Cal Poly, New York, Designer/Fabricator

To me, being successful means...
Being happy with what you do with your life

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Like every student in Palo Alto, being successful meant being at the top of your class, and eventually going on to be at the top of your field. However, being the best is, of course, remarkably subjective, and not objective at all. Most things aren’t measureable in numbers and statistics.

Read More

UCLA, Mechanical Engineer, Colorado

To me, being successful means...
looking at your past with acceptance and without regrets; looking at the present with contentment and thankfulness; looking at your future with hope, drive to grow, and excitement for what's to come.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Status quo matters less to me now - I am more in tune with what I want from my life, not what I think my peers would see and appreciate.

Read More

College sophomore at Northwestern seeking happiness after Palo Alto

To me, being successful means...
being happy. In high school, I was over-competitive, overstressed, overbooked. And, I felt god awful all of the time because I just felt like I had to be the best. Now that I'm in college, I just want to do things that I'm passionate about and that make me happy. But yet, in doing that, I feel like I'm accomplishing far more than I had in high school, even though in high school I was trying much harder.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Obviously, my self-worth is no longer defined by my GPA or my college acceptances. It's refreshing. 

Read More

Failed Engineer, but Hopeful Self-Starter

To me, being successful means...
Accomplishing the goals I set out for myself. These change over time, but they more or less always point to building a career in an industry I am interested in and enjoy (so that working won't feel like "work"), having emotionally satisfying and rewarding relationships, and consistently working to improve my life as well as the lives of those around me.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to believe success was numbers-based (grades, scores, salaries, etc). Numbers don't tell a story, though.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Pomona College, Medical Student, Massachusetts

To me, being successful means...
Being happy and as healthy as possible, both physically and mentally. Being conscious of all moments, good or bad, and making sure you're shaping them the way you want to to the best of your ability; not taking your life or your abilities for granted. Doing something that impacts other people positively, even if it's in a small way.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I admittedly used to be obsessed with academic success-- getting As, 100s, being seen as a "perfect" student.

Read More

Still Searching

To me, being successful means...
Working hard at something you care about, genuinely caring about others and having others genuinely care about you, staying humble and curious, and making my family proud.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to think that I would find a dream job and that I would find something that I was the BEST at. I had plans on being the next Mia Hamm, the next Hillary Clinton, or the next Tina Fey. But those people are so so rare and if we're being honest I'm not nearly talented enough in one aspect of my life to be the next revolutionary. I have passions, sure, but I also realize that if I were to become the next big revolutionary there would be a million different wonderful small achievements that would have to come first. Tina devoted her life to comedy, Hilary to politics and activism, and Mia to soccer. And they had a natural talent that they knew was their calling. I don't know mine. Maybe it will come later, but I'm ok waiting. Because there's something so refreshing knowing that I am the one that gets to decide what my calling(s) is/are. I'm only 22, and it's the coolest feeling to know that success is what I make of it. There's no wrong answer. My expectations of myself can often be the most rigorous, but I guess what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Read More

You are water; find where your downhill is.

To me, being successful means...
Living a life that you truly believe in. Feeling like you can justify your life decisions to yourself (and not worrying about justifying them to others).

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to define success relative to other people, or inferred it from what others told me (with and without words). In particular, I valued self-sufficiency, high achievement with low effort, physical perfection, and charisma/influence over others.

Read More

Botanist and dancer, motivated by experience and love

To me, being successful means...
continuing to grow as an empathetic human, focusing on self-care, and strengthening connections with those I love and with the world.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to just strive to be happy. Now I know that there are many different ways to be, and happy is just a small part of that story.

Read More

Caution: Advice from the ashes

To me, being successful means...
Doing something that brings you the knowledge and happiness you seek out of your life.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
Different difficult events in my life and also getting out of high school. Once I was exposed to a more diverse people and a life that's not scheduled into subjects I grew and changed as a person a lot faster than I expected.

Read More

Mediocre high school student finding success in college

To me, being successful means...
Being successful is something that is constantly changing to me. In high school, that math test was the biggest deal in my life. Then which college I went to seemed important. In college, a long term relationship that turned into a breakup seemed like the end of the world. Now, graduating from college, the job that I have seems to taken priority. That being said, being content in the present is something that to me signifies success. Nothing else really matters.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I think my concept of self confidence has improved after leaving Palo Alto. Having that confidence has allowed me to find success in more ways.

Read More

It gets better!

To me, being successful means...
- being completely satisfied with yourself
- gaining the respect and admiration of others

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I use to think success was comparison--how much MORE money would I have compared to my peers, what position would I be in my position at a corporate job, how quickly can I climb this ladder and become someone else's boss. Now, my definition of success is more focused on myself than others. The respect of other people is still important to me, but its weight is fading.

Read More

Go with the flow, but choose the right current

To me, being successful means...
I believe that success is defined as being happy with all aspects of your life. In order to do that, one must work hard to achieve that success. For me to be happy, I want to work at a job that I look forward to going to everyday and that pays well. That means I will need to get a college degree and make myself marketable. Success and happiness are intrinsically linked. I do not believe that you can be truly successful without being happy.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I always thought growing up that success was all about having a lot of money and living in a big house but that perception changed once I moved out of Palo Alto and went off to college. I also was grown up thinking in high school that if you don't go to an Ivy League school, you will be a failure in life. That perception really changed when I graduated from [high school name omitted].

Read More

Breaking Outside the Bubble

To me, being successful means...
Being happy and feeling accomplished

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I used to believe that to be successful was to have the best grades. Now its just feeling happy with yourself.

Read More

someday I'll leave and find a better life

To me, being successful means...
Being emotionally, financially stable.

My definition of success has changed over time. 
I really bought into the one track success story of being a great/student/athlete/whatever but events and life changed me, I dropped out of school then went back, I had to support my family etc. I found out that my goals changed and what's really important isn't how smart or great I looked/seemed.

Read More