ (Arnold H. Glasow)
– ‘Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.’ (Joe Paterno)
– ‘What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.’ (Margaret Thatcher)
Look at the list of today’s most successful people. Find more information about one of them and find the reasons for his or her success.
Bill Gates, a computer programmer and businessman, who started the Microsoft company and who is one of the world’s wealthiest people. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect, and remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock. In the later stages of his career, Gates has donated large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.
Oprah Winfrey, a film and television actress and television presenter who has her own talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show which has earned her multiple Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television. She is also an influential book critic, an Academy Award nominated actress, and a magazine publisher. Oprah has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.
Donald Trump, a business magnate, socialite, television personality, and author. Trump is the Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer. He is also the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates numerous casinos and hotels across the world. Trump’s extravagant lifestyle and outspoken manner have made him a celebrity for years, a status amplified by the success of his NBC reality show, The Apprentice (where he serves as host and executive producer).
Condoleezza Rice, the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice was the first black woman, second African American, and the second woman to serve as Secretary of State. Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term. While Secretary of State, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s board of directors.
Tiger Woods, a golfer whose achievements rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. In 1997 he became the youngest person ever to win the US Masters Tournament. Currently the World No. 1, he was the highest-paid professional athlete in 2007. Woods has won fourteen professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player, and 65 PGA Tour events, third all time. He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour.
A. What is success? What are the ways of being successful? Do you think that you are successful?
B. Read the text ‘Ways of Being Successful’ and try to deduce your own formula for success.