Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Envy, Inequality, and Snobbery: Traditional Measurements for Success Kinda Suck

"What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas, and make sure that we own them, that we are truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it's bad enough, not getting what you want, but it's even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of a journey, that it isn't, in fact, what you wanted all along."
- Wicked-smart Alain de Botton, smacking all of us upside the face with some rock-solid truth.

Can I get a "AMEN," people?!

Seriously, let's take a look at the metrics we measure success by. Money. Fame. Sex Appeal. What's the problem with all three of these?

Oh yeah, they're entirely based on external forces that are beyond your control. Money will come, and money will go (just ask my wallet). Fame is like a viral video - it tends to happen by accident, and one day you wake up and realize no one's watching you anymore.

And sex appeal? Marilyn might have said it best:
"We all lose our shape in the end."
Ah yes, gather ye roses while ye may, beauties -- but don't forget that those roses are going to fade and die just like everything else.

Woah there, downer post, Kate.

Believe me, I realize that this isn't the kind of message that you might want to hear, but basing your success metric on Money, Fame, or Sex Appeal is about as reliable as leaving a giant chunk of cheese on the kitchen counter and trusting that your dog isn't going to eat it. I'm speaking from experience here: don't trust the dog.

When it comes to feeling satisfied and successful in your life, deep down inside you know what you need to do. The trick is learning to leave behind all those other measurements that society tries to make force on you.

Take it from India.Arie, then get out there and write your own.

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