Do you consider yourself to be successful?
If you have a college degree, a supportive family, and a strong network, you’re more likely to say “yes.”
That’s according to a new report from Strayer University.
The school recently released findings from its national “Success Project Survey,” a new initiative aimed at breaking down perceived barriers that can keep individuals from succeeding in their personal and professional lives.
The survey, which was conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Strayer, asked 2,011 Americans ages 18 and up a dozen questions about success.
It found that approximately 78% of Americans consider themselves to be at least somewhat successful.
Here’s what you need to know about these people:
1. Americans with a college degree are more likely than those without one to consider themselves a successful person (83% vs. 74%).
“This finding reiterates the importance of higher education,” says Dr. Michael Plater, president of Strayer University. “Simply put: Education matters — including for the intangible benefits it can provide. Having a college degree helps graduates advance professionally and personally, whether that is through providing them with the subject matter expertise and confidence to pursue a promotion, a new job, or start their own business.”
2. More than half of those who consider themselves to be successful report accomplishing most of their life’s goals.
Self-described successful Americans say success is more about “attaining personal goals” than anything else, the report finds. So it’s no wonder why those who consider themselves to be successful are those who have accomplished most of their biggest life goals.
3. They attribute much of their success to having good relationships with family and friends.
“Those who are successful often attribute their personal success to the people close to them,” Plater says. “Goals are not easily accomplished alone. More often than not, people achieve success through a strong support network of various types of individuals. These may include everyone from professional mentors and colleagues to the child care professionals who watch working parents’ children when they have to stay late at work.”
4. And most of them say that having a strong, supportive family network and good friends is more indicative of success than ambition.
Not only do they attribute much of their success to their strong network — but they say it plays a bigger part in achieving success than ambition does.
5. They tend to have a strong work ethic.
“We found that in general, a strong work ethic is the common thread when it comes to success, with seven in 10 Americans indicating that to be the case and 75% of self-described successful people believing the same,” Plater notes. “This shows the incredible belief that individuals have in accomplishing their goals and making their dreams come true through the power of their own grit and commitment.”
6. Americans with household incomes of $US50,000 or more are more likely than less affluent people to consider themselves successful.
There’s clearly a connection between money and success. However, it’s important to note that a whopping 90% of the survey respondents say success is more about happiness and achieving personal goals than power, possessions, or prestige.
“Success has taken on new significance as people move away from past association with monetary or power gains,” says Plater. “Success is less about status and more about what makes you happy. Owning your personalised definition of success allows you to focus on your personal goals and well-being, rather than trying to live up to a preconceived definition that society has formed.”
There are likely many reasons for the change, he says, “ranging from the economy’s slower than expected recovery and advancements in technology to a more holistic view of life.”
Americans have shifted focus to more meaningful work, their family, and what makes them happy, he explains. “The sole focus of rising to power or accumulating massive amounts of wealth no longer drives the wants and needs, nor feeling of having achieved a successful and satisfying life, of the average American.”
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