I learned that it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which our brain views the world that shapes our reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change our happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time. This made me think about the pressures that come with success. People often talk about success in a way that seems like there is an essential success, this idea that there is only one way to be successful and anyone who hasn’t attained this socially accepted notion of success should not be affirmed and even celebrated. This popular view of success often points to professional success as the only measure of human happiness and achievement. The formula goes like this: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier. This formula informs almost everything, from our personal lives, to work, to the way that we motivate our behavior. At the end, we continue on the rat race while holding firmly to the rat identity.
“To define one’s own success is one of life’s greatest acts of courage and empowerment”
To do that, to define one’s own success, would require challenging a much wider range of conventional wisdom about what we value and why, about measures of success, about human nature, etc. It means rethinking everything, but most of all coming to terms with one’s own understanding and resolution. What are the stories we tell ourselves about what should make us happy, and what are the struggles we have to reconcile those stories with what does make us happy on a most private and basic level? I’ve observed that there is no total success, when one is successful in one area; one is equally failing in another. Trying to juggle all aspects of our lives, the expectations we have set for ourselves, and doing great at it all is often a struggle which in turn breeds anxiety and frustration. So most times it’s a trade-off, where, for example, saying yes to one thing means saying no to another thing.
“I want a society that opens the possibility for every one of us to have a fulfilling career, or simply a good job with good wages if that’s what we choose, along with a personal life that allows for the deep satisfactions of loving and caring for others -Anne-Marie Slaughter”.
I truly suck at close relationships, sigh. However, I know how important having the right people is, finding people to love and who can love you back, and keeping in mind that love isn’t leisure but work. In addition to that is cultivating a generous spirit and learning to slow down, I wrote about it here. All of us want to do well. But if we don’t do good, too, then doing well will never be enough. It is common knowledge that there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Therefore, I learned that it’s important to cultivate the resources in oneself that brings happiness outside of success or failure. Think about what you want out of this life, and don’t forget that there are many kinds of success.