I would like to think that all humans on Earth want to be successful, that we want people to look at us and say “wow, that person is doing great!”
The reality is though, that doesn’t seem to happen. When looking at page after page of social media garbage all I see is negativity. Negativity, name-calling and attacking people that you don’t even know.
What if I told you right now that you are successful? Would you believe me? Maybe, maybe not.
Isn’t that kind of ridiculous? We have become so accustomed to what social media, TV, and Hollywood force-feed us in terms of what it means to be successful that we have forgotten what success means, which is — the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Time after time, I see articles — even here in Medium — telling people or giving people tips on how to be more successful.
How can any of us realistically advise each other on how to be successful when we haven’t stopped to ask the person on the other end how they define success?
Society has Warped our Perception
We are all apart of this journey in life — interacting with each other daily. Yet many of us judge each other, whether that is in secret or publicly. We think to ourselves “I shouldn’t hang out with that person because they are poor” or “That person doesn’t seem like they have their life together”.
Social norms — a collective representation of an acceptable individual or group conduct — have taught us from a young age what it means to be successful from how to act or which jobs are the most pristine. These ideas have been pushed on us daily and relentlessly. I googled “success” and went to one of the first articles listed, “How 9 Incredibly Successful People Define Success” on Business Insider.
Do you know who those 9 people were?
Actors/actresses, billionaires, CEOs, politicians and a few other famous writers/speakers. Do you know who I don’t see? The stay at home parents, the blue-collar worker or service worker. Are we truly to believe that success is defined by these people?
It’s articles like these that people see over and over. It becomes difficult to differentiate true success from fame and fortune.
Success is Personal
Now that we have seen how society is pushing a notion of success that doesn’t make any sense we can get into the real stuff. Success is personal. There is no one out there that gets to tell you that you aren’t successful.
My personal goal over the last several years has been to become physically fit and to lose weight. I achieved my goal last November. No one can take that away.
I know several people who are content with what they are doing and where they are at in life, yet I hear people, including myself, telling them to be more. Now, I would never disagree with pushing each other to be better, as that is what a good support system is all about. However, if they are happy why do we think it is our job to convince them otherwise?
Some people just want to be a mother or father. Some people just want to know that when they come home from earning an honest living that their family has food on the table and clothes on their back. And of course, some want to be rich and famous. We should never discourage those people from claiming success.
You Are Successful
Yes, you the first time mother after years of trying. Yes, you the person taking that first step after an accident. Yes, you the low-level service worker who is doing everything they can to provide for their family. Yes even you, rich, powerful and famous person, you are successful.
Success is yours to decide. You get to set the goals that you want to achieve and never let anyone belittle you or tell you that you should be doing more with your life. As long as you have set your goal and accomplished it. You are successful.