What does success mean to you? It means something different to everyone. In this TEDx Talk, Daniel Ally explains how to achieve success in your life.


Watch the and answer the questions below.


At the beginning of his talk, Daniel outlines the meaning of success. Listen to the first minute of the video and fill in the blanks below. (Answers at the bottom of the page.)

Today I want to talk with you about a subject that many people have been talking about for a very long time. And that subject is called “____1____.”

You see, success means different things to different people, but what success might mean to me is different than what it may ____2____. And what it may mean to you is different than what it means to a kindergartner who is just trying to get a star on his ______3______.

Or perhaps to a _____4_____, who has been trying to get her five kids in bed by 9 o’clock pm.

Or maybe even a ______5______ who’s been working for his or her corporation for 20-plus years, and only wants to become the CEO of their organization.


Now watch the rest of the video and answer the following question:

  1. What are the “three key principles will help you to realize the success in your life”?


Sometimes in the IELTS Speaking Exam, you may be asked about success, and that will often be a success in your own life. It may come in Part Two, and it may look like this:

Describe something you did in your life that was a success.
You should say

– what you did
– when you did it
– what difficulties you faced
– and how you felt when you were successful

It’s useful to have an idea of a success in your head, otherwise you will have to rack your brain for ideas when you see the cue card. If you can’t think of anything, make something up! But make it believable!

Think about your education. Think about sports, hobbies, music. Think about your childhood. At some point in your life, you have made some sort of achievement and you should be proud of it. Once you have thought of something, start making notes on the points above. How can you give a vivid description of what you did? How can you explain when you did it, and what the difficulties were? How can you describe your feelings?

Sample Answer

Here’s a sample answer, based upon something I did a few years ago 🙂

Two years ago, I felt quite unfit and so I decided to make some changes to my lifestyle. I set myself a big goal, which was to run a marathon. At the time, it seemed like an impossible goal, but I knew that I could do it if I set my mind to it. Back then, I could only run about one kilometer without stopping, but I set out to improve that, little by little. One day I would run a kilometer, and then next I would run a kilometer and a half. I measured my progress with an app on my phone, which helped me to track my progress.

Beginning in March, 2015, I continued running longer and longer distances until I completed my first half marathon in August. I felt really proud of myself, and was convinced that I could complete the full marathon. However, I got sick and lost a lot of fitness during September. By the beginning of October, I was only a few weeks away from the full marathon and I had still never run more than half the distance! Still, I didn’t panic. My goal was not to run a marathon in a good time, but just to finish. I knew that I could do 42 kilometers, even if it took me all day! In end, I completed my marathon. It hurt more than I imagined, but I also felt prouder than I ever had before.

Note how I told this story chronologically. This makes it easy for the listener to follow the events. To do this, I used some simple markers, like “two years ago,” “one day,” and “in the end.” I also gave some dates, without being too specific. Even if I were to make some mistakes in my speaking, the listener would know my meaning and be engaged in my story. Take this into consideration while planning what to say.



  1. success
  2. mean to you
  3. homework assignment
  4. housewife
  5. corporate executive


  1. read more books, be around the best individuals, set higher goals