We love to use the word Success often. We throw that word everywhere & anywhere. We often wish for ourselves and our loved-ones success in their life. But what does it really mean?
I realised that people often misunderstood the real meaning of success. Most people think that success is a one-fit-all kind-of thing. Often people would have a standardised notion of what success looks & feels like. They would automatically conclude someone or something is unsuccessful based on their own preconceived idea of what success is. But the funny thing is, with the complexity of life and human beings, vision of success varies so much that there is no point to compare.
Success does not have the same face. Each individual have their very own barometer for success. Sadly, most people forces down their idea of success to others. I have friends and loved-one lamenting in their life situations, financial status & career path when they compare themselves to the ‘successful’ people they know because society forces their idea of what success should look like. Majority chooses the common “successful” path designed by media thinking that is supposed to be the path they need to move toward to achieve the ‘medal of success’.
Success in Career Choice
Usually, when you graduate with a title like a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer, you are automatically considered successful. The amount of hardship in such courses are definitely achievement but that does mean we should discredit the other courses other people chose? I believe as long as you choose a course or profession that you love and managed to finish it, that is success. No need for fancy titles.
Now that there is a growing recognition to creative professions like artists, writers, performers but we often categorise them successful only when they are recognised and featured publicly. How about people who are silently happy, contented and doing extremely well in their chosen not-so popular careers? Shouldn’t that qualify as success too?
I would have conversations with stay-at-home moms who are happy taking care of their young-ones at home but share their thought when browsing to Facebook & feel inferior because they see their “successful” classmates having “real” jobs. But isn’t being a full-time mom a job in itself? They know they are amazing full-time moms but sadly, they feel unsuccessful because society said success mean power suits & title before your name.
Success in Life Status
I have to say this: Getting married is not a box to tick to say you are moving forward in life. Does that mean if you choose to stay single, you are not getting on with you life? Getting married is not an achievement, staying married is. Big big difference. Plus marriage is not for everybody. So please to all seemingly-concerned aunties, don’t force marriage to all your single relatives because marriage is not the answer to success. I am a Catholic and I know that there are 3 vocations out there: Married Life, Singlehood and Religious Life and neither are more superior than the other. Let people choose their life status. This is not the time of Jane Austen when marriage is a sport in the society as to who among the age-appropriate women get to receive a marriage proposal first.
Success in Living Abroad
Sadly, in Filipino Culture, living & working abroad is considered to be a success among families. Is it really? Does that mean if you are earning comfortably well in your home country, you are still considered step-down in the success ladder compared to your counterparts who are living abroad? Some people doesn’t realise the hardship of overseas foreign workers outside of their home country. There is a lot of adjustments and sacrifices. And though the salary might seem higher than those who prefer to stay in their own countries, we, OFWs, are paying for the high living expenses in those countries, toiling unglamorously which our cameras don’t capture & posted in social media for the world to see. Most people rather stay in their own countries, earning an adequate salary and living like kings & queens with 1-2 helpers in their own comfortable houses. But some people would easily assume abroad is success, those people who are ‘stuck’ in their home countries are not.
Success in Material Things
Can you quantity success by your branded bag, your expensive shoes and your glittery jewelries? It is easy to say, I bet he/she is successful having to acquire those. I guess you forget that devilish item called Credit Card. Anyone can look rich and successful nowadays but check again their bank accounts & credit score, are they really? Those are not measurements of success as most people think they are. Some prefers less things and have peaceful lives. And they feel successful enough to have all their necessities met.
The list would go on. I guess my point is, success has different faces. Define your own type of success. We don’t need to mimic the success of our neighbours. Success is knowing that you have achieve your purpose in life, having that happiness & contentment on your life choices and achieving that goal that you set (not by anyone) for yourself.
Our definition of success changes over time. Let us define success in our own terms. Enjoy the journey towards it. Sometimes we need to take our time in reaching our goal of success and not be influenced with whispers that doesn’t echo our core being. Just remember we are all a work in progress. We all have the right to own the brand of success we want to achieve.