What Does Nothing Succeeds Like Success Mean?

Nothing Succeeds Like Success Meaning

Definition: The best way to achieve something is to have already achieved something else in that same area.

Origin of Nothing Succeeds Like Success

The idea behind this idiom is that once you succeed at something, you are in a better position to succeed at the next step. One success will give a person more confidence, as well as potentially more funds, fame, support or other resources which will all give that person an advantage.

Digital sources show that this idiom first appeared in print in English in the year 1859, in The Baptist Magazine. This magazine credits the Bishop of Autun, a French bishop and politician with coming up with the phrase.

Examples of Nothing Succeeds Like Success

nothing succeeds like excess The dialogue below shows two friends discussing whether or not one of them should run for election in a local club.

Giuseppe: Wow! You did a great job at that meeting.

May: Do you really think so?

Giuseppe: Of course! Everyone supported you. You completely obliterated your opponent in that debate.

May: Well, I’m just glad I got everyone to agree with me.

Giuseppe: You should run for election against him. I bet you would win!

May: Why? He’s been president of the club for the last ten years.

Giuseppe: I know, but you just won that argument. Nothing succeeds like success!

nothing succeeds like success expansion of idea In the dialogue below, a father is talking to his daughter about her pet dog.

Vesna: I just won the local dog show!

Rafal: That’s great!

Vesna: That means I get to enter the state competition.

Rafal: Are you sure that’s wise? The competition will be a lot harder there.

Vesna: Nothing succeeds like success, and the hardest part was getting started. I’m unstoppable!

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about the Syrian civil war.

  • Nothing succeeds like success, and al Assad’s tenacity has forced his enemies to recognize that he is not going away. Washington has stopped demanding regime change, as President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did. –Forbes

The second excerpt is from an article about how to handle difficult bosses.

  • Make yourself indispensable. As the old saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. If you can, despite the frustrations you’re feeling, master all aspects of your job and then some, and become a key employee, it can lead to several positive outcomes. –Forbes


The phrase nothing succeeds like success means having accomplished one thing, accomplishing the next will be even easier.