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Personal Take On: Living In A Success-Driven World

I don't know if I am the only one, but I have spent some not-so-fun sleepless nights thinking about what I needed to do and have to feel like I have succeeded in my career and life. Of course, it helps that I am a certified overthinker and can't seem to just enjoy the moment and see where life takes me. But I have shared my concerns with others, and a lot of the time, I am met with the realisation that most people struggle with the same question: how to live in a success-driven world?

And let me tell you, I have been on both sides of the spectrum (and tend to jump back and forth between them): On one side (usually when I am overwhelmed and stressed), I want to stop time for a bit, to put on hold finding the best job and development opportunities, and just work in a cute bookshop or cafe, and enjoy a simple lifestyle. On the other hand, I aspire to make a positive impact and change in the world, to do something that truly matters, whatever that means (I am still trying to figure that out myself).

Today's idea of success means that you need to be busy, to be important, to be known, to be powerful and confident, to leave a legacy, to be inspiring, to know all the right things to say and to make it look so seamlessly easy for everyone else. And let me tell you, most of the time, I so want to be like that.

However, when I saw myself in conversations with people who did not share this perception, I was pleasantly surprised. They told me that success was simply having a job and having the money to live and enjoy their day-to-day. They did not care if it looked impressive on paper, or if it met societal ideas or expectations of success.

This made me question: What does being successful actually mean? Does success equal happiness or fulfillment? Is our worth measured by how successful we are?

Well, to simplify a very complex and philosophical question, it can all come down to 3 questions:


  1. Who are you?

  2. What's important to you?

  3. What do you need to do to achieve what you dream and want in life?

Yes, these questions are also very existential and possibly difficult to answer (I also don't know the answers myself), but they help put things into perspective and can make the concept of personal success clearer for you.

If this still leaves you unsure of what path to pursue and what dreams to work towards, here are some bits of advice on how we can all learn to navigate this highly success-driven world:

  1. Do not compare your success to that of others: celebrate your achievements and focus on your progress. Small or big, every step you take towards your dreams is already more than enough, believe me.

  2. Embrace failure: it's in adversity and change that we learn the most, so don't be scared to try new things because you might fail or be perceived a certain way. It's all about learning and growing, and no one is perfect.

  3. Community, community, community: surround yourself with people who inspire you, appreciate your worth, and support you. Whether it be friends, family members, mentors, or your favourite emotional support animal (we love those), it's alongside those who uplift and comfort us that we feel the most fulfilled.

  4. Your values are your most trustworthy guide: stay true to the fundamental principles that matter to you. This will help you guide your professional journey and understand what kind of success you want to pursue.

And remember, there are no wrong or right answers. Regardless of the pressure society puts on you to achieve a certain status, to work in a certain position, or to be a certain way, the only thing that matters is who you are and what brings you happiness.

I hope this brought you a bit of comfort in this hectic and confusing world.

What does success mean to you?

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