It often feels like every day is a battle towards a long-term goal called success. We spend so much time digging our noses in those textbooks, memorizing each word for tomorrow’s quizzes; we have all, at least once, dreamed of walking up the stage so that we can be recognized by the crowd for bagging some prestigious award. We have striven for good grades because they are how we are distinguished as the kind of person who has the potential to succeed; all because society has boxed success into such confines that we eventually got used to it to strict parameters — to the extent that we began to think that this is how happiness is defined.
Certificates, medals, and trophies are all symbols of success — there’s no denying that. And getting your name printed on every tarpaulin, seeing your face in every newsletter, or being congratulated by everyone are, of course, the kind of success one could only ever dream about.
But I hope everyone knows that these are not the ONLY ways you can be successful. Not by a long shot.
The thing is, we have allowed people to define our own success by letting them feel devalued when we don’t win any academic competition, when our grades fall below A level, when we don’t memorize exactly the answers that have been written in textbooks and subsequently miss even just one question. We have been outshone by their notion of being successful without realizing that sometimes, success does not lead to happiness — which, I hope, is what we were all chasing to begin with.
After all, how do you quantify someone’s success in music? Because they play well, and it brings them joy? Or because they have a record deal? How about those people who wanted to be a basketball superstar? And those human beings who believe in the authority of words, looking forward to that day that their name would be on some prestigious byline? How about the people who excel in sports, dancing, singing, acting, in mixing colors and inks and whatnot? They might seem like hobbies — some people are lucky enough to call them careers — and while these endeavors may not be warranted by trophies or medals but those are where someone’s pleasure could be found.
What I’m saying is, we can all be successful in our own ways and with our own definition. No one has the right to negate our existence by just looking up at our background finding no achievements like prestigious awards. Don’t ever let people’s meaning of success rule your life. You can achieve great things if you follow where your heart is leading. After all, happiness was never about the money and fame. At the end of the day, it is all about your dreams and about how you chase after them.