How free is free speech?

Many of us have a view of the world that is very different to the person sitting next to you. You may love chocolate – they may not. You might think a 23 degree day is perfect – they may like it cold and prefer a 5 degree day. We all think differently.

Thank God for that too! Who would want to live in a world without debate, creativity and challenge? We would still be in the middle ages if it weren’t for the uniqueness each individual possesses.

But what happens when that opinion or free thought is not what the majority believe or think? What happens then?

Last week, Bride and prejudice aired an episode where a couple told their son that they were not going to attend his wedding in the US because they were against gay marriage. As you can imagine this sparked outrage and people (as they so often do on social media) began hurling insults their way, which were in my opinion completely unnecessary.

Now before you start hurling abuse at me, let me continue.

I found them unnecessary because I began to think about all of those times people would jump down my throat for things I believed in or things I thought we as a society should do. And they would badger me because what I thought was right, didn’t happen to coincide with the majority.

They would then explain to me that they had the right to think this and that, and also have the audacity to say that my thoughts and opinions were invalid or wrong – go figure.

We all have the right to free speech and to communicate our thoughts. You don’t have to agree with them, but you must make peace with the fact that some people will differ.

We don’t have to agree with what the mother did, but calling her names (behind a screen mind you) because she did something we wouldn’t do, makes you just as bad you think she is. It shows intolerance and elitism.

Let’s be a bit more open, let’s show the world this openness we claim to have.

 

Success is in the eye of the beholder

What did you want to be when you were little? A fairy? A fireman? A policeman? Even perhaps a maid? Is that would would’ve made you happy or… successful? 

Today I was asked an interesting 2-part question:

Who do you think is great at life? What makes them successful?

Now, this is a question I’ve been dealing with a lot lately so it didn’t take me by surprise, however I still hadn’t managed to formulate a proper response for myself let alone for someone else!

As I sat there eating my lunch I realised I knew what I had to say, but was a bit afraid as it’s not an opinion most people share.

So I answered the first part and I said “happy people”. This for me is what makes someone great at life. However, my response needed elaboration; let me explain.

Most people think happy people have money – wrong! That’s what you think makes people happy, but I’ve realised over time that it’s not true.

When I said “happy” I was talking about those people who no matter what type of life they lead, they wake up every morning knowing how lucky they are. They live everyday overcoming obstacles and realising their own strength and potential. For me, being great at life has nothing to with money, but everything to do with integrity and happiness.

Someone can be waitressing their whole life and absolutely love it. They wake up everyday happy with what they’re doing which deserves the utmost respect. Now, I wouldn’t be able to do that, but that’s because I am a different person, and just like people have different opinions on who is great at life, people have different opinions on who succeeds in life. Which leads to my response for the second part.

You earn heaps of money?! OMG you’re soooooo successful!!!

As we map out our path in life, we realise that becoming what we want to be may not be as easy or possible as we once thought. We hit walls, break bones, but worst of all we usually succumb to society and end up belittling jobs that are at times deemed unsuccessful.

Yet one thing our ego allows us to forget is that the world does not revolve around our opinion. After speaking with many people, everyone had different versions of success. And to say that someone is unsuccessful because they’re not living by your definition or by what society has painted as success is a tad elitist.

What constitutes success? Money? Fame? Your opinion? A big house? What? What makes one successful in life?

Not everyone can be a doctor, or a lawyer or whatever else society has deemed important and respectable. Everyone has a job to do and all jobs need to be done. Every job is important, and just because you may be raking it in, does not make you better then me or anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, utmost respect if you have worked hard and are doing what you want and getting paid well for it! But you’re not more successful than the guy who decided he wanted to cook burgers for a living 😉

If I held everyone to my standard of success, I highly doubt I would think many are succeeding- I don’t think the majority of the world population speaks 5 languages!

So I guess what i’m trying to say with this long train of thought you’ve just read, is that if you’re happy doing what you love and are sharing that love with everyone else, you’re doing great at life and succeeding – not matter your pay, whether high or low.