Question: What is your definition of success?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 September, 2008, 12:00am

Kate Allen, 16, West Island School

Success means achieving more than you thought you were capable of, exceeding your own expectations. Michael Phelps is unquestionably a success but if he is half the man we all think he is, he wouldn't rate himself any more successful than a swimmer in the Paralympics. Money is not a means of measuring success. Are our underpaid teachers less successful than lawyers? I don't think so.

Rachel Haslam, 17, German Swiss International School

My definition of success is when I achieve something above my expectations. Whether it is scoring a try in a rugby game, or getting an A in an exam, anything that exceeds my expectations means success to me. Ideally, success means having a good life in the future and being happy. However, I'd love to get into the university of my choice, which is my ultimate dream of success at this point in time.

Yoon Hur, 17, German Swiss International School

Success is often associated with straight As and trophies. But the definition of success varies with every individual, because it can come in so many degrees and forms. I usually classify something as a success when I overcome a long-term challenge - recent examples include overcoming my shyness to speak up in class, and doing well enough in my exams to avoid having to re-sit a subject I really struggled with last year. I'm also a terrible procrastinator, so I consider it a success when I actually finish my work and get to bed before 12 on school nights!

Benson Chan, 17, Wah Yan College, Kowloon

When I was a kid, I noticed my schoolmates who were top of the class wore glasses. I figured if I wore glasses, I would become really successful. One day I tried on a pair and realised they just made me dizzy. Glasses weren't enough for success. That's when I noticed people who wore suits were really successful. But one day I had a chance to wear one to my cousin's wedding, and realised it only made me feel uncomfortable. Finally, I realised success has nothing to do with what you look like or what you have. Success is a kind of attitude.

Marie Neirynck, 16, German Swiss International School

It is clear success has different definitions for everyone. For me, success means feeling satisfied with your achievements, whatever they may be.

Others may argue that it is defined by material possessions or money, but then again, money is no guarantee of happiness.

Music artists may be successful selling millions of records and earning lots of money, but sometimes they end up with many problems.

Vincent Wong, 17, Wah Yan College, Kowloon

My definition of success is simple. Success is a quantitative index showing how much of your rational goals are accomplished. We would regard a lawyer who failed in his bid to eradicate an injustice in the law unsuccessful, but his act of upholding justice may have already gained public attention and promoted the concept of justice. By definition, success is ineffectual in judging a person. I think it doesn't matter how successful you are because it's what you've done that counts.