Okay so media portrays "naive" views on successful people:

money, power, good looks.

However, in a more holistic way, what features ought to define the success of a human as an animal? I would say that e.g. breeding would be a significant measure of success, however, it's not success, if it e.g. produces unproductive or e.g. sick offspring.

  • "good looks." - When it comes to looks, it is not really about success. Heredity is luck, not the success. And people are tending to sexually select people with good looks before they could provide more viable offspring (correlation between looks and fitness).
    – rus9384
    May 13 '18 at 16:01
  • @rus9384 Yeah it's not about success, but people associate good looks with being successful in other ways as well. It's a perception bias.
    – mavavilj
    May 13 '18 at 16:03
  • "success of a human as an animal" ??? success has meaning in a "social" context, and thus : money, power, etc are relevant. From a biological point of view, to survive is already a success. May 13 '18 at 16:20
  • Purely from biological sense success is to produce such offsprings that their cumulative fitness is maximal. But it's hardly a success you want to talk about.
    – rus9384
    May 13 '18 at 16:21
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA But I also feel that this question is open to more ethical and universal definition for a successful man. Than the naive views given by media. E.g. Gandhi could have some views about the ethicality of a successful man.
    – mavavilj
    May 13 '18 at 16:49

We might start by focusing on quality of life. A high quality life would generally include good health, a fulfilling career, financial security, a good social life, and a living environment that's clean, attractive and safe.

Owning a home, or, better yet, a piece of land, is a standard sign of success.

A good education also contributes to quality of life, and philosophers place an even higher value on intelligence and the capacity for rational thought.

Yes, children have traditionally been regarded as a sign of success - in fact, they're considered a virtual necessity in some cultures.

As others have pointed out, physical attractiveness is primarily an attribute of heredity, not success. On the other hand, physical appearance is correlated with success. At the same time, people can sometimes modify their appearance through exercise, a proper diet, "dressing for success," etc.

But population growth and ever advancing technology have changed the dynamics. Some people don't consider big families politically correct.

One could argue that a big family can make an individual more successful at the expense of other families who are ultimately competing for resources.

  • I don't think that in developed countries children really are seen as a sign of success. Actually, contribution to society is seen as the greatest sign of success. Thus, popular scientist, artist, etc. is considered successful. But people realise that everyone cannot be famous.
    – rus9384
    May 13 '18 at 17:28
  • Ah, I forgot to mention status (e.g. fame). I think the popularity of scientists, artists, etc. lies somewhere between status and contribution to society. I don't see much evidence that the average person really cares about contributions to society, even if they say they do. May 13 '18 at 17:49
  • Well, what they do does not necessarily mean success. E.g. the one who wants children may agree that it is not ultimate measure of success, at least if you don't want to have children (childfree).
    – rus9384
    May 13 '18 at 18:17

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