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University of Pennsylvania


University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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Do you want to be more successful? This course was designed to help you define what success means to you, and to develop a plan for achieving it. Wharton Professor G. Richard Shell, an award-winning author and the creator of the popular Wharton School course on the meaning of success, created this course to help you answer the questions that arise when you consider how best to use your life. Drawing on his decades of research and mentoring, Shell offers personalized assessments to help you probe your past, imagine your future, and measure your strengths. He then combines these with the latest scientific insights on everything from self-confidence and happiness to relationships and careers. Throughout, he shares inspiring examples of people who found what they were meant to do by embracing their own true measure of success. Get ready for the journey of a lifetime—one that will help you reevaluate your future and envision success on your own terms. Students and executives say that Richard Shell’s courses and executive training programs have changed their lives. Let this course change yours.


  • Week 1: Launching Your Personal Search for Success
    • This module is designed to help you define success for yourself through exploring the hidden beliefs you hold about success. You'll learn the three truths of success, and the role of culture and family in defining success. You'll also participate in the "Six Lives" exercise, which will guide you to deeper questions of your beliefs about success, as well as how those beliefs compare to others. By the end of this module you'll be able to assess yourself, your values, and your images of what success means. As a result, you can begin to adapt the tools that will work for you to achieve whatever your definition of success is.
  • Week 2: How to Think About Success on Your Own Terms
    • In this module, you'll learn how to think about success on your own terms. You'll explore ways of looking inside yourself, and into your past, to find the values and capabilities that you have determined for your personal success. You'll identify your "four diamonds" - the capabilities you have in your own heart and soul to develop the inner and outer success that will be most satisfying to you. You'll learn the two habits that successful people share, as well as the four different ways you can renew your success values. By the end of this module you'll have a deep understanding of what success is for you on your terms, and how to sustain and renew your beliefs in the face of challenges.
  • Week 3: Diving Deeper: What Research Tells Us About Achievement and Happiness
    • This module was created to give you an overview of the science of success so that you can use that knowledge to begin exploring the relationship between success and happiness. You'll learn the four traps of achievement, as well as the four reasons to worry about achievement-based success. Finally, you'll examine the question of whether or not success equals happiness. By the end of this module you'll be able to differentiate between success that is based on achievements, which can be unsatisfying, and success based on other metrics, that can bring deep satisfaction to your life.
  • Week 4: Putting it Together: Charting Your Path to the Future
    • In this module, you'll begin putting together everything you have learned about yourself and about success so that you can chart your own path to the future. You'll learn how to use the achievement-happiness matrix to assess your current state, how to determine your current motivations, how to discover what work is meaningful to you (and whether or not you are employed doing it), and how happiness and success are measured differently. You'll conclude this module, and the course, by creating a personal theory of success which you will share with your classmates in peer review. There, you'll have the opportunity to see other theories of success, which may spark some additional exploration of your own. By the end of this module you'll have articulated a personalized theory and vision of success that you can use to create more happiness for you yourself.

Taught by

Richard Shell


5.0 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 1169 ratings

Start your review of Success

  • I have been looking for a course for a long time, a friend advised me on this platform which I am really satisfied with, I suggest everyone who wants to learn to come to this platform without delay
  • Hello, My first name is Anahit and my second name is Parsadanyan. I am 19 years- old . I am from Armenia and my hometown is Goris. But now I live in Yerevan, because I am a student of Brusov State University. I've been learning English for 5 y…
  • Jeong Lan Kinser
    It was great course. I was able to refine what "success" to me personally. Thank you for providing a great and meaningful course.
  • Profile image for Dan Shimony
    Dan Shimony
    great course.
    adding a lot of depth into life and meaning to the common used term "success".
    really a hugh gift, thank you
  • Skills development is very important, especially in our time. There is no doubt that developing English language skills is one of the most important things that each of us needs in different areas of life.
    University of Pennsylvania is the best way to achieve what you want.

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