If life is a treasure map, then success is that big, red X sitting over your destination. The important thing to remember is that everyone has a different life, and those X's are located in different places. Not only that, but that location can change over time.

So how do you get from where you are to that successful destination? Well, the first step is to decide just what success means to you.

How to Define Success

Defining success is like defining happiness; no one can just say "this is what it takes to be successful." For instance, you might decide that in order to be successful you need to make a certain amount of money. Alternatively you might need to own your own business, or at least to be your own boss. Success might mean control of your time. Maybe you feel that in order to be successful you have to accomplish a certain task, such as combating homelessness in your city or winning a certain award in your field.

The first step of defining success is to define what it is you want. Once you have definite goals then you have something to work toward and achieve.

It's All About The Victory Conditions

It's important to remember that success has a lot of different elements to it. While you might have "make $100,000 a year" at the top of the list, the idea of doing that by becoming a surgeon or working in an oil field may not appeal to you. So you need to know not just what the goal is, but what you want to do to achieve it, and how it will support the rest of your life. The clearer your victory conditions are, the simpler your path to success will be.

An amorphous "find a job that pays me well and leaves me satisfied" is going to be a lot harder to achieve than a definite, "open a restaurant, make $50,000 profit a year for myself, get married, have a family of four, and vacation in Florida two weeks a year in the winter."

The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to find the path to that X. That doesn't mean following the path will be easy, but knowing the roads to follow will be a bit simpler.

Please share this article on social media if you found it helpful. If you have a comment or question, please post and add your voice to the conversation.