hands in the sky

Most Canadians want more than the corner office and the accompanying hefty salary. A new survey of 2,000 Canadians by American Express Canada reveals many of us are on a quest to find and define success on our own terms. Nearly a third (33%) have changed careers at least once in order to find a better work-life balance and more than a quarter (27%) have taken time off work to travel the world. Gaining a sense of fulfillment was considered a top priority for 2013 among respondents, with 83% striving to learn new things this year.

“It’s clear Canadians are starting to define success based on their passions and dreams, rather than simply their career status,” says David Barnes, VP of Communications at American Express. “Whether traveling around the world or taking a hobby to the next level, we should all feel inspired to follow our dreams and realize our full potential.”

Read: What Success Means to Me

The majority of Canadians (63%) say opening themselves up to new stimuli and discoveries outside the workplace is equally or more important than discoveries inside the workplace. Almost a quarter (23%) have learned a new language in order to broaden their horizons, 22% have learned a new skill or developed a talent, and 15% have gone back to university as a mature student.

It may seem the act of chasing a dream would come with built-in financial and professional risks, but the survey suggests this isn’t a concern for most Canadians. Nearly nine out of 10 Canadians (87%) believe you should prioritize following your dreams over other commitments like work and career.

Read: Living the Dream

The research also indicates the desire to redefine dreams comes with age and experience. Almost a quarter of respondents (22%) say that as a child they equated success with getting a great job, but have now found fulfillment and meaning in other areas of life. And it seems the majority of Canadians believe hard work and determination will help them achieve their dreams: Almost seven out of ten (69%) disagree that life is a matter of chance and there is no such thing as being master of your own destiny.

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