I think most people measure success in terms of their acquiring one or more of these three things - money, power or fame.
For a vast majority of people, I am guessing, it would be money. The more money they make, the more successful they consider themselves. They would also look at others and consider them successful if they've made a lot of money.
For people in politics, people in the government, people deciding national and state policies, I would think power would get them high. The power to influence people, the power to change things, the power to change an entire country's future would all be measures of success for them.
For some people, fame would be important. They like to know that people are talking about them. They like to see their name published in the newspapers. They like to know that people appreciate their work. Scientists, researchers, writers might probably come in this category.
There would be many people for whom a combination of these would work. Our Prime Minister Modi, for example, I think would be driven by power and fame. For corrupt politicians, it might be money and power. For businessmen like the Ambanis, it could be money and fame.
There possibly is a fourth thing that drives some people - the genuine, selfless desire to touch people's lives. The people who serve the poor, the suffering without expecting anything in return would come under this category.
I know some people who are like this. Many of the trustees of the Hyderabad based Jain Dialysis Trust (Bhagwan Mahavir Jain Relief Foundation Trust) are like this. I know one of them - Mr. Inderchand Jain personally. I see no clamouring for fame or power in this man. I only see a genuine, selfless desire to serve poor dialysis patients. Even a 2 minute conversation with him leaves you feeling warm and nice. In this world driven by greed, it is people like him who make you feel that humanity still exists. There is still hope.
I, personally, still aspire for one of the original three. I am not going to reveal which! Those who know me well would know. I wish I could be like Mr. Jain however. If I genuinely, selflessly touch even 1% of the lives he has touched, I would consider my life a great success.