SUCCESS is difficult to define. It is personal and each person attains success in his own way.

Dr David Bellamy, the great environmentalist, defined success as being able to do what you set out to do. Former British prime minister Tony Blair believes that “success incorporates more than just your own individual achievement...it has to be about contributing to society or to the world around you”.

To Richard Branson, the flamboyant entrepreneur, “success is achieving what one sets out to achieve”.

And Mr S. R Nathan, the President of Singapore, said that “your success will be measured by your contributions to society, and by a selfless motivation to add value to the lives of the people around you”.

People want to succeed at whatever they are doing, be it in their personal or public life. How do they do this? Are there any guidelines, factors or criteria that they should adopt to help them achieve success?

Many political or business leaders, writers and other successful people, have offered suggestions for success.

For example, former South African leader F. W. De Klerk maintains that success centres on the five Cs: core values, commitment, competition, communication and cooperation.

There is no single formula for achievement. However, it may be said that achievers have certain personal characteristics and personal needs that influence the way they work and live.

Those characteristics also influence the way these achievers pursue their goals and respond to opportunities and challenges. Many successful people have qualities that changed their lives from ordinary to extraordinary.

You can also develop these qualities and characteristics. After all, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little “extra”.

Success attributes

Everyone has the potential to succeed. If you review the lives of some of the best achievers in the world, you will notice some common patterns.

Many of these people are very aware of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. They know their strengths and weaknesses and are confident people who have no fear.

They know how to handle change and anxiety in their lives and additionally, they focus their attention and work in support of others.

Generally, these people are passionate about their vision and mission. They are also consistent in their mission and goals and are usually charismatic.

Excellent examples include Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and United States president Barack Obama.

President Obama continues to inspire and motivate people around the world to achieve greater heights. He exemplifies perseverance, persistence and passion, traits that are most desirable for success.

Many people are drawn to him because of his cheerful and happy personality and his brilliant smile. Happiness is the foundation for success and everyone can learn how to be happy.

The “Yes, We Can” slogan adopted by Mr Obama during his presidential campaign is a significant and meaningful one.

You can adopt this in the way you think, in your actions and behaviour. A “Yes, I Can” attitude will help you to achieve success in all that you do.

A positive mental attitude is essential to the realisation of success. You must believe in yourself and in your future. Only then will you use your abilities and experience to the maximum.

To experience success in what you do, you must also have the desire to succeed. Commitment to your goals and plans and persistence at realising them will help you to overcome the challenges and cope with any setbacks.

There are many people throughout history who have proved this to be true.

Thomas Edison, who failed many times before perfecting the light bulb, and Nelson Mandela, whose commitment to his goal to free South Africa of apartheid led him to achieve it, are just two such persons.

There are many other factors, criteria and attributes to cultivate, nurture and develop if you wish to achieve success in what you do. Key among them are enthusiasm, drive and passion.