Definition of success

In Western society it can sometimes feel like people equate success with working in a prestigious job or earning a lot of money. However, when we asked the people on this website what success meant to them, their answers were quite different.

In the first video, people share what success means to them in terms of work or career. Personal definitions of success, meanwhile, are the focus of the second video.

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You have to be at a point where you love what you’re doing because I think that’s so rare, to truly love what you’re doing. That’s something that I found. To truly love what you’re doing because that’s all you really want to be doing, eventually. And once you do get to that point, like I said, you need to employ all these principles to eventually get to the place where you love what you’re doing. You do have to go through sectors, you do have to go through people, the heartbreak and the failure, the hours and the effort, time, effort, and money to get to where you are. I think success would be doing what you love.


I suppose I am always looking creatively. My mind is always going. I’m always looking to do more. I think about whether I should do a PhD. That is on my mind at the moment. I haven’t been in academia since…I mean, I just did my Honours, so I haven’t really been in academia really. So that feels a bit daunting, but I was always told that if something feels scary, then you’re on the right path.

But at the same time, I also just applied for a grant to write a play, to turn my book into a play. I’ve never written a play before. So part of me thinks I’m an idiot for even applying for it. If I got the grant, what would I do? I suddenly am forced to write a play and I’ve never written a play before in my life. But again, that’s another thing where it’s like, it feels a little bit scary. I’ll deal with it at the time. If I get the grant, then I’ll just try and produce something out of nothing. So always thinking what is next? I think I’d be really disappointed in myself if I will always just happy with this and that’s it, that’s my life. I just don’t think I’ve been brought up that way. I’m always thinking of the next challenge. What else can I do? How else can I use writing? I’m always thinking of what should I do next?


I think you can achieve all these good things, be a doctor, be a lawyer, be a millionaire with a successful business, but if you’re not a good person, and you don’t have good values and you don’t treat people well, I wouldn’t call that successful. I think having good values. You might achieve all these great things, but if you don’t treat people with kindness and respect, then I don’t call that success.

Some of the doctors I look up to now, here in Canberra, they are some of the kindest people that you’ll meet. Sometimes in medicine there’s a hierarchy and you’ve probably heard a lot about it with bullying and things within the medical community, between the senior doctors and junior doctors. But, some of my senior doctors that I really look up to, they just treat people really well. They’re so successful in their jobs and careers, but they still know how to treat people with respect. And to me that’s successful, that’s what I aspire to be. I can be successful in my job, but also successful in being a kind person and a good person.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved, but being a good person is the main thing I think.


To me, success isn’t really shown in materialistic things like the things that you… For example, when you see social media influencers receiving things from brands and stuff, a lot of us makeup artists, we see that as success and [it] causes so much envy within our community. It’s become quite toxic recently. A lot of people are getting really… Envy is just becoming really a big issue within all communities, but specifically in the makeup community, because it is a big competition to kind of get those brands to notice you and also send stuff to you. (01:25:02)

So, I don’t kind of rate that as success because if I’m being quite frank, a lot of these artists that are getting sent these products, I would make more money than them if I’m being quite honest, because my success is based off of my return clients and my clients that trust me and love me and they come to me regularly. They recommend me to everyone. So I don’t base it on that at all, I just base success on being really, really kind of true to your brand, being really happy and being really passionate and just being really motivated to kind of just, I suppose grow your own personal business. The success that I’ve had in the last few years is just basically, making new friends within my makeup community. And also with all my clients, my clients all become friends now. It’s quite interesting becoming friends with all my clients.  

They message me all the time, and you don’t get that in any other industry really. When you have a client in other industries, they’re just your client, but a lot of them become really invested in your business and in your brand and in your personal life. I always get sent presents on my birthday from clients. So to me, that’s success is building bonds with everybody and your clients and just being happy and passionate about what you do.


Success to me is reaching your goals, kind of deal. You set up a goal for yourself, and eventually when you get there, you’re successful. In my mind, “Oh, personally, I want to go work at [company name] or I want to go work at [company name].” That would be success to me. I’ve reached my goal. For some people it might be something as small as, maybe, “I want to finish year 12. I want very good grades, I want an 80 on my ATAR,” things like that. Success, to me, it’s value that you put on something yourself. You want to reach something, and you reach it? That’s success. You find the success for yourself, kind of deal.


Success for me looks like I don’t have to check my balance in my eftpos bank account, and that’s really an honest answer for me personally, because it’s been a struggle growing up. Financial stability is so important, and that’s what success looks like for me.


I think success when I was younger, it looked like one thing and now it looks really different to me. Success when I was younger looked like getting that law degree and practicing as a lawyer. That was a big one. And look, I’m glad I was successful in that context, because I think when I reflect on it now it was actually just about proving to myself I could do it, not about being a successful lawyer. Like earning a lot of money, becoming a judge or any of those things, I don’t think I ever envisaged that for me, I actually just wanted to get it done and prove to myself that I could do it.

That I think was one thing. Money’s never been a big part of me picturing success and I don’t know whether that’s a Pasifika thing. I’ve never seen owning a big home or going, paying for a private school. Those things weren’t pillars of success for me. I want to always be able to be in a job that gives me some security where I can take care of my family and go visit the family in Fiji and have a happy life. I think success, I reflect a lot more now on what success looks like in the home.

How I can care for my kids is a sign of success and their welfare and their wellbeing… I’m going to get a bit emotional now. That, to me is a big sign of… Because I think the other successes are about how hard I’ve worked to achieve something. This is really different. It’s tested my abilities in so many different ways. I don’t think I’ve ever come across something like parenting where in the past, if I worked hard enough, I could do it. Parenting was different. I wasn’t naturally good at it.

It’s not a matter of reading all the right books to get better at it, it was one of those things where I had to stop and slow down and sort of listen to the kids. That for me is a big sign of success. For me on a personal note, I think success for me is having a connection to my communities and being able to do something for my communities. For Pasifika, the diaspora here in Australia but also overseas. I want to see our people, our peoples, prosper and thrive and be a part of the communities that they live in and be proud of themselves. I think my success is wrapped up in that a little bit where I want to contribute to that success. And that for me, will feel like I’m getting something out of it, if that makes sense.


My definition of success is, I think, to be happy with life and just to live life to the fullest, and being content with what you’ve got. My parents, they didn’t have much, but they were happy. And even us kids, we didn’t have much as well. And I think my parents were struggling, but we didn’t notice it because we were happy. And yeah, so I think success is just being happy with life and being content with who you are. Yeah.


Success for me is … I don’t know why I’m getting emotional, I should not, but okay. I apologize for that. Well, success for me is being able to achieve what you want to achieve, not for the status, not for the money, and not for yourself. Oh, geez. Yeah, because I might not be as qualified as most of the people who are in Australia, but from my Pacific Island background, at the level that I am, when I help someone, for me that is success.

And every day is a learning curve. I mean, you might think you have a degree in something, I might go and end up being a master builder, who knows? God knows. But when I get there, it doesn’t end there because every day comes a different situation. It’s always changing and you always meet people along the way, and different types of people, and how you approach them it’s different. So for me, success is, yeah, I will summarize success is being able to achieve what you want to achieve, not for the money, and not for yourself, but to help others and yeah, and keep on learning. That is success because we learn every day.

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