Monday, July 22, 2013

Challenge #16: Who Moved My Success?

Dear peoples of the interwebs, let's get real with one another for a moment.

I feel like a failure all the time.

That's not me whining, that's just a fact, and I think it is for many people if they were really honest about it.

From my perspective, this has a lot to do with the fact that we have utterly no understanding of what the word success means as a society.

It's one of those things you think you know the answer to, until you actually think about it and realize you have no idea how to quantify or describe the concept for yourself.

I mean I think we can all agree that a guy like Steve Jobs was successful.

However, if leading a life that accomplishes just as much and to the level that Steve Jobs did is the standard for success, I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of society is doomed to failure for the rest of their lives.

I mean, in our society we have set up these ridiculously high expectations that we are constantly trying to live up to as human beings and usually failing at miserably. (hello Pinstrosity?) We can't all be Steve Jobs, because he's already been here, all we can be is ourselves.

But society tells us "we can do and be anyone and anything we want if we just work hard enough".

While this is an amazing and inspiring thing to tell the young children of the world, it is horribly stressful for their adult counterparts. This is because life just doesn't always work out the way we plan, circumstances change, things fall apart that shouldn't have, life happens, the most qualified people don't always get the job and we end up holding these deep seeded resentments towards ourselves for somehow failing at life.  Like it was our fault and we did this to ourselves.

For me this often materializes as me feeling like I failed the little girl I used to be.  She had all these big plans and dreams for our life and I somehow screwed them up for her.  What would she think if she could see how my life turned out?

But shouldn't our ideas of success grow and change along with us?  Isn't it ok to not have the same dreams today as we did when we were five?  Maybe it's time we start letting go of who we thought we should be and start paying attention to who we could be today.

The other problem I think that we have with understanding success as a society is the perceived longevity and permanency of our actions.

You hear about it all the time in places like Hollywood where if an actress isn't included in an issue of any magazine on the stands every month they are old news.  So people are constantly trying to pull publicity stunts to stay current in the public eye.  It's not like their previously filmed movies have lost their value suddenly, but somehow they themselves are suddenly less successful?

This is the trap I think a lot of creatives fall into if not necessarily in reality, for sure mentally.

We accomplish these great amazing things, build awesome projects but always feel like if we aren't doing something amazing RIGHT NOW, we are failing.

Somehow our success doesn't stick and it remains uncumulative which is a tragedy for society and especially for our own personal self esteem.

So this week your challenge is to get sticky with it!  Take two pieces of paper.  On the first one list out what you think success means to you, be as detailed as you like, on the second list out all the awesome and amazing things you have done since you've been alive.

We want everybody to have a clear understanding of what success truly means to them deep down.  When you actually sit down to think about it, you may be closer than you think to reaching your goals.  Lastly we want people to be proud of themselves.  You have done some amazing things and those accomplishments don't just disappear after they happen, they are yours to hold onto forever.  If Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, and then the next day drew a horrible sketch that he crumbled up and thew in the fire, does that make him a failure suddenly?  No.  Our success is cumulative and we need to remember that no matter how long ago something happened it still counts. 

So how do you define success? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think the answer should be.

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