With Halloween days away, this is a I-haven’t-decided-how-many part long form examination of the one emotion that drives most, if not all, of our major life decisions – Fear.
What is success? Is it being rich? Famous? Getting 10,000 Instagram followers? How much will that benefit you when you’re dead? Somewhere between fuck all and jack shit.
Now I ain’t no Professor maths, and I ain’t know how to do the maths too good, but say you came from another planet, and heard the amount of weight and importance that’s placed on begin ‘successful’ (and not ‘failing’), you could be mistaken for thinking that the following is true:
Where x=common definitions of success (being rich, famous, owning a lot of assets, graduating from famous universities, buying a house, getting married, having kids etc. )
and y= people talking about you
∴ x+y=eternal life
The way that success is pumped up, it’s as if saying that if you’re ‘successful’, you will automatically be granted the gift of being able to live for 5 billion years until the sun collapses in on itself and swallows Earth whole, while the rest of us unsuccessful types will be forced to live a measly existence of the average, measly 70-80 years.
‘Oh did you hear about Steve? He started his own business and he’s killing it.’
‘Wow. You’re so successful. Makes me feel bad about what I’m doing with my life.’
‘Did you hear about Glandice? I heard she lost her job! Haha what a stupid asshole.’
Nature doesn’t give a fuck about success. The only thing that matters to each species, like ours, is that you do the right thing, in everything you do. Personal growth and commitment to bettering you and those around you has an effect. Being judged ‘successful’ by others has none.
Success, Failure, who gives a shit.
A couple months ago, I asked a student of mine what his dream was. And where you often get a response ‘to be successful’, this was his.
The only thing that’s guaranteed in life is death (because you can cheat the tax system). So, by definition, success is learning how to live, to live well, with gratitude for what you have so that when you do end up like Alexander the Great or his slave, you die with the knowledge you lived a life where you did the best by you, and those around you.