What Does Success Mean? How Can It Be Achieved?

What is success? Success is when you accomplish a goal or aim. However, many people may not know defining success isn’t as easy as one may think, as Chetan Bhagat pointed out. What’s more is, you cannot succeed without knowing how to achieve big things.


Chetan Bhagat’s Background


Chetan was not always an author. He used to be a an investment banker and quit his job in 2009 to focus more on his writing. Overtime, his rising fan base and continued response to all his books made him feel like he was meant to do something more than just work in a bank.


“A top psychiatrist in Delhi told me that my impact on young minds is tremendous, and I have the power to influence them on how they live their life, if I want to take it. Hence, I should stop positioning myself as just a funny author. That conversation had an impact.” said Chetan Bhagat to the India Forbes Magazine.


Why He Wrote Five Point Someone and The Challenges Faced


Chetan had faced a lot of challenges when writing his first book Five Point Someone. One of the challenges he had faced when writing Five Point Someone was finding someone who would publish his book. He had to re-draft the manuscript 15 times before someone had agreed to publish it. All his hard work had finally paid off and the book had sold more than a million copies around the world.

“I keep motivating myself through articles, books and newspapers whenever I’m faced with a challenge” said Chetan.


In a talk Chetan had with my school, he had told us why he wrote Five Point Someone. “My goal is to reach maximum Indians via entertainment to influence them towards progressive society.”


The final reason was trying to change the stereotype of an IITian – full of numbers, geeky and nerdy. We are fun people too, and if you read this book you will see why and what we are upto in those years.” said Chetan to the Q & A.


How To Achieve Big Things


On the 17th of January, Chetan had come to our school and said that you can’t succeed unless you know how to set clear goals and achieve big things. When setting a clear goal, it is important to think about the reasons behind that goal. Thinking about why you are setting the goal helps you define what success means to you. Whether it’s to become famous, have lots of money or helps to achieve an even bigger goal.


Finding the right group can help you complete that goal. Finding the right group means ‘to find people who are going to back you up on your goal.’ For example, imagine you love to eat lots of junk food, but you want to go on a diet as your goal is to lose some weight. If you surround yourself with friends who eat a lot of junk food when your on your diet, it is going to be a lot harder to complete your goal. You are most likely going to give up as by being around those friends, you were tempted to revert back to your old ways. Being around people who don’t support your goals make it a lot harder for you to complete them. However, if you surround yourself with friends who have the same goals, then you are most likely going to succeed as the temptation to eat junk food won’t be as high.


When completing a goal, you should have a detailed action plan. This way you can see if the goal is attainable or if it’s unrealistic. For example: imagine your a big person and your goal is to lose 10 kilos by easter. This would be an unrealistic goal as it takes a very long time to lose a kilo. It would take a lot longer than a month to lose 10 kilos. Having an action plan also helps to see the steps which can be taken everyday in order to complete the goal a step at a time. If unforeseen circumstances arise in the plan, it can always be modified where necessary in order to suit your needs.


There is no doubt setbacks will be faced when trying to complete a goal. But what’s important is trying to find a way to get back on after the setback. Imagine you want to cut junk food from your diet because you want to eat more healthily. You keep it up for a few weeks, until you are invited to your friends birthday party. There, you eat chips, pizza and cake. This is when the feeling of disappointment and failure can begin. Instead of dwelling on the mistake, this is the time to regain focus and get back on track. This will then lead to success.



In a talk Chetan had with my school, he had asked us what success was. In truth, the meaning of success is different for everybody, whether it’s to be happy, having money, being famous, reaching goals, feeling accomplished or being satisfied. For Chetan, success means making a positive change in india. All his books address the problems in India. However, as Chetan said in the talk, “You have to define what success means for yourself before you can succeed.” He also mentioned in order to succeed, you need to know the steps to achieving big things. If they are not followed, it is likely you are going to fail in completing the goal.








TWC2 – Transient Workers Count Too

TWC2 is an organisation which is supported by donations. They have volunteers of all ages. From students to those who have retired. Some of the volunteers have jobs. During the talk, I learnt that TWC2 (Transient Workers Count too) looks into the well-fair of transient workers. %70 of workers go to them because they are injured and %20-%30 come because of salary issues. I already knew the transient workers came here to try to provide a better future for their families. However, I didn’t realise that when migrants come to work in a different country, they often have a dept to pay at home. Sometime’s the’d go 2 to 3 months without being paid, but they couldn’t complain because they may loose their jobs. They can’t afford that. Their have been some cases where the migrants were able to change employers. However, they’re only given 2 weeks before they have to be sent back to their home country. I learnt that TWC2 tries to help them, but they are usually sent back to their home country because of the short period of time to find a new employer. TWC2 is trying to make a change to this. In fact, I realised they are trying to solve all the problems for the transient workers. It’s just taking some time.

Deborah Emmanuel

Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet and performer. She started writing at a very young age and kept a journal, where she would write her feelings in the form of poetry. However, she faced a lot of problems growing up. She felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere. Her grandparents spoke “Ncholu Manyala” (I think that’s what it’s called). Unfortunately her father and his siblings distanced themselves form that language, so when Deborah was growing up, she felt disconnected with India. She even went to jail. Writing in poetry style was a way for her to release all her feelings. Hearing all this made me realise that life may be the way it is for each of us on purpose. That we need to experience all the good and bad things that have happened in our lives to help shape who we are. During the talk, she was asked by someone what advice she would give her younger self. Her answer was, she wouldn’t give any advice. She felt like she needed to face all those tough experiences in order to evolve.  To become the type of person she is. She’d tell herself that “it’s ok. It’s only not ok when we believe it isn’t.” So no matter what your going through, hearing her words made me realise that your experiences might be necessary to help shape the person you will be. It also made me realise that after every tough and hard time’s your going through, it won’t last forever. You’ll eventually get through it and everything will be ok.

Robyne Hayes

I already knew photographs could tell stories, but I never knew how powerful those stories could be until I met Robyne Hayes. She helps local non-profit organisations over come barriers, like discrimination and poverty, and works to improve poor communities by sharing their stories through photography. The main issue she’s passionate about is Child Marriage. I learnt a lot of things form her, like their are 130 million girls not in school. Girls are most likely going out drop out of school if their married. Something else I learnt is that “In Ethiopia, 2 in every 5 girls are married before they’re 18th birthday and nearly 1 in 5 girls marries before the age of 15.” But something that really surprised and impacted me the most was a project she did in Ethiopia. She wanted to see what the girls stories were, so she gave them a camera and taught them how to use it. She told them to take a picture of what their lives were like before and after they joined the program. It turns out the girls and the women couldn’t leave their home because of all the chores they had to do. But then the men and boys started to help out with the chores. Some of them even enjoyed cooking. The girls were then able to go and play sports or learn to ride a bike. The women were also able to leave the house and relied less on the men. The community even started to value education after the program. Learning about this made me realise how easy our life is. Those girls didn’t even have any friends until they joined the program. Where as most of us have had best friends since kindergarten. We might complain how hard work is and how much we don’t like it, but we should be grateful about the lives we have. We have to remember how fortunate we are and, perhaps one day, try to give the opportunities we have to others.

Chetan Bhagat

Like Steven Dawson, Chetan Bhagat didn’t start of as an author. He worked in a bank called Goldman Sachs company in Hong Kong for 5 years. He then worked in a Bank in Singapore for another 5 years. He didn’t mind his job, but his boss wasn’t that kind to him. Chetan wanted to get his revenge on his boss by LBDN, Look Busy, Do Nothing. But he didn’t. Eventually he wrote a book called “Five Point Someone” in 2004, about misbehaving 3 college students, one of whom dated the professors daughter. This book was actually based on his life and became a best-seller. He continued to write books and quit his job in 2009 to focus on his writing. All his books are based on problems in India. However, not everyone loved his books. His response to that was “I am not the Best author, but am the Best-Selling author.” He later explains that being the Best-Selling author is better than being the Best author as his books are reaching more people about the problems in India.

Along the way to being a good author, he learnt some valuable lessons on how to get a message through, which he later shared with us.

  1. Connect through entertainment – If their’s entertainment, you’re going to pay more attention.
  2. He changes the game –
  3. He defined what “success” was to him – You have to define what “success” means for before you succeed. Real goals come from true accomplishment.

He also gave us some tips on “How To Achieve Big Things.” They were:

  1. Setting a clear goal
  2. Finding out what are the reasons behind the goal
  3. Finding the group – Having people who are going to back you up on your goal
  4. A detailed action plan
  5. Set back dealing mechanism – Get back on after your set backs. Don’t just give up.
  6. Have faith that hard work will get rewarded.

I have learnt a lot from Chetan Bhagat. I will never forget what he last said to us: “Be so busy improving yourself that you have no time to criticise others.”

– Brianna Kuo

Steve Dawson

I never realised how complex it was to be a journalist. I always thought of it as traveling around the world, asking questions and taking notes to try to get the full story, picking out the most important notes then present the story in an article, news paper or live on tv. That is what they do. However, it’s not that straight forward. Their are so many small details that need to be considered carefully. During his talk, I learned the “6 Tips To Get A Fabulous Story.” Tips he follows himself to have a good story and that helped him to become a journalist as he first started off as an accountant, and had no connection to journalism. The tips were to:

  1. Ask open-ended questions – This way it provides a challenge for your interviewee as well as gives you more information you could use in your article/newspaper/tv news instead of just “yes” or “no.”
  2. Set the answer free – Don’t set unnecessary parameters. The best questions asked almost always start with a “How do you feel …”
  3. Don’t interrupt – Let the interviewee finish making their point. Interrupting someone is disrespectful and the point they make will most likely be important.
  4. Be a single shooter – Don’t ask two questions in one. The interviewee will most likely answer the second question and forget about the first.
  5. Listen to the answer – Don’t keep the interview strictly based on your questions. If you hear something which may be important, ask more about it and eventually come back to your original questions.
  6. Be professional – Respect them as well as yourself. If your interviewing one of your “hero’s,” don’t turn into a “fanboy/girl.” If you approach them professionally and respectfully, you can have a great relationship with them.

I learned a lot more about journalism than I thought I would. I’ll defiantly be using these tips in future interviews.

– Brianna Kuo