What is success? What is the measuring stick? In our culture and probably many others, we seem to have a general idea that includes a job that pays a lot of money ( this is the biggie), having a nice house, a spouse and at least a couple of kids. For some of us, this may be exactly what we want and that is great.; nothing wrong with wanting any of these things and being happy if you get them. For some people, however, we may strive for these types of things because we feel this is what we should want, that these things are what define success in life and lacking them, we are not a success.
This leads many of us to do things we may not want to do. We push our passions to the side and pursue a high-paying career that we cannot stand. We marry people who help us uphold a certain image, though we may not love them. Some of us may feel pressure to have children because it is still largely viewed as a woman’s ultimate achievement and the whole family man image is advantageous in many respects . We care so much about what other people think and about getting their approval. We want people to view us in a certain way. We do all these things that make us a ‘’success’’, but we may feel deeply unfulfilled or downright unhappy. I do not know about you, but living my life for other people and striving to meet their expectations so I can be viewed a certain way, all the while being miserable , does not sound like much of a success to me.
To me, success is a very individualized thing and it should depend on what a particular person desires for his life. I think the greatest success any of us can achieve is finding happiness through being true to ourselves and doing what makes us happy. Maybe it will involve a lot of money, maybe not. Maybe it will involve an impressive job, maybe not. It really does not matter, as long as it makes YOU happy. That is all that matters. If you are in the process of making major life decisions or are feeling unhappy with any aspect of your life, it is important to assess the things YOU want . Do not make any judgments about these things or compare them against what is conventionally considered successful or appropriate. None of that matters. You need to determine YOUR definition of success and go after those things that fit the bill. It may involve criticism or making uncomfortable decisions, but on the other side of all of that will be the life that you actually want to live.
Ideally, we should not care about what other people think of us and our choices, but sometimes we might. Most of us are not so spiritually advanced that we can simply brush this stuff off and have zero emotional reaction. If you find yourself caring, then the important thing to do is proceed anyway despite the discomfort. Any negative feedback you receive on your life choices has nothing to do with you, it is all about the other person’s stuff, whether it be jealousy, a distorted belief system, limited thinking or different life experience. Do not live based on other people’s definitions of what life should be about and what constitutes being successful. Do what makes you happy, not what you think should make you happy.
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