One of the reasons for me to pursue the PhD path was that you are (more) successful when your work have more impact on the society as a whole. One such way to do that is to publish papers, since these, especially at the basic sciences level, eventually affect the life of the people as a whole. Later, after starting my PhD career, I realized I do not want to do research after graduating. Some reasons for that have to do with self-assessment. Specifically, I do not think I will ever be able to publish something that is truly fundamental, or breakthrough, or genuinely new, etc. And I do not think that 'lower level' papers will significantly affect the life of people in the society. Thus I am struggling these days to redefine success. It is a shame that I am only doing this because I could not achieve my own standards for the first definition, but I am doing it nonetheless. I wonder what people think about this. Can you just live a simple life, work 9-5 in industry, government, etc where you do not do any research, and still 'stands out of the crowd' in some way? Notice how, implicitly, my previous definitions for success considered normal work that is just 'routine job' to be not successful, even if the society as a whole needs these kind of jobs.