I recently came across a post about success. Ironically, it came just as I was writing an entry on the very same thing, but it caught my eye as it so concisely proclaimed something so distinctly wrong. Essentially, if we achieve success by having “proved” ourselves, we will be successful yet unhappy.
Images of success barrage our Facebook walls, our Instagram feeds, and perhaps we sink into our chairs, ashamed that we aren’t doing the same thing. Success looks like whatever they are doing. It’s the man who’s done a lot of things, been a lot of places, made a lot of money, and dresses in a $400 suit with classic shades and a smile on. It’s the woman who built an empire, who’s the CEO of a Fortune 500, decked in a sleek dress, red lipstick, thousand dollar shoes, millionaire smile, billionaire hair. Clean cut, confident, attractive. Money, money, money.
In order to prove ourselves, we probably need to accomplish something on par with those guys. Perhaps we don’t need to become millionaires to prove ourselves, but we certainly have to have the air of prestige, the look of fame, the pockets of a moneymaker. Then, success is ours.
His statement rings true. Yes, we will be successful. But on whose terms?
Success without happiness is, arguably, not success. It may perhaps be the above famed societally defined success – this is only one of the many avenues or possibilities. True success, however, brings a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, and happiness to the person who has achieved it, regardless of societal standards, norms, and pressures. If I have achieved success by societal standards but am not happy, I do not feel successful. I am not. Something lacks.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is success.