by Maria Corse
Our concept of success, in modern western culture, for the most part, is shaped, measured, and defined by wealth, power, grades, alma mater, social hierarchy, and celebrity. In our collective attempts to target this iconic version of success, we have, I believe, delivered ourselves to a destination of mediocrity, ignorance, and slothfulness.
When our focus is forced through a narrow tube to complete the required bare minimum, instead of taking the time to delve deeply enough into a problem to experience the joy of finding a solution, our personal GPS should be reiterating - recalculate, recalculate, recalculate in its infuriatingly monotonic, dispassionate voice --- because, this game of “follow the leader” is no longer amusing, productive, or, for that matter, slightly, entertaining.
Allowing others, as well as ourselves, to interpret success in emotional and physiological terms such as: happiness, delight, gratitude, confidence, personal connections, health, connectedness within community, spirituality, creativity, uniqueness and individuality, strength of character, passion, compassionate response, or the ability to simply be real --- is an admirable goal. Never underestimate the power of seemingly inconsequential trivialities. Quantifying triumph can be as simple as making a new friend, making a phone call, comprehending an elusive mathematical concept, completing a project, pulling the perfect metaphor out of thin air, or even celebrating that un-smoked cigarette or un-eaten donut.
Satisfaction can, therefore, be obtained by honoring the validity of each achievement based on personal aspirations, not the unrealistic and irrational trappings of society.