Friday, May 16, 2014

Who defines success?

     Answer me this: who do you find more successful?-- someone who graduated from college..... or someone who graduated as valedictorian? I don't know about you... but I'm thinking that graduating at the top of your class is a little more impressive. But what does a valedictorian have to sacrifice in order to make such impressive achievements? Maybe instead of going out with their friends, they had dinners with professors. Maybe instead of joining fun, new clubs/ sports, they spent all of their time in the library. Or maybe they did it all because they are a super-human being, and they just didn't sleep. No matter what though, striving towards immense achievements is frustrating and stressful. The pressure and demand it takes to reach high goals really takes a toll on a person-- but is it all necessary?

     It seems today that the general consensus for the definition of "success" involves someone who goes far above and beyond what others do, or have done. Success seems to be a competition where you are not considered successful unless you make more achievements than anyone you know. Because of this view, we are starting to forget about our own values and definition of what it means to be successful.

     I recently read an inspiring article written by actress Zoisa Mamet in Glamour Magazine's June edition where Mamet discussed this issue. She stated:

    As women we have internalized the idea that every morning we wake up, we have to go for the f--king gold. You can't just jog; you have to run a triathlon. Having a cup of coffee, reading the paper, and heading to work isn't enough-- that's settling, that's giving in, that's letting them win. You have to wake up, have a cup of coffee, conquer France, bake a perfect cake, take a boxing class, and figure out how you are going to get that corner office or become district supervisor, while also looking damn sexy-- but not too sexy, because cleave is degrading-- all before lunchtime. Who in her right mind would want to do that? And who would even be able to?

     Who would even be able to, Miss Mamet? I'll tell you who.... ME!

     Don't get me wrong, I agree with a lot that she has said. In the article, she also wrote "I hate that we look at women who choose not to run a country as having given up. I get angry that, when a woman decides to hold off on gunning for a promotion because she wants to have a baby, other women whisper that 'she's throwing away her potential.'" I hate that too. I'm starting to think that we have started to become a little too involved in this whole 'equality of women in the work force' thing. Yeah, it's great that women in power is becoming more of a societal norm as opposed to the idea that only men can "be the boss"......... but that lifestyle isn't necessarily for every woman. Some of us ARE satisfied with a more simple life. And that is fine by me too!

     The fact of the matter is though: there ARE people out there who believe that they will only be successful if they do something amazing that sets them apart, and it's not because our society told us that THAT'S the only way to be successful. It's because we are just ambitious people, and that is our own definition of success. Trust me, I know personally how that perspective feels.

     I'm not saying that everyone has to live this way. Mamet is right. We should only consider our definition of success-- not others. Because really? In the end, our opinion of our lives are going to be the only thing that matters. Whether we get a sense of fulfillment by being a stay at home mom or a CEO of a major corporation, we are only truly successful when we find happiness and meaning in our lives.

     No matter what your ambitions, the important thing is that do something every day that you feel passionate about. Don't let others pressure you into doing what they think you should feel passionate about. Do something every day that you genuinely care about. You've got nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. And those things that you care most about will make your life worth living-- not the approval and praise of others. Like Mamet said, "Success isn't about winning everything; it's about achieving your dream."

    MY dream just happens to be to win everything........... ;) The sky is your limit, right? The way I see it.... you might as well learn to fly.


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