Today I wanted to talk about success, because everyone has their own views on what a successful person is. 

But the question is, what is the true meaning of success? 

To answer this I wanted to share my own experiences what I understood it to be, and how, as I’ve invested in my own personal development, my views changed. 

You’ve Been Lied To All Your Life – The True Meaning of Success, by James M. Lane for Perfect Manifesto.

Growing up my biggest role model was my dad, who was so successful throughout his career, he retired as a director in his organisation. 

With this example, I associated success being about getting a job, and progressing up the corporate ladder. 

And that is exactly what I did. 

Because I had put a lot of self-worth around this belief, for many years when things weren’t working out – I’d think I wasn’t good enough, because I wasn’t measuring up to this standard. 

Soon I found myself working for a great company that not only had fantastic development opportunities, but gave me the chance to be surrounded by smart, capable people, working in the exact positions that I aspired to be. 

But it was through being exposed to this level, the first cracks in my long-held belief started to show 

They may have had important job titles and a big salary, but a lot always seemed stressed out 

And when you started to dig a little deeper you found they often had no life beyond work and were single, or failed marriages, or if they were holding down a relationship, they sacrificed a lot of time being away and doing late nights.

This is when I began to question – if this is success, do I want actually want this? 

Around this time I came across a guy called Earl Nightingale, and there was something he said in a YouTube video, that really changed my perception on what success means. 

“Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal” 

Earl Nightingale

Now, I believe the video was ripped from an old vinyl recording, and although the audio sounds dated the advice is still as relevant today. 

And when Nightingale is saying “Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal” 

What that means is Success is whatever you make it – you ARE the one who defines what success means to you.

So if you decide you want to be rich, and you become a millionaire – then you’re a success. 

If you want to write stories in your spare time, and you spend your life producing a library worth of books – you’re a success. 

And if you decide you want to be the best possible housewife… or a househusband, and you’re able to give your family a stable, loving home, well, guess what? You’re also a success! 

Closing discussion

If you think about it our whole worldview gets shaped by our upbringing – either intentionally when you have friends and family who push you into a profession, because they think anyone who takes that career path is a success, or unintentionally by what we observe and then see as what normal high achievers do. 

Getting my perception changed about success has done wonders for my wellbeing, because I’m no longer feeling that pressure to live up to this imaginary standard I created for myself, and I’m able to see success in a more abstract way by being a better father, husband, and it’s having the freedom to express myself as a creative. 

With this in mind, I challenge you to think about your own personal view of success – ask yourself the honest question – is that really your own benchmark, or has it been set by someone else? 

When you go about asking that honest question, I want you to do one more thing – think about what you really want to do. 

Only when you do that, you’ll be able to establish your own TRUE meaning of what success is.

Wishing you the best in your success

James @Perfect Manifesto

Copyright © 2023 James M.Lane

One more thing before you go…

I’ve started using Medium to share my knowledge about all things communications and engagement. If you’re a member I invite you to follow me.

And if you want to see more of what I’m writing about, then check out my latest post looking at social media analytics: Building An Online Brand? How To Use Twitter Analytics To Grow

Thank you!


8 thoughts on “You’ve Been Lied To All Your Life – The True Meaning Of Success

  1. After reading your post, it took me back to my parents telling me that to be successful; I had to be a doctor when I grew up and not a train driver (as I wanted). Now I realise that if I’d become either, I’d only have become successful if I was the train driver because that’s what I wanted.

    What a great read, James. One quick question, do you have any information on what Medium is/does?


    1. Yes our parents impact our perception of what is normal – it’s also worth nothing our meaning of success may change as we go through life, lots of things I was once wanted I no longer desire!

      Thank you Hugh!

      Regarding Medium it’s essentially another blogging platform, has a bit more of a social media style aspect to it, (if you meet a set criteria) you can get paid for your content views.

      I originally joined years ago as a way of sharing my work on here, but stopped when I realised duplicate content on a more well known site was killing off the post views!

      I’ve kept my account and decided to start sharing some more of my ‘day job’ knowledge as people ask me for advice, so thought I might as well write them as blog articles!


      1. Thanks for the details about Medium, James. I don’t want to lose people visiting my blog to read my posts, so I’ll stick with Twitter for now.


  2. “Success is whatever you make it – you ARE the one who defines what success means to you.”

    This is very true! We are the ones who get to decide what success means to us! I met a man years ago who was biking around the country, living how he pleased. He considered himself a success because he got to do what he wanted to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

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