Gazette/GBT.org staff photo
In the narrative we tell ourselves, success matters. Most people believe that with success, other people will view us differently, and as a result, we’ll be able to view ourselves differently.
To me and to most people I know, success – whatever externally-defined version of success we believe in – is interchangeable with feelings of validation, fulfillment and love.
As our senior class prepares for college, thoughts of the future are ever-present in our minds. We are left to evaluate what college and what career we will ambitiously pursue upon graduating.
When we dream of a future, we are often misled to dream of prestigious career titles, of fancy cars and of grandiose houses. We are told by the media to dream of tangible possessions, because culture has us idolize those with money and affluence.
However, when I think of those who make a real difference in my life and the community I live in, those I truly admire, I don’t necessarily think of those who are considered successful.
I realized that success is never a marker for how much I will like a person or even admire them.
I think many people, in their chasing of future success, forget the importance of the present.
We should never compromise our integrity for benefits that are far in the future.
That is why I am often moved more by people’s kindness, humility, positivity, acceptance of others and a whole slew of other traits I value more than success in the traditional sense.
However, these people are truly the successful ones because they make real differences in the lives of the people around them.
The problem is not that we value success but that we are obsessed with labelling success by titles, awards or monetary sums.
Success shouldn’t be so easy to define.
We are successful if we are loving toward others. We are successful if we open up necessary dialogues about real-world issues. We are successful if we persevere.
We are successful for a whole variety of reasons, none of which should relate to which college we attend or which career we eventually have.