I’m not necessarily talking about financial success. What is the defining factor that separates success from failure, in a marriage, a business, an idea, a friendship, etc?

Archived Comments

  • http://stephenbateman.com/connect Anonymous

    Haha it’s funny you would ask that, I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” since yesterday. He makes the case (quite convincingly, IMHO) that success, above a threshold, is a function of environment and practice.

  • http://twitter.com/waqas6 Waqas Ali

    When you get best for everyone, not just about you.

  • http://radsmarts.com Robin Dickinson

    Presence! Fully inhabiting the present moment with 100% of resources – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.


  • / Scott Gould


    I’ve read that book too, last year sometime. I do agree with Malcolm’s points – but let’s go deeper – what does environment and practice forge within us?


  • / Scott Gould

    That’s more of a definition of success than a the defining factor of success, no?

  • / Scott Gould


    I like that. I’m not sure how I’d answer this question (hence I asked it), and I think you’ve got a very good answer there.

    I can certainly say that where I’ve had failure it was a case of not being present. Perhaps at the time I thought I was, but upon reflection I’ve always been able to then look back and see that I wasn’t fully present because I was too busy to see the major issues.

    Again, we back to the problem with business and the need for time.

    What I need to get time is to better delegate…


  • http://ivanhernandezonline.wordpress.com/ Ivan Hernandez

    I think the key word that marks the difference between success and failure is: NEGLECT.

    Failure most of the time comes from:

    Neglecting to do what you know you CAN do
    Neglecting to do what you know you SHOULD do

    – You know you should make ten phone calls … and you neglect to do it and you only make three.
    – You know you should focus on that important project … and you neglect to do it and spend hours playing Farmville.
    – You know you should invest more time with your spouse … and you neglect to do it and spend endless hours at the office.
    – You know you should exercise at least three times a week … and you neglect to do it and then wonder how come you are overweight and with high cholesterol.
    – You know you should eat more fresh vegetables … and you neglect to do it and eat regularly pizza, pasta and hamburgers.

    In all these examples you CAN do something a bout it and you know you SHOULD do something about it … you just neglect to do it. And as the result you achieve failure.

    So if you want to succeed, the best way to start is by simply taking action and doing what you have neglected to do.

  • / Scott Gould


    Very good – so if neglect makes people fail, then what is the positive word for what success is? Or are you just saying that Success comes by neglecting to do what we know we shouldn’t?


  • http://www.facebook.com/krusi.karlsson Markus Karlsson

    Definition of Success:

    If it’s not fun (or at least a feeling of well-being), it’s not a success.

    It doesn’t matter how financially rewarding something is if you aren’t having fun; and conversely if you’re having fun it normally means that you have your financial side well covered.

    Fun is also highly spreadable. Of course how you go about having your fun is entirely up to you.

  • http://twitter.com/WDYWFT WDYWFT

    I’ve been listening to Nirvana’s ‘The man who sold the world’ video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fregObNcHC8&feature=fvw
    His foster father said about Kurt Cobain: “[F]or Kurt, it didn’t matter that other people loved him; he simply didn’t love himself enough.”
    A German saying: Success follows when you follow yourself.

    I think there are two factors that define success; something along the lines of conscientiousness and something along the lines of staying true to your values.

  • / Scott Gould

    Ok – so that’s a definition – what is the defining factor of this success?

    How do I make it?


  • / Scott Gould

    So what would you say is the defining factor of success, as in, what makes people successful?

    Thanks for the quote BTW – a very good one!

  • http://stephenbateman.com/connect Anonymous

    sorry for the slow response, but:

    a good environment sets the standard for excellence, and practice trains our brain to actually be able to be successful.

    From another perspective, Jim Collins talks about the Hedgehog concept, where you find the activities that 1. you can be the best in the world at, 2. you are passionate about, 3. that drive your economic engine.

    I think that we can agree that being excellent at something you are passionate about is a powerful combination. When that “something” also pays well…recipe for success.

  • http://twitter.com/WDYWFT WDYWFT

    An unshakable value system and ability to follow-up.If I had to teach a kid how to be successful, I would concentrate on these two.’Stick to what you stand for and finish what you started.’
    – Success can be learned. :)

  • / Scott Gould

    Very good. Finish what you start is certainly a lesson that many have forgotten today.

    Appreciate your insights here. BTW what is your name?


  • / Scott Gould

    Hey Stephen

    I would say that “excellence” is a dangerous thing when it becomes a goal in and of itself.

    Excellence does not equal greatness….


  • http://gearboxmagazine.com Brian Driggs

    The defining factor for success is empowerment.

    Empower others. Help them to realize their fullest potential, even if only in a single area of their lives. Empower the people on your team to make educated decisions which empower others and you will soon find yourself ten feet tall and bullet-proof.

  • http://twitter.com/WDYWFT WDYWFT

    Oh, Anna Smith – thanks for asking!

  • / Scott Gould

    Brian, I like that a lot. Empowerment and exposure to new things and to make good decisions.

    I’ve written about this here: /5-steps-for-making-quality-decisions/

  • / Scott Gould

    Welcome, Anna :-)

  • http://gearboxmagazine.com Brian Driggs

    Good points in the previous post, Scott. Content, clarity, conviction, quality decision, and action certainly make sense. Reminds me of AIDA (attention, interest, decision, action), but that’s an old sales bit.

    Starting with an idea (content), gaining exposure to the variables fosters clarity – a better understanding of the problem you seek to solve, which moves you to act with conviction – you believe in the solution, so you make quality decisions to affect the change you wish to see, resulting in action (hopefully not only on your part).


  • / Scott Gould

    Thanks Brian. This is the process that has worked for me over many years!

  • http://ivanhernandezonline.wordpress.com/ Ivan Hernandez

    Hi Scott, first of all sorry for taking a while to respond. I have been in “execution mode” for the past few days so I’ve been away for a bit.

    I think that my idea represents a good starting point. When you know that a particular action will bring you closer to success and you know you can do it, you know you should do it and still you do not do it … well, simply you will not move forward. So, I would suggest to analyze first what are the things that you have neglected to do that you know could have a great impact in your life. That’s step one.

    Step two: Take action! … now!

    Step three: … well I think among other things the combination of all the great insights that you can see in the comments here will push you towards success. I mean, I do not think there is one defining factor. However I believe there are several Critical Factors (factors that if you do not have you will not accomplish success). Here you have the first ones that come to my mind:

    – Resilience
    – Commitment
    – Self-Discipline
    – Confidence
    – Decision Making
    – Passion

    Without any of them … well it’s hard to accomplish success.

  • / Scott Gould

    Ivan this is good stuff.

    I will need to think more on it – will get back to you when I have!