Success: Extended Definition

Topics: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Meaning of life, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Pages: 2 (800 words) Published: October 8, 1999

What is success? Is it the process of doing a task and receiving a positive result acceptable amongst the community, or is it simply achieving ones own personal goals? Success to me can mean many things. Although I am successful in school, that does not necessarily mean I will lead a successful life.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary success is, "the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted." Even over the course of history, the meaning of the word has not really changed. In the Webster's Dictionary from 1828, success was stated as, "the favorable or prosperous termination of anything attempted; a termination which answers the purpose intended; properly in a good sense, but often in a bad sense."

The word success itself has an interesting background. First used in 1537, the word was derived from Latin. Succeed entered English in the 15th century from Old French succeder, which itself came from Latin succedere. That word is a compound verb formed from sub- "under" in the sense of "next under" or "after," and cedere "go." The meaning of "getting near to something" changed in Latin to "doing well, prospering," hence the meaning behind success.

Success to me is setting personal goals, and following through with them. Whether you achieve your desired result or not, you have succeeded just by trying. "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; who's face is marred by dust, sweat, and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls...
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