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How Angelou, Churchill and Edison define success

The one true definition of success is hard to pinpoint, but it’s better that way so that each one of us has his or her own idea of success.



Success written on sand

When we examine tasks, it’s easy to define whether or not we were successful in completing them. However, when we look at life, the definition of success becomes a bit more personal.

Does success mean that you have seven yachts and nine houses or does it mean that your family has food on their plates? The answer will be different for everyone.

For someone who is struggling to put food on the table, they may feel successful when they never have to think about where their next meal comes from. Whereas someone who has never had that problem may not even be wired to think that way.

In the world of business, there are plenty of success stories—each its own journey with a different man or woman forging the definition of that success. To put matters in perspective for your own business journey, let’s take a look at how some universally successful figures define success.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (pictured) lived her life as a poet and an activist and believed that wealth is not essential to achieve success. (Photo by York College ISLGP via Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

Maya spent a great deal of her life what most people would consider unsuccessful. She didn’t see the traditional definition of success (money in the back) until much later in life. She also, of course, had a wonderful way with words. In art, it is not always possible to get rich doing what you love—and Angelou believed that’s not necessary to be successful.

Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill with his Chiefs of Staff

To define success, Winston Churchill (seated, center right) said it is when he triumphs over challenges and keeps his motivation intact. (Source)

“Success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Was Sir Winston Churchill a successful politician? Of course—he was Prime Minister of arguably the most powerful nation at the time, during a time period where leadership was tremendously important. However, when asked about his definition of success, he didn’t talk about winning elections or wars but rather overcoming adversity and staying motivated.

Thomas Edison

Statue of Thomas Edison, define success

For Thomas Edison (pictured), success is defined by how one has struggled to achieve his goals. (Photo by Emilio Labrador via Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

“Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.”

It would be rather difficult to live life these days had it not been for Edison’s inventions. One of the most universally well-known inventors in history, Edison didn’t define success by his number of patents. That is, despite owning over 1,000. Rather, he viewed success by the amount of effort you put into to reaching a goal.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

I began my entrepreneurial career at 18 years old owning a franchise with a landscaping company. Over 8 years I grew my first business to a multi-million dollar business with over 10 managers, 80 staff and 25,000 customers and then sold it when I was 26. I then took up a position with the company I sold it to and proudly held the position of National Sales Director for the largest direct sales company in Canada servicing over 400,000 homes specializing in property beautification services. Then I had the idea for GoWrench Auto and knew I had to pursue it. We specialize in providing "Auto Repairs and More Right to Your Door" with certified mobile automotive technicians. In other words, we come to your home or work to fix your car and save you the time and hassle (and even some money!)  of bringing it in. I am very passionate about people, business, sales/business psychology, performance, and overall having great interactions with staff, customers, professionals and investors. I have meticulously studied business and sales to become the utmost and highest level performer and achiever in my field and continue to pursue knowledge in my business and personal life.