russia has launched a full-scale war in Ukraine! Headway asks you to donate to the charity fund to protect Ukraine and the world’s peace.

Support Ukraine


Headway App


FREE - on the App Store


How to Build a Success Mindset and Achieve Your Ambitions

What is success? Can you maximize your potential with a success mindset? Learn about the rules of success and how to build a self-improvement mindset.


We all strive for success. But what is it? And how can it be achieved? The answers to these questions are complex but ultimately revolve around one thing: mindset. 

There are some steps you can take to adjust your attitude to help set you up for success in any area of your life. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of success and the mindset behind it and explain how you can build one of your own.

But for any person striving for growth in achieving a success mindset, the Headway app is a must. We have developed a bite-sized learning app that has turned some of the leading non-finctional books into 15-minute text and audio book summaries. Learn the world’s best lessons of success by downloading the Headway app today.

Key points

  • Success means different things to different people.

  • You can achieve many different types of success. 

  • Having the right mindset is one of the most important parts of achieving success.

What is success?

This is a pretty important question to address before going any further. The only problem is that it’s just as hard to answer. While we all understand its general meaning, the word ‘success’ can have many interpretations. Some people view it as social status, while others consider personal achievements and career moves to fit the definition better. In practically every case, there’s no way to measure it, making success an idealist vision that people endlessly chase after.

Let’s start with the dictionary’s definition: success is ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ In other words, it’s achieving a certain goal that you have set for yourself or that others have set for you.

Goals differ from person to person, so this may mean different things depending on your situation. For a student, success may be getting good grades and graduating. For an entrepreneur, it could be building a successful business. For an artist, it could mean pursuing their craft and making a living from it.

Whatever your interpretation of success is, it always involves hard work and dedication. It often means taking risks and learning from mistakes. Success also means finding fulfillment in what you do. It’s never a straight line — it takes time and effort to reach your goals, and sometimes the journey can be just as rewarding.

Types of success

Success is an individual journey, and no two paths are the same. Barack Obama and Ariana Grande are both considered successful — the former for his political accomplishments and the latter for her rise to fame as a singer-songwriter. There are many types of success, from financial to creative, professional to personal.

Financial success

Financial success is the most commonly discussed type — making money, accumulating wealth, and becoming wealthy. Many of us strive to achieve financial success, whether this is through working hard, investing in stocks and real estate, or starting a business.

Although some people’s minds may jump to Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet, financial success can come in many forms. It could mean simply having enough money to cover your basic needs or investing and growing your wealth. As long as it involves money, the goal falls under this umbrella.


Professional success

Professional success is similar to financial success, but it’s focused more on accomplishments within a certain industry or profession. Professional success may include getting promoted to a higher position, achieving an individual accolade within your field, or earning recognition for outstanding work.

It could also mean becoming a respected leader or expert in your field, being able to mentor and help others, or simply finding satisfaction in your job.

Creative success

Creative success is slightly different than the other two, as it comes in many forms — writing a novel, recording an album, or creating a painting or sculpture. Creative success can be measured by how many people your work reaches and its impact on them. It could be as simple as creating something you’re proud of or gaining recognition from critics and peers.

Personal success

Personal success is about feeling content with yourself and your life. From taking care of your health to building meaningful relationships with those around you, personal success is highly subjective. It could mean achieving a certain fitness goal, learning a new language, or finding a fulfilling career. Many also measure personal success in terms of their happiness and contentment with life.

What is a success mindset?

A success mindset is a psychological attitude that helps you achieve your desired goals. It includes having an open, positive view of life and believing that you can reach lofty achievements with hard work, dedication, and resilience.

This mindset is essential to moving forward and making better decisions, being creative, and staying organized. It helps you to focus on solutions instead of problems and build a positive attitude toward life.

Many thought leaders reference the term ‘growth mindset,’ which is similar, as it means that you embrace learning and take risks to improve. It encourages you to develop yourself by investing in yourself and taking decisive action.

How to build your success mindset in 7 steps

Building a success mindset is an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and investment. While no two paths are the same, practically everyone who’s achieved something great in life has certain traits and behaviors that you can copy.

From goal setting to persistence, here are seven key steps to take when trying to build a growth mindset:

1. Find your definition of success

This first point goes back to what we discussed earlier. Success means something different for everyone, so it’s important to take some time to think about what success looks like for you.

Who are you? Where do you want to be? What is the meaning of life? The answers may take some time to find, but they will ultimately be the compass that guides you through the following points.

2. Set goals

Once you’ve identified what success looks like for you, it’s time to start setting goals. Goal setting is an often-overlooked yet extremely important part of building a success mindset, as it helps you to stay focused and motivated.

Make sure your goals are both challenging and achievable — don’t aim too high or too low. It’s also important to have specific deadlines and take regular action steps to stay on track.


3. Challenge yourself

From Elon Musk and Bill Gates to Steve Jobs, Kamala Harris, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the world’s top successes have one thing in common: a will to overcome challenges. These people didn’t just decide to sit back and let life take its course — they actively sought to change the future through their actions in the present day. Your initiative is the most important thing you can have when looking to become successful. It’s the first step in the process; without it, even the most promising individuals would fail to reach their full potential.

In this respect, consider how you can challenge yourself to be better. In no way does it have to mean going to extremes, but what are some actionable, impactful things you can implement in your day-to-day life?

The answer will ultimately come down to your specific goals. For example, people considering professional growth a priority may ask for more responsibilities at work. Those with goals to improve their focus might choose to read a few pages of a book every day. The most important thing is to keep these challenges — whatever they are — measurable and realistic for the best possible chance of success.

4. Look for a mentor

While self-improvement is often seen as a solo endeavor, it doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, some of the most successful people in history have had the help of mentors to push them forward. Michael Phelps is a great example — his coach Bob Bowman pushed him to limits he wouldn’t have been able to reach on his own, ultimately leading to five Olympics and 23 gold medals.

No matter your definition of success, it’s important to find a mentor who can point you in the right direction. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to find a world-renowned coach — although it doesn’t hurt. A good mentor can come in many forms, from a close family member or friend to a professor in your field of study. As long as you find someone who can offer helpful guidance, the title doesn’t matter.

5. Mind your self-talk

Everyone has a little voice in their head that accompanies them throughout life. It serves as a narrative to the greater story, reflecting how we feel, what we want, and our plans. This self-talk, as experts call it, isn’t just random; it actually shapes how we perceive the world around us.

An extensive body of research shows that how we speak to ourselves can have a massive impact on our overall well-being. It can lift us up, improve our confidence, and give us the strength to push through difficult times. At the same time, it can also act as a roadblock, preventing us from reaching our goals and ultimately leading to failure.

Negative self-talk can limit your ability to grow. A poor mindset decreases your outlook on life and the likelihood of capitalizing upon its opportunities. To ensure this doesn’t happen, practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Every time you catch yourself engaging in unhelpful self-talk, make a conscious effort to reframe it into something more encouraging.

Here are some examples:

Negative: ‘I can’t do this.’

Positive: ‘I’m capable of anything I put my mind to.’

Negative: ‘I’m not good enough.’

Positive: ‘I am working hard to move forward and be the best I can be.’

Negative: ‘I’m not as smart as everyone else.’

Positive: ‘I have my own unique strengths and talents that make me special.’


6. Don’t fear failure

Back to the issue of initiative, one of the hardest things most people find about taking it is the fear of failure that comes along with it. We’re all hardwired to want to succeed, and there’s no shame in that. But what if we start to embrace failure too?

Many of the most successful people in history have failed repeatedly before finally hitting a breakthrough. In fact, they attribute their success to the lessons they learned through their failures. This doesn’t mean you should be reckless and take unnecessary risks, but it does suggest that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process.

The next time you find yourself hesitating to do something out of fear, think twice. Consider that failure is a part of life and that it doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn something new and to grow as a person. With the right attitude, failure can be fuel for success.

7. Invest in your skills and knowledge

Finally, investing in your skills and knowledge is one of the best ways to ensure success. Not only will this help with your current ambitions, but it will also provide a solid foundation for future opportunities.

Start by identifying areas of interest and exploring them further through reading, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, and other activities. You can also look into online courses or internships if you want a more hands-on approach. This could be anything from marketing and business to photography and coding — whatever you think will help you reach your goals.

Headway is a great option for those interested in exploring the possibilities of personal growth but who don’t have much time to commit to doing so. Its vast library of bite-sized content breaks top books down into a nutshell, allowing you to learn and digest the key concepts quickly and efficiently. Headway’s gamified approach can make learning fun and rewarding, making it the perfect tool for kickstarting your journey to success. Download the Headway app and strive for growth.


At the end of the day, success is a journey — not a destination. It’s a process that starts with understanding and accepting yourself and working hard to become the best version of who you are. Be sure to keep these tips in mind next time you’re looking to challenge yourself and grow. You’ll be ready to take on the world with the right approach and support!


What are the five rules of success?

The answer to this question will depend on who you ask — success is a subjective concept. However, some key principles that can help you reach your goals include setting realistic expectations, maintaining an optimistic mindset, not fearing failure, engaging in helpful self-talk, and investing in your skills and knowledge.

What brings success in life?

Each individual ultimately determines success in life, so there isn’t a one size fits all answer to this question. Generally speaking, success can come from having a clear vision of what you want and taking the necessary steps to make it happen. Focus on developing skills, setting goals, working hard, and using positive self-talk. Adding a bit of initiative and taking risks can also go a long way toward achieving success.

What is common among successful people?

Successful people often have a positive outlook on life, are self-motivated and driven, and stay focused on their goals. They also tend to take responsibility for their actions and are willing to learn from their mistakes.

+80k reviews
Empower yourself with the best insights and ideas!
Get the #1 most downloaded book summary app.

Enjoying this article?

Your fun & easy growth starts here.

Try Headway app

Join our email list with 40K+ people for more helpful insights