A recent sample of headlines containing the words “successful people” betrays the business world’s fixation on the attributes of this rarely defined group. Entrepreneur promises to reveal “12 things successful people never reveal about themselves at work”. Forbes highlights “how successful people handle stress”. Business Insider tells us “9 things successful people do on Sunday nights”, only a week after telling us 16 things they do on Monday mornings.
Missing from all of these articles is an idea of who these “successful people” are. Indeed, the nature of success itself is difficult to pin down – perhaps because it’s talked of so often as an aspirational concept, rather than as consistent with the smaller triumphs and individual victories we all experience.
In conjunction with the ongoing activity on this site, a recent survey conducted by the University of Birmingham aims to gather opinions on and document ideas about the nature of success today. We’ve asked the general public in the UK and US a range of questions, including how they personally measure success, what the common factors are for long-term individual success and, of course, what the role of education is in achieving success.
Recommended read: How education influences professional success
To help communicate our findings, we are working on an infographic visualising some of the response data, but as a taster of what’s to come, we wanted to share with you a small sample of these:
- The majority of respondents believe that online education is already an effective tool in the pursuit of professional success
- The average person rates education highly in their list of factors for success
- American respondents were more likely than their British counterparts to say that the meaning of success has changed in the last thirty years
- 13% of those who responded ranked happiness as the least important of our measures of success
The University of Birmingham offers a range of online degrees. If you are interested in returning to study via distance learning, please fill out our request for information form or contact a member of the Admissions Team.