Society: the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community. Basically the majority.
What actually happened is that society — in my humble opinion — has reduced the significance of ‘success’ to the point whereby it’s almost synonymous with ‘rich’ and ‘wealthy’. Yes, no doubt being rich and wealthy can also be a measure of success but it is in no way the only way — instead, I implore you to think of money as a byproduct of succeeding. The fact is, it did. Think about it. Success is now your bank balance; how successful you are is determined by how many zeros there is on your balance; the more zeros, the more successful you are, ain’t it right? It no longer meant achieving of one’s dreams.
When success is first mentioned, what is the first thought that came into your mind? Chances are you’ll think of something that is related to the 5C. No, it’s not the iPhone 5C but this 5C: cash; condominium; credit cards; car; country club. There’s even a wiki page about it lol. What started as a joke in the past (early 2000) eventually became the goal and finally, the definition of success for most people in the middle class and below. The rich doesn’t need to be ‘successful’ because they’re already there.
Material possession has never seemed more important than now. Indulge in me for a second and think about this:
- Person#1 in a supercar (e.g. Lamborghini)
- Person#2 in an average sedan (e.g. Toyota Corolla)
Side by side, who do you think is more successful? At first glance, as society has brainwashed us, Person#1 in his Lamborghini is definitely — I repeat, DEFINITELY — the much more successful one. We will, it seems, never stop to consider any other factors to determine who is the more successful one. What if I added a little more background to the characters at hand: Person#1 in the Lamborghini was only able to afford his exotic vehicle because of the money his father gave him. Person#2 the average sedan? Well, she was an aspiring writer that went from being unemployed and living on state benefits to becoming a multi-millionaire in five years, battled clinical depression, and even got rejected by the twelve publishing houses she initially submitted her writings to. Now, she’s got a wonderful family at home with a doting husband and three lovely kids. And although she’s unimaginably rich, she donated so much of her wealth to the charity that she actually went from being a billionaire to a millionaire!
So right now, who do you think is more successful?
I have seen many cases of people trying to flaunt their possessions here and there, trying to boast how much they have or what they’ve gotten. Rarely will you see people boasting about how great their friends are. Unfortunately, you see, in the society we live in today, we often find ourselves chasing after things rather than building genuine supportive relationships; trying to accumulate possessions rather than gaining invaluable experiences. If it is just money that is expended, I think that’s fine but, time is too — and time is never ever gotten back.
It’s a messed up society with a flawed definition of success, don’t you agree? Moreover, not is society flawed in the definition of success but, in so many others way such as beauty, views of religion, race and colour.
Before I conclude, I’d like to first share what I think success should be about. Personally, I think success can be defined on many levels.
Firstly, it is about achieving your dreams. Getting what you have always desired — reaching the pinnacle of your life that you’ve always seen yourself reaching for in your dreams, and doing things no one else could, before.
Secondly, I think success is also about achieving mastery — of whatever you choose to embark on, even the least significant thing you can think of. For me, if I am able to write a persuasive essay continuously for hours at a stretch, that is mastery, and that too is success.
Lastly, which I think is the most important, and also the most difficult of all: achieving autonomy in your life. In case you haven’t got the faintest idea what personal autonomy means, it means to be able to have complete control in your life — unrestrained, unrestricted or even unhindered by any single thing in your life. Be it the financial constraint, emotional commitment, health issues or family issues — you have it all under control.
I think it is about time we redefine success and not let the societal norm of getting rich be the YOUR final goal. I mean, if you think that being rich is that important and that’s all you want to be, I can’t fault you for thinking that way. All I can say is that “Money is just a byproduct of success, not the product.” Money can be a measurement of success, not should be.
(Oh, and just so you know, Person#2 is J.K. Rowling)
P.S. What if I want to be a sheep? And if I became one, will I be deemed successful?