We all know that feeling of accomplishment. Those moments in life where you can finally take a deep breath and smile, as all your hard work seems to have paid off. Whether it be the result of overcoming a small bump in the road or a detour that leads your future down a different road to an achievement than initially expected. No matter the scale of the obstacle, overcoming it brings upon the feeling of accomplishment. But for some reason, this feeling often only lasts for around a day, if not, just mere hours. After a few short hours of bliss, many realise they aren’t nearly as fulfilled as they thought they’d be during the process of earning their achievements. Why is it that we work relentlessly for achievements that only provide us with happiness that lasts a fraction of the time it took to accomplish? This brings up the idea of living a “successful” but not necessarily happy life—a theme that seems to surface in the lives of many more recently.
In an increasingly technological society where parents plaster the success of their offspring all over Facebook, it feels almost as if the achieving your goals these days means nothing unless you can get that photo with the trophy to post for everyone to see. Scroll through your feed and you’ll notice an ongoing but unspoken competition between mothers to see whose child is the biggest achiever. However, you hardly ever see any of these mothers boasting about themselves directly. Many people wait for someone else to single them out and notice them for their achievements.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being a humble achiever, but when the reasoning for remaining quiet about your successes is for the sole reason you don’t want anyone to be able to personally “out-do” you by knowing about what you consider an achievement, you are only hurting yourself. On the flip side, our favourite celebrity accounts constantly post pictures of their newest cars, jewellery, and holidays. This makes it easy to follow the train of thought that insists that unless we are all super-duper rich or gold-medal talented that we aren’t actually successful. If there’s someone who has it better than us, we can’t be that successful, right?
You’ve heard it preached before, but there will always be someone with more of something than you. Money, talent, smarts, ideas, followers, experience, the list goes on. Success cannot and should not be measured by external means of comparison. Sure, using others as a benchmark can be motivating, but it cannot be defining.
Try to take notice of what people talk about the next time you’re in a group conversation. Many brag about their kid’s accomplishments, some their spouse’s, others their previously purchased vehicles, houses, or possessions. Very few, if any, talk about their personal achievements in life, and maybe that’s why our happiness after those successes is so temporary. Our fear that someone will always “one-up” our achievements makes us feel safer to boast about anyone but ourselves. It’s a guard many put up in an attempt to feel happier about themselves for longer before someone comes along to shut them down with their “greater” achievement. However, this coping mechanism teaches us how to not be happy with ourselves—a terrible habit considering the only person who can measure our success is ourselves.
Perhaps a bone-chilling and honest notion to think about is if you were to die right now, would you consider yourself to be a success? Did you achieve YOUR goals that YOU wanted to reach, not just what was expected or hoped of you by others?
To me, I believe success and happiness to be almost synonymous. How can you actually be successful in the grander scheme of your life if you’re not happy? If you really want to become a master baker, take some classes. If you really want a 1st on that uni module, study ASAP. If you want to live a life that focuses on family, organise some gatherings. Be proud of your passions and toot your own horn a little more—it’ll teach you key confidence along the way and lead you to greater goals. Do whatever makes you happy, fulfilled and exhibits your capabilities and you WILL be successful.
Perhaps this is the only part of this blog post that truly matters, and what will make me, as a blogger, successful in communicating this knowledge to you. The ONLY person who can measure your success is yourself. At the end of the day, we’re all alone in our thoughts and how we truly feel in our guts and hearts. To waste a dream or untapped potential for the Hollywood/Instagram version of success is simply an ultimate tragedy.
Do what you love, surround yourself with who you love, be the best version of who you want to be and surely success will follow.
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