#1460 Aristotle on Success

We MUST Realize Our Aims

In our last +1, we talked about the NINE things successful people do differently.

As you may recall, leading motivational psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson told us that highly successful people set very specific goals, seize the moment to act on their goals, know exactly how far they have to go to hit their targets, are realistic optimists, focus on getting better rather than being good, have grit, build their willpower muscles, don’t tempt fate, and focus on what they WILL do rather than what they won’t do.

Check out the blog post for more.

Today I want to talk about the fact that being “SUCCESSFUL” isn’t just a modern idea supported by pom pom-waving self-help gurus and/or leading scientists.

It’s an ANCIENT idea.

Let’s invite Aristotle to the party to help us understand more about his ideas on what it means to be a success.


Let’s invite Jonathan Barnes, the editor of Aristotle’s classic The Nicomachean Ethics to join us.

Quick context…

As you may recall, Aristotle tells us that the ultimate purpose of life, the HIGHEST GOOD (or summum bonum!) is to experience eudaimonia.

The person who can achieve that was called a eudaimōn.


Barnes tells us: “To call a person a eudaimōn is to say something about how he lives and what he does. The notion of eudaimonia is closely tied, in a way in which the notion of happiness is not, to success: the eudaimōn is someone who makes a success of his life and actions, who realizes his aims and ambitions as a man, who fulfills himself.”

Then Barnes tells us: “It will not do to replace ‘happiness’ by ‘success’ or ‘fulfilment’ as a translation of eudaimonia; the matter is too complicated for any such simple remedy, and in what follows I shall continue to employ the word ‘happiness’, guarding it with a pair of inverted commas. But it is worth considering Aristotle’s recipe for eudaimonia with the notion of success in mind. The Ethics, we are thus supposing, is not telling us how to be morally good men, or even how to be humanly happy: it is telling us how to live successful human lives, how to fulfill ourselves as men.”

That’s Today’s +1.

To be a eudaimōn, we MUST learn how to not only move from Theory to Practice to Mastery by living in integrity with our Heroic Identities as we put our Virtues in action.

We must also make a SUCCESS of our lives and realize our aims and ambitions as individuals.

THAT is the only way that we will fulfill our individual potentials while making a difference in our communities AND become worthy exemplars that inspire others to play the ultimate game as well as they can so we can change the world together.

Here’s to your success, dear Hero.

Embrace the pain and uncertainty and hard work of fulfilling your destiny.


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