How Should We Define Success?

I would like to challenge the notion of success. Several months ago, I wrote an article titled, ‘Britney Spears Impersonator Earns $500,000 a year as a Celebrity Look-a-Like,’ about Michaela Weeks who is paid half a million dollars a year to impersonate the famous performer.

I ended the article, with the saying, ‘Fake it ’til you make it,’ for a reason. The reason is to challenge our perception of success. How do you know if you have made ‘it’ or not? What is the elusive ‘it’ anyway?

I am sure Britney Spears impersonator, Michaela Weeks, did not intend to grow up to be a look-a-like of a famous person; she had other plans and goals. Yet, due to an unexpected turn of events, her life took a different path. Ms. Weeks put in the hard work to sing, dance, and wear elaborate costumes similar to the ones worn by Ms. Spears and is paid handsomely for her efforts. Therefore, by society’s standards, she has made it. Ms. Weeks even has all the trappings of success that money can buy, such as two homes, a sports car, and designer clothes. This is how society defines success.

My question is, should success be measured by money, fame, and accolades, or is success something altogether different? By society’s definition of success, celebrities, athletes, and business people are successful; however, that definition would also include convicted swindler Bernie Madoff and other criminals. There seems to be a flaw in the logic if success does not include people who have changed our world for the better.

Life does not always follow a smooth course. Sometimes, opportunities present themselves in the form of difficulties. How we handle those difficulties is what defines us and shapes our lives. An example of this is exemplified in the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Taliban shooting victim, Malala Yousafzai. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Yousafzai has become a symbol for equal education for girls.

Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa, and Yousafzai have changed the world forever with their personal strength and fortitude. Personally, I feel that they are successful. No-they do not have expensive sports cars, tons of jewelry, or jet-set lifestyles; however, by my definition, they have made it. This brings me to my definition of success: Success is that indefinable feeling of peace that you have when you are living your best life. By that definition, success is something that all of us can attain.

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