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.

 

 

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Forgetting happiness

How often do we find ourselves sitting down at a table or chair, or in front of a fridge wondering how it is that we got to that place? I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit! The horrible thing about it is that we can’t remember – we can’t remember the thing that brought us to the place. We focus on why we are there so much we forget to stop, think, breathe and allow our minds to wander without the constraints of stress or anxiety.

Unfourtunately, I’ve found that this not only happens with random thoughts on the way to the kitchen, but with happiness too.

Society tells us that to be happy and successful in life we have to make money (albeit not explicitly). Don’t deny it. Every business, organisation and job is centred around how much money you make. If it weren’t about the money, why would you be looking for a better job?

Let me guess – to get a house, provide for your family, be financially stable, buy an investment, save for a holiday etc? They all require money. We get jobs to make money to buy what we think is essential for us to be happy in life when really, what we should try to do is take a step back, get the old photo album out and look at pictures of our childhood.

Childhood?  how random? I know.

I know that not everyone had a fantastic childhood – some had horrendous ones and prefer to forget it, but I’ve found that everyone during their childhood had one special memory, one special event or thought that triggered happiness -and it usually never had anything to do with money.

Children have a beautiful ability to see the world as one full of possibility, hope, love and happiness. They take pleasure in the small things whether it be a butterfly, the ocean or even a hug. They know what makes them happy and don’t forget it.

However, for some reason, as we grow up we lose that ability to know what makes us happy and seek it in the most mundane thing of all things.

Tell me something – what will be your legacy? What will people remember you for when you die? Your zest for life and it’s infectiousness? Or everything you owned but can’t take to the grave?