New Poll Shows How Americans See Success

How we think society defines success and how we measure it in our own lives are very different

New Poll Shows How Americans See Success
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 2, 2019 10:45 am

According to a new poll, the way Americans believe society measures success differs greatly from the way they personally define success in their own lives.

The new Gallup/Populace survey of over 5000 people in America found that in the age of Instagram influencers and YouTube stars, “being famous” was the most common answer for what respondents thought mattered according to society’s view of success, but it was the least popular answer when it came to what individuals thought mattered when it came to their own success.

“Parenthood” was the most common answer to how individuals defined success in their own lives, though survey respondents who self-identified as “very conservative” were twice as likely to consider being a parent an important measure of success than those who self-identified as “very liberal.”

Education, finances and status were also common answers to what society considers to be successful, while other individual markers of success included relationships — romantic as well as platonic ties to close friends and family — and personal character.

“When you aren’t saying publicly what you privately believe, you end up with really bad policies and with things that stay in place that nobody really wants,” Todd Rose, president and cofounder of Populace, told Axios. “But nobody changes it…We can do something with that if we can just realize that this silent majority exists, and that it crosses political and ideological and other demographic bounds.”

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