In a world that is rapidly advancing towards a new age of technology and innovation preaching the ideals of productivity, efficiency and creativity, the definition of success has been altered. The measure of success, no longer depends on happiness rather it is now limited to futuristic and monetary barriers.
Ever heard anyone say ‘pursue a career which will have a higher demand after 10 years.’ The different levels at which this statement baffles me is beyond the purview of my vocabulary.
Our expectations of success have been so deeply dented by what we see around us that we often forget to question whether that success, is ever going to make us feel happy.
Every individual’s idea of success can differ and it needn’t be modeled around the same notion. The constant emphasis on deciding your livelihood based on your assumption of what might have a higher demand in the future is flawed at various levels. Firstly, for a very logical reason which many of us simply choose to ignore is, there may be no guarantee of us being alive to see that future. Secondly, if you simply don’t enjoy what you’re pursuing how do you plan to make money out of it and lastly, even if you do manage to make it through, at the end of the day ‘Will that ever be enough to make you happy’?
The new age mantra for success has pushed many to the periphery of the fine line that exists between motivated to succeed and pressurized to succeed.
As per the rules of society and its stereotypes across the globe, a common perception which exists amongst the youth is to succeed in all aspects of life by your 20s. Be it career, heath or relationships, there is always an imaginary deadline persisting in every 20 something year old’s mind. The thought of not having a stable career or a sound relationship by 30 is a nightmare for many.
This ‘Do it all, be it all’ approach towards success has left many running frantically like the hamster on a wheel. The pressure of perfection which is forced upon on the youth traps them to the extent that it doesn’t allow them the freedom to try and fail. We sprint through our 20s desperately trying to accomplish this idea of success instead of experiencing and discovering our own dreams and aspirations. This timeline which we create for ourselves is what makes life feel like an invisible race of success and failure. Those who adhere to this timeline and manage to tick all the boxes by their 20s are labelled as successful. While those who do not have it all by their 20s, and are discovering new paths, refusing to settle are automatically transferred into the recycle bin for damaged goods, created exclusively by society.
Millions of us across the globe while away years of our life believing that we will be happy when we get into ‘that college, or get that job or get that house or drive that car’. What we don’t realize, as put across brilliantly by Albert Schweitzer is that ‘Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success.’ If we love and enjoy doing what we do, we are successful. Simple logic.
Even though most of us in the background of our minds are conscious of this notion of happiness yet we choose to ignore it as idle talk. We dismiss our dreams and passions under the garb of realism, scare ourselves using other people’s lives as examples and try to rationalize the impossibility of our dreams.
Many of us are guilty for the murder of our dreams at different phases of life.
The idea of having it all together and being at the top is limited conventionally to certain careers which are accepted as the guaranteed path to a big house, a sports car and a big bank balance. Falling for this idea of success and stability we tend to condition our dreams around the same notion without even experiencing whether we enjoy that work.
Thousands of people across the world die every year due to work-related stress. This stress that acts as a constant weight on our shoulders reminding us of what we need to achieve and what we haven’t acts like a deadlock. With time we get trapped within our own expectations and deadlines of success and achievements. Funnily enough instead of finding happiness we end up chasing happiness.
We live in a world which with everyday pushes us to adapt, cope and excel on whatever life throws at us, every aspect of our being is categorically timed depending on our age. Be it school, college, work, marriage, kids or even death. Most of us spend our entire lives desperately trying to cope waiting for happiness and success to knock at our doors.
However, what we fail to realize is that it is up to us whether the hamster’s wheel on which the world puts on is what we wish to keep running on or do we muster the courage to get off the wheel, take a breath and look around if we are actually happy walking in the direction in which we are made to run.
As someone who is yet define her idea of success, I refuse to deny myself the right and opportunity to be happy and you shouldn’t too. Don’t let your grades your job or your salary decide your happiness. Success in life is achieved is when you see life as an opportunity, run after what makes you happy and soon enough success will run to you.
Adwitya Taneja is a nineteen-year-old graduate student from India. She has a passion for writing, good food and dogs. And is an ardent advocate of women’s rights, positivity and self-love.
Image courtesy of Fran.