On success

Think of a successful person. Who is the first person that you thought of? Considering how much our lives are influenced by social media, there’s a pretty good chance you thought of someone rich or famous, or both.

As a society, we tend to have a rather narrow definition of success, one rooted in various forms of external validation. On Linkedin, we congratulate people for landing a cool job or getting promoted. On Instagram, we envy people with glamorous lifestyles. On TikTok, we yearn for 15 minutes of fame.

I’m not making a moral judgment here. I understand that material success is a major motivator and driver of progress in modern life. Yet, it's evident that success in terms of money, fame, or power alone is not enough to bring lasting fulfillment.

I've personally struggled with this in the past. I was tempted to climb the corporate ladder, but I realized that the recognition I received at work only gave me temporary satisfaction. I used to post my most interesting moments on Instagram, but I'm much more content since I quit it six years ago. I wanted to become TikTok-famous…no that never happened and never will.

We should celebrate the aspects of our lives that bring us true meaning with the same enthusiasm as we do material success. If that resonates with you, consider congratulating your best friend for being an awesome, supportive human being. Envy people that live simple yet fulfilling lives. Don't yearn for fame; remember that it often comes with drawbacks.

Expanding our perspective on success enables us to view it in a more holistic, comprehensive way. Now think of another successful person. Who comes to mind?