Blindly trusting the definition of success

Tanya Keskar | The Chronicle

Life can feel like we’re constantly trying to keep up. There’s always the next stage of life to reach. It’s a race to see who can get the farthest, who can be the most successful. Today, success seems to refer to money, fame, and prestige, so we’re pushed to pursue this definition of success as early as possible. But that definition of success, that we’ve consistently pushed on ourselves, shouldn’t be our ultimate goal.

Instead, everything that we do in life –especially trying to be successful – isn’t to attain a level of prestige, but to have a fulfilling life. To do so, we have to break free from the prescribed pathways that we follow to attain prescribed goals and focus on understanding what we want from life.

Titles shouldn’t matter. Grades shouldn’t matter. Ranks shouldn’t matter. Awards shouldn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how we feel about ourselves. This may seem like a very cliche and repetitive statement, but it certainly holds some truth. We have to change our mindset around success. Slow down and think about what’s important in life. It’s not a number, title, or letter on a piece of paper — those are the resources that enable us to engage in fulfilling activities.

Life is about the feelings that are brought out when you do what you love.

I love the excitement that comes with launching crazy ideas and creating flamboyant presentations. I am in awe as I meet new people and learn about their individual stories. I love the energy I get from spending an afternoon alone with my music.

Society has continuously reinforced the idea that we should always be striving to reach a higher level of prestige, continuously improving in whatever we attempt. These motivational phrases have become commonplace, but this mindset can be very detrimental as it develops a feeling of falling behind. Not everything has to be done as a competition or twisted in a way to look better on a resume.

Don’t blindly trust what society has always told us. We need to redefine success. Success isn’t the pursuit of money, fame, and prestige, but the pursuit of personal fulfillment throughout life. This happiness doesn’t stem from money, fame, or prestige, but from the joy that comes from everything we do – the big things and the little things.