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“What is Success?”



Pre-Listening Question

How do you define success in your personal, educational, and professional life?

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

live paycheck to paycheck (idiom): spend all of one’s money before the next time you are paid
– Life is very difficult for our family right now because we are living paycheck to paycheck, and we never have money to spend on extra activities.

ensure (verb): makes sure of something
– We have to ensure that our kids have what they need at school to succeed in the future.

come across something (verb): find something by chance
– I came across an interesting Web site on creating successful businesses in today’s world.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: Hi, I’m Randall. And joining me today, Emily and Aubrey. And we’re gonna be talking about this topic of defining success. What does it mean to you, Aubrey?

Aubrey: Yeah, I think a big thing is like if we’re talking professionally, would be to find a career that you don’t hate, right? Something you enjoy doing. So you’re not like walking to work and hoping secretly that you get hit by a truck. Because I’ve definitely been there, and that’s not fun. Um, also the ability that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. You know, you can also save up money for a rainy day. Or maybe you want to buy an expensive puppy or a brand-new car. You know, just having the ability to save up for all of those things.

Randall: Well, Emily, what about you? What are your thoughts on defining success?

Emily: I would completely agree with Aubrey. One of the big things for me, though, is having enough money to support my family. Uh, so I have a child. So making sure that he is well taken care of. And then I would also like to be well-known in the ceramics art field.

Randall: Oh, wow. And in what way would you like to be well known in terms of just the designs that you make and so forth?

Emily: Yeah, the designs that I make so that if someone were to come across my work, they’d be like, Oh, that’s an Emily Thorpe work and not have to look at the name on the bottom.

Randall: Great. All right. Well, thank you very much for sharing some of those ideas on success. Thank you.

Conversation Questions


  1. What does Aubrey consider important for defining success?
  2. According to Emily, what is a significant aspect of success?


  1. How does Aubrey describe success in relation to one’s career and financial stability?
  2. What are Emily’s aspirations for success in her field of ceramics?
  3. How do you define success in these cases? What criteria do you use to arrive at this definition?

    • a successful family
    • a successful job interview
    • a successful marriage
    • a successful date
    • a successful business


  1. Explore the concept of financial security as a measure of success, as discussed by Aubrey. How does the ability to save money and make significant purchases impact one’s perception of success?
  2. Analyze Emily’s desire to be well-known in the ceramics art field as a measure of success. How do recognition and artistic identity contribute to personal fulfillment and professional achievement? 

  3. Reflect on the influence of societal expectations and personal values in defining success. How do Aubrey and Emily’s perspectives align or differ from traditional notions of success?

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