I have always wondered about this question. Is it how much money you make or where you are in corporate ladder? How do we define success?
I think it’s defined by what level you are looking at or from. As David Allen says, is it a view from 30,000 feet or 1000 feet?
For me the 30K-foot view is simple and it includes preparing for the final test, which is death. I was listening to someone somewhere not long ago (most probably Bill Maher) talk about what the difference is between religion and spirituality. He said he interviewed many people and found out that if you are not scared of death, you are spiritual. I could not agree more.
So if you are not scared of death, you are truly successful. And the only way you will not be scared of death is that you are not scared of the outcome of your karma. And this because you have purified yourself and directed yourself towards good karma or, as Buddha once said, “Kushal Karma.”
At the lower elevations come family and wealth. Do you have a happy family? If yes, then you are successful.
If you are not a monk (nor have dedicated your life to serving people like you’ll find many teachers and meditators have in the vipassana tradition), you should strive to create as much wealth as possible. But using only right means. Money is an enabler and a lot of money can enable a lot of good things.
So, in short, the formula for success is a focus on spirituality (I recommend vipassana; if you want to settle for something less, it’s your choice), a focus on family and a focus on your job or business.