The true definition of “success”

We view success as a pinnacle, a milestone. We envision it as the peak of a huge triangle that we want to reach and we want to stay there forever.

But what we forget is that it is impossible to stay there for long. Even if we try to, we are going to fall in either direction – either a plunge in the professional life or a realization that we may lose ourselves to reach that peak. Success is not a destination, it’s a journey. Success doesn’t lie in how much we earn, the luxury of our house or how many people know us. It is hidden in how much we know the people around us. We cannot measure success by the number of zeroes in our bank balance or the number of publications we have. We measure success by the moments that make us smile.

It may not be apparent to us now because we all have that spark inside us to achieve something significant. But as we fulfill our dreams one by one, we realize that this isn’t what we wanted from life. In secondary school, we wanted to graduate with the best grades and maybe we did. Do we call ourselves successful today? No. Because now we want to be a gold medalist at university. Let’s assume we are one. Are we content? No, and we will never be because there is no end to it. We are not content because we live life to work very hard and reach milestones. In this process, we lose ourselves, our passions and we lose the precious moments of life. We missed that small tea party when our brother got his first job, because we were writing a paper and wanted to excel in it. We ordered from outside on weekends rather than cooking for our family because we wanted to catch up sleep. But now let’s stand aside and look back at it. What importance does a paper have in our life now? Does it even mean anything? But what we missed a lot are the family dinners, a walk in the park, a shopping spree with mom and even a little fight with our sister.

Live life in a way that when you look back at the age of 60, you have memories to cherish; you have a reason to smile. I am not saying don’t work hard or don’t dream. Dream, but don’t forget to live. Work, but don’t get attached to it. Look forward to your future but don’t chase it.

“How strange and foolish is man. He loses his health in gaining wealth. Then to regain health he wastes his wealth. He ruins his present while worrying about his future – but weeps in the future by recalling his past. He lives as though death shall never come to him – but dies in a way as if he were never born.” –Ali Ibn Abi Talib



By Amna Siddiqui

B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering Student, Khalifa University


Rate post


  1. Dr Anthony Archdeacon Reply to Dr

    Wise words! I was discussing a similar topic, the pursuit of happiness, last week with my students, and many of your comments echo the themes of our discussion,

Leave a Reply