We all have our own interpretations of what success is, and where we will need to be in our lives in order to declare achievement of it. For some, success may be a desired career, or for others, a beautiful family or nice house. No matter what our idea of success, we will spend a lifetime chasing it, hoping to achieve it and bask in it. We will make goals for ourselves that are centered around our journey to success. We covet it.
I do know people who have achieved success under their own definitions of it. Their lives do not always appear perfect to me, but they seem well-satisfied in what they have, and that is the whole point, right? I have a great deal of admiration for those that have achieved success and I look up to them for being able to do so. I look to them for guidance as I work diligently toward the things that I believe will define me as being a success myself – for me, this would mean being financially comfortable if not well-off, happy in my family, my friends, and my career. There are material possessions that I feel I must have, such as my own home, to be considered successful.
I would think that the best way to achieve the success that you want would be to seek out those who have achieved it, so that you can be surrounded by the power of positive suggestion as well as to have a reminder of what you want. It troubles me that all too often, quite the opposite is true: people seek out the person that has achieved their coveted success, not for guidance but to tear that person down. It’s the if-I-can’t-have-this-nobody-can mentality.
According to a recent study, people who use Facebook feel less happy than those who don’t. The reason? According to John Jonides, a University of Michigan cognitive neuroscientist, it’s because people are more likely to compare themselves to others while scrolling through their news feed. While I definitely understand social comparisons, all this data was depressing to me. Sure, when I check Facebook I see a long list of people getting married, having babies, sending kids to first days of school, and even doing things that I wish I myself was doing, like traveling or buying a first home. But seeing these things compels me to first congratulate that person and then seek their advice on how they did it, so that maybe I can get some helpful tips for achieving my own goals. But I’ve talked to friends who have posted milestones on Facebook, only to have others try and tear them down or make them feel unsure in what they’re working toward. Not only is that a pretty good indication to me that the naysayer is NOT a friend and needs to be deleted on Facebook immediately, but it also shows that there’s a mentality in our society that advocates tearing those down that you feel you cannot rise up to meet.
Although it sounds appalling, more likely than not you’ve experienced it firsthand. I know I have, when someone I regarded as a friend took it upon herself to make unsolicited criticisms about my relationship with my boyfriend. She didn’t have any concrete information to validate her opinions, she just tried to tear me down because she could. Although for a long time I tried to just forgive her and move past it, ultimately I admitted to myself that I couldn’t and cut ties with her. I don’t have time to have that kind of negativity in my life. None of us do.
In the wake of this line of thinking, I must add to my list of things that I feel make me personally a success. I hope to be a kind person, one who genuinely shares in the joys of others. I hope that when it’s my turn to experience an achievement, that those I have surrounded myself with will be right there with me to be happy for me.

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