What does it take to succeed? How many of us are truly successful? Most important, how does one define success?
Probably the answer to that last question depends on the individual. Success means many different things to different individuals.
Merriam-Webster defines success as "to attain a desired object or end" (http://i.word.com/idictionary/succeed). The answer then is very simply, did you achieve what you wanted?
The next question is how often do people succeed? This an elusive question in general; it is first important to define the venue. Most people would probably think in terms if business. After all, business success typically allows for a desirable standard of living.
Some predictors of success in business--ie, starting a business--are previous successes and having the right product for the right industry (http://m.entrepreneur.com/article/217843).
What makes businesses succeed? Some of the reasons are intuitive: lack of planning, poor management, bad location, nit enough expertise.
Reasons for success in business is also intuitive: a passion for the product or service, love of fellow person, having drive and determination, and an ability to learn from mistakes (http://m.businessknowhow.com/startup/business-failure.htm).
These last set of qualities are important because they are applicable to just about any endeavor one undertakes. These can be applied to excelling in academia, an exercise/weight control regimen, or a hobby or avocation.
As one might imagine, when one thinks of success, the first thoughts that come to mind are work and school. A search for predictors of success on google.com brings up those topics first, followed by another important.topic, illnesses (http://www.google.com/search?q=Predictors+of+success&oq=Predictors+of+su...).
Certainly in striving for success, these qualities do matter. One needs a vision and the fortitude to work towards that goal no matter what. Perhaps one of the biggest predictors is one's ability to persevere during adversity, to keep striving and working even though failure speed imminent.
Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, states that self-esteem is a.key factor in determining success (http://www.briantracy.com/blog/general/your-self-esteem-determines-your-...). How much you like yourself is involved in your level of success.
He also brings up the issue of self-efficacy, how effective you believe you are. And the two are connected. When you fel god about yourself, you accomplish more. When you accomplish more, you fel good about yourself.
Mr. Tracy also talks about ways to build self-esteem. Having a set of values, stiving to control your environment, and knowing what you want and being resolute in achieving them will help buld success.
Here's to your success in whatever venture you undertake.