UCLA, Innovation Specialist, Writer and Entertainment Consultant, CA

To me, being successful means...
Freedom to realize potential, realize potential, follow the desires of your hear.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Earlier in life it was attached to monetary / professional wins.

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A winding path from STEM to the arts

To me, being successful means...
spending my time bringing joy, health, reflection, and peace to myself and those around me.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to think being successful meant becoming the top of whatever field I chose, and it wasn’t enough unless I became famous and rich. And I only ever thought about it in a career-context, not about love, family, community or anything else.

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Today is the day that God has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

To me, being successful means...
Living and loving on my own terms, within my means in the company of beloved family and friends.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
My worth as a human being is no longer defined by my work, my employer, my income, my college "pedigree," or even having grown up in Palo Alto.

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UC Davis, Attorney, California and China

To me, being successful means...
Being happy with myself and achieving the goals that I have set out for me.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
The realization that personal success and happiness comes through reflection and being exposed to different things in life in order to identify what is truly important.

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Grateful for childhood in Palo Alto; ready to move on

To me, being successful means...
doing things you love.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
As I reached high school and older, I realized that success, to me, was more about being happy and productive than about wealth or fame.

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BoyzIIMen, U2, Mary J Blige, and Toad the Wet Sprocket

To me, being successful means...
accepting myself as an imperfect being, feeling strong and energized in my body, and cultivating healthy, mutually respectful relationships.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
It used to be more about quantity, like number of friends, amount paid, amount of influence, how well known I am. Now it's become more about the quality of my work and relationships -- noticing what nourishes me and what drains me, and making decisions about my life accordingly.

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Left for six months and never came back

To me, being successful means...
Being able to take pride in what you've made of your life.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Although the core of my own idea of success hasn't changed, it has been a difficult and continuing struggle to keep my sense of accomplishment separate from parental expectations. You'd think at 40 it would be easier to look your parents in the eye and not be sorry for having chosen a path that doesn't involve marrying a person wealthy by inheritance or profession in order to secure a pampered and indolent life for oneself and one's offspring, but...in my experience, parents don't change. I had to build yourself the protective space I needed to keep myself from wishing I had never been born. 

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A Writer, obsessed with truth, resisting retirement

To me, being successful means...
To achieve what I set out to achieve, while making enough money to not have to worry, and being able to help others who have not been so fortunate.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
In my youth, I assumed money would automatically accompany good work. It does not. It must be consciously pursued.

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No Matter What, Don't Give Up

To me, being successful means...
Being able to look in the mirror and be happy with the person looking back. It helps to have a secure home and loving family, too. But those are rarely present or quickly flee without the mirror test, so that comes first. Can you be happy looking in the mirror?

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I learned that despite popular wisdom success is a group sport. I can't stand people who claim or imply that they "did it all on my own." The more I have scratched the surface of those stories over the years the more I find they are either delusions or outright lies. I recall one person I met years ago telling me how he had created a huge real estate empire entirely on his own, how "no one gave me a thing!" -- starting out with nothing, he insisted. I later learned he had inherited five SF properties from his dad. But he could not admit that. He just had to lie and claim to be a self-made man. What I have learned is that there is no such thing. There are just people who don't or won't recognize the people or situations that helped them.

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I love oak trees in the hills

To me, being successful means...
Loving life and being able to encourage and provide for others.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
It is less of a material target and more of an attitude or state of being.

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Living Life, Having Fun, and Finding Balance

To me, being successful means...
Being balanced.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
It used to be more about money and material things, now it is about being happy.

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TV Editor, Los Angeles, CA

To me, being successful means...
Being true to yourself. Following your dreams. Finding what makes you happy. Being comfortable with your place in life.

My definition of success has not changed over time. 
Not really. I always wanted to make my way. I never really bought into all of society's ideas of who or what I should be.

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From Close to Open Minded

To me, being successful means...
Doing what you love and making a difference in the world.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
When I first entered high school, I visualized success as a formula: You had to receive excellent grades on your transcript, participate in a plethora of extracurricular activities that proved to be meaningless over time, be athletic and play sports, be involved with music and instruments, and still maintain a healthy social and family life. It was basically to do the impossible, and I realized that being able to juggle all of these different activities is unhealthy and negatively impacts a lot of people around you. Biting off more than you can chew does not make you look cool or capable, it just makes you look stupid. I learned to cut back unnecessary commitments and activities, and to indulge in the ones that I loved rather than the ones that I felt obligated to do.

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Here's a toast for the dropouts

To me, being successful means...
I feel nothing but contempt and frustration toward the use of words like "success" and "failure" being introduced to adolescents. I've always had a huge problem with the idea that from a very young age, I'm supposed to measure my self-worth by my ability to "get stuff done", whether that means fulfilling my own goals or those of someone else. And while this frustration emerged mostly out of a youthful nihilism that I'm beginning to think is endemic to Palo Alto kids, it became even more emboldened as the years went on and I realized a vast amount of my time in the Palo Alto School District was spent disciplining my body and mind rather than liberating my spirit.
People will tell you that there are things you "need" to do to survive in this world, that you have to play the game because you don't want to end up like "them". Don't listen. Your youth is precious. Don't waste it worrying about someone else's idea of "success".

My definition of success has changed not over time. 

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Flexibility is the best tool for an unpredictable future.

To me, being successful means...
Finding and surrounding myself with things that make me happy, and emotionally and creatively fulfilled.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to think that being successful meant going to a good college, graduating and getting a good job that made a lot of money. I had no idea that there was so much more to life than to strive for. I got into a good college, graduated, worked my way into a good job, then realized I was extremely unhappy. I hadn't taken into account that there was more to life than just having a job. My physical health and mental well-being were suffering. And once I had my first child and found that I only had about 1.5 - 2 hours with him per day, I realized on all that I was missing out on. It was clear case of "money can't buy happiness," and that's when I made a change.

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