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Should We All Be Successful And Great?
I believe that...
Are we better now?
We live in a competitive society that highly values success and fame. Things were not like that in the past. Before, many people were perfectly satisfied with just being happy. Not everything revolved around being great but also around being good and worthy. So, what changed?
You only need to log onto Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to be drowned in ads and messages suggesting ways to be more successful. Most of them equate success with making a lot of money. Success and money need to go hand in hand. There's also the veiled understanding that those who do not succeed are losers, lazy or second-rate human beings.
Furthermore, it's not only in the adult world that we see an exaltation of success and fame. Children are encouraged to compete and win even from a very young age. Competition has become the golden rule, or rather, the unique rule. The path to success is the only one offered to millions of children in developed countries today and failure to follow it equals failing in life and as a man or woman. Success can be reached by climbing the professional ladder, making huge amounts of money, becoming famous or an influencer.
In the past, at least in the Western world, competition and success were not so very much worshipped. You already had a certain type of destiny, depending on your birth. Thus, if you happened to be born a count, you didn't really have to make such big efforts in any aspect of life. If you were born a butcher, you didn't expect to move far from your field. As the first born, you inherited everything and all others had to either find some kind of apprenticeship or become members of the church or the military. Being born a woman... well, let's just say that "successful" and "woman" were very rarely together in the same sentence. Having such structured societies left no room for huge ambition or thirst for success.
But then our societies changed and we all wanted a fair chance in the race of life; we all wanted to grow and be wealthy and comfortable. The career ladder was invented and a complete range of goods were invisibly attached to each rung: cars, houses, bigger cars, bigger houses, private club admissions, and so on. And the sad result of it all is that most people aren't enjoying their lives. Human beings went all the way to the other end. Instead of accepting their fate, they chose to climb and climb.
Society in general decided that success was fundamental for everyone and that those who didn't succeed were to be despised.
And I wonder... isn't it also true in this case that extremes might not be the best choice? Do we all need to succeed and become famous to truly enjoy life and feel content and happy? Do we need to push our children up the ladder too? Do we have to criticise those who just opt to be and enjoy? Is success all there is?
If you are one of those who feels pressured by society, by the need to succeed and triumph, a certain feeling of guilt might also assault you when trying to leave the race. But the feeling is in you. You feel guilty and inadequate because you measure yourself against the backdrop of streamline society and find yourself lacking. You feel guilty because you just don't seem to want what others covet so much. You feel guilty because you can't get so excited about the fighting and the defeating others... As usual, the choice is yours.
I am a firm believer in personal choice. Each of us can decide for ourselves. There's room in the world for all kinds of human beings. In my humble opinion, success is just one of the choices open to us. We can also decide to accept our fate, or to feel satisfied with our situation. Pursuing greatness doesn't necessarily suit every person. Not everyone needs to climb up the ladder. Some might opt for personal fulfilment or spiritual enlightenment. And that is OK.
Enjoy life... ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart - humanology
© 2018 Jessica J Lockhart