“Success.” It’s a word that we use all too often. There are thousands of self-help books about how to achieve that illusive “success”, how to earn the most money, and how to reach all our goals ahead of the curve. However, with this intense focus, are we just missing what’s important?
Here’s 10 reasons why you should throw that dirty little word into the trashcan with the rest of the rubbish:
1. It implies anything but your one true goal is failure
Your dream job is a “success.” It’s the goldmine we strive for. Passing exams, getting into University, passing more tests – these are the measures of success. But what about each time you smile throughout any given day, hour, pr minute? Happiness should be the aim – not mere success.
2. You miss out on the journey
When your gaze is set on the top of that hill, the beautiful scenery, and the fun conversations all get left by the wayside and forgotten. Sometimes the grass is bright green exactly where you are. Enjoy what you’re doing.
3. Those annoying connotations
A huge part of success is the connotations society has inflicted upon the word. We think “success” and we think money, a big house, 2 cars, three holidays a year, a spouse, beautiful children… You get the picture. It’s all very shiny and nice but it’s not necessarily your ideal. Make success what you want it to be.
4. It makes you force things
We all have that panic – the quarter-life crisis after University, the mid-life crisis at middle-age, then the terrified regrets at retirement resulting in sudden and expensive cruises around the Globe. Let’s all take a deep breath. Life should be a natural process. Don’t change career paths for the sake of it, don’t do another degree and spend a fortune because “that’s where the money is” or “there’s a future in this subject.” Stick to your guns, do what feels right, and don’t let the anxiety of one word take over.
5. You’ll compare yourself to others
You’ve all been told this before (I hope), but here it is again: be yourself. Fine, most of your friends are married, your younger cousin has beaten you to manager, and you’re still stuck a rung below on that ladder. Don’t ask yourself: what’s so good about them? What’s wrong with me? That’s where bitterness lies. Everybody’s path is different, so focus on the constructive: what’s in my way? How can I make the most of what’s in front of me?
6. You might even be cruel
Don’t step on someone else to move a rung up the “success” ladder, you’ll just fall down a few rungs in the long run. If you get to the top of the pyramid you’ve had your sights on, but didn’t deserve to get there, it won’t feel like success. And it won’t be “success.” Plus, who knows who will be jumping up behind to push you off.
7. Frustration is always involved
It’s hard to be patient when we want one thing so badly. A year goes by, maybe two, and still no promotion. We get snappy at home, we break some Bics at work, or total the laptop against the wall after another rejection on E-Harmony. It shouldn’t be this way. Let’s all be at peace with who we are.
8. Self esteem crash
It’s tricky to remember how amazing we are when all we notice is how far from “success” we are, when all we find are rejection emails in our inbox. Applying for jobs can be demoralizing, just like the dating world. So, nurture your poor ego, spend time with friends who know how amazing you are, and don’t start an obsession with those bullet-point lists. You are experienced, you are great for the position, and you are a catch.
Don’t become obsessed with your prospects, your lifestyle, your bank account, or your relation to friends. You’ll miss that time your partner fell off her stool in the bar, your son’s first steps, or you’ll never find that beautiful spot in the park down the road.
10. What happens when you reach the top of the mountain?
If “success” is your only aim, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Don’t spend your life searching for what will make you happy. Spend your life finding happiness in exactly what you’re doing, otherwise you’ll wish your life away and wonder where on Earth all those days went? And what for??