A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy to Success

Day 8 / 365

In this Ted Talk, Alain talks about the career crisis in recent times, and the anxiety that comes with it.

About 80% of the people working in office jobs are not happy with their careers right now. If you are one of them you will be familiar with the terrifying feeling we get every once in a while, when we get a sudden realisation of how different our and reality is compared to our hopes and dreams. I know I get those almost every Monday. Alain reckons the following factors might be responsible for this

We are surrounded by snobs

Snobs are people who take a small part about you and then judge your entire being based on it. As Alain mention, the exact opposite of a snob is your mom. Your mom will always love you no matter what you do (well might not always but you get my point). Job snobbery is the worst, which is why “What do you do?” is such a polarising question.

This feeds into our need for material goods. Its not greed that causes us to acquire material things, its the validation that we get from others that we crave more. So the next time you see someone driving a Ferrari, look at him with sympathy not envy.

Nothing is Impossible, or so we are told

We live in an age right now where we have human heroes. People used to worship god, now we worship celebrities, CEOs, the ‘rags to riches’ stories. We relate with them, as we are taught that nothing is impossible. Any boy in a college dorm with enough passion can become the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Never before have expectations been so high about what human beings can achieve with their lifespanThe looser mentality

Most of us won’t go on to achieve such great feats. And we have not been prepared to face the fact, or to deal with the low self esteem that comes with it.

The loser mentality

A meritocracy society is one in which Talent is skill is the only thing that can take you to the top. It seems like a nice idea. May the best man win, we all say that. But the corollary to this which is way more nasty, is that those who remain at the bottom are losers. They got through the bottom through a lack of talent, and they deserve to stay there. Such a thought is soul crushing, and this mentality has contributed to the increasing suicide rates.

hold your horses when you’re coming to judge people. You don’t necessarily know what someone’s true value is. That is an unknown part of them, and we shouldn’t behave as though it is known.

We don’t fear failure as much as we fear the judgement and ridicule that follows it. If we can remove that from the equation it would be a much better situation.

What success means to us

it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want, and find out, at the end of the journey, that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.

So many of us don’t have an original idea for success. We suck in notions from the outside world, from TV, movies, relatives, friends. We need to come up with our own ideas for success. Make sure you truly are the author of your own ambitions


This story is part of my 365 Day Project for 2019. Read about it here