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What’s the meaning of success?

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‘Success’ is tying the knot, driving a car worth £34,000 or earning £50,000 a year, a study revealed yesterday.

Researchers found Brits consider they have ‘made it’ once they have had kids, earn more than their parents did or have a house valued at £250,000.

They may also enjoy jetting off on a week’s summer holiday, have £5,000 tucked away in savings or have paid off two thirds of their mortgage.

But one in six admitted they will struggle to be successful in their own eyes, highlighting a lack of motivation and encouragement with seven in ten admitting they haven’t pushed themselves enough to reach their full potential.

The research was carried out by the charity Sea Cadets which supports young people into adulthood, to mark their 155th birthday this Saturday (June 25th) and quizzed 2,000 Brits on what they class as success and personal best to show how being a Sea Cadet can boost your potential.

Yesterday Martin J Coles, CEO for the Charity said ‘’We found that for those who revel in success two thirds put it down to sheer hard-work, six in ten said self-confidence and half said it was because they were sincere. Other attributes that helped were a good sense of humour, being focused and a decent team player. These are absolutely the sorts of life skills that young people gain from their time in the Sea Cadets.

‘’We wanted to highlight that achievement is about a connection with your community and a sense of pride in whatever it is you do, the courage to believe in yourself and not measure your worth by the cost of the things you own.

‘’While emphasis is placed on what car you drive, how many holidays you go on or how much debt you’re in, it’s encouraging to see a lot of people define success by feeling happy and confident, both in their family life and chosen career.

‘’It shows there is more to life than being materialistic and getting the priorities right pays off if you’re after that crucial sense of fulfilment.

‘’This validates what we’ve been doing for 155 years; inspiring young people and building confidence through team work to gain life skills like independence and leadership, crucial for a successful launch pad into that first job, place at university and help them ‘make it’ in life.’’

The representative study looked at what Brits deem as success and whether they are content with what they have achieved.

It found once they’ve made their way in life, they will go on three holidays abroad a year, four weekend breaks and earn £11,400 more than their friends.

But half of adults polled were less demanding, being content in life if they were simply happy, lived in a ‘nice house’ and enjoyed having few family arguments.

Another four in ten considered themselves to be successful when they ‘weren’t stressed’ and a third would be happy if they didn’t live in their overdraft.

The study found 63 per cent are content with what they have achieved, but seven in ten admitted they haven’t pushed themselves hard enough in order to reach their full potential.

Three in ten said they were ‘happy with how they are’, a quarter feel like they’re stuck in a rut and the same number said they lacked motivation.

One in ten blame the fact they have had no encouragement, a quarter said they aren’t a risk-taker and 11 per cent ‘wouldn’t know how to go about it’.

More than a third (35 per cent) said they will give up trying to make it in life if they haven’t done so by the time they reach the big 5 0.

The study found 38 per cent considered themselves as a ‘success in life’, while 47 per cent said they hadn’t achieved success yet.

The majority (47 per cent) said they were more successful in their family life than any other area such as work, social or active.

When it came to how Brits define success, 5 out of 6 said they judged it on what they have achieved rather than what they own (16%).

Another four in ten admitted to judging others on their level of success and the average Brit would also like to have made it by the time they reach 33.

Coles added: ‘’It’s good to know Sea Cadets is as relevant today as we were more than a century and a half ago, with seven in ten of the pollsters admitting they haven’t pushed themselves hard enough to reach their full potential, we know we can help young people, especially in these difficult and changing economic times. Sea Cadets is about giving young people the life skills of commitment, discipline, courage and self-confidence to make the best of themselves and their future.’’


Are happy

Live in a nice house

Have a happy family life

Are healthy

Have no financial worries

Have very little or no debt

Have achieved a good work life balance

Have kids

Are married

Aren’t stressed

Have paid off their mortgage

Don’t live in their overdraft

Have made it in their chosen career

Drive a decent car

Can afford more than one holiday abroad a year

Are asked for their opinion and people listen

Earn more than the average wage

Have gained a degree

Can afford weekend breaks

Are able to go on a shopping spree without worrying about money

Can be proud of their kids’ exam results

Can send your child to university

Earn more than their parents did

Eat out regularly

Have their own business

Can pay for the kids to go to university

Your children have well-paid jobs

Can cook a range of meals successfully and without opening a recipe book

Have won an award

Get home from work when you want to

You’re in charge of other employees

Have completed an expedition or sporting event

Have a big garden

Can pay for the kids to go to a good private school

Earn more than other family members or friends

Take up a public position, e.g. councillor, magistrate, school governor

Are a member of a club

While emphasis is placed on what car you drive, how many holidays you go on or how much debt you’re in, it’s encouraging to see a lot of people define success by feeling happy and confident, both in their family life and chosen career

Martin J Coles, CEO

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