Recently at his blog, OneSTDV posed the following questions in his latest Saturday Audience Participation post Life: What Is It Good For?
- Is “success” even worth it?
- What kind of life do you aspire to – an easy one or a traditionally successful one?
- If traditional success like a prestigious job and degree aren’t worth it, then what is?
- In the end, what satisfies us the most – other people, success, social capital, other?
Those questions got me thinking, and here are my answers.
Is “success” even worth it?
For me, yes and no.
On one hand, I don’t regret getting a university degree and eventually getting a 9-to-5 job in a related field. Although I have some misgivings about my university years, I did get a lot out of going there, both personally and vocationally – and in turn, my career has given me more of an appreciation of what I did learn at uni, as well as a modest income that has allowed me to afford most of what I’ve wanted in life thus far.
On the other hand, though, I have had no ambitions towards becoming a manager and achieving other goals like owning my own home – which leads to my next answer.
What kind of life do you aspire to – an easy one or a traditionally successful one?
An easy one, and especially as I’ve gotten older.
Like OneSTDV says in his post, I enjoy achieving success against life’s challenges and obstacles, and in particular during the past few years it’s been very rewarding to attain new capabilities and skills in living and enjoying life.
Yet, I also want to live as simple and straight-forward as possible. This has been a long-standing goal since my early twenties, but during the past few years I’ve come to especially appreciate living in the Now and simple pleasures like being calm and relaxed, enjoying a good meal, reading a good book, seeing a good film and occasionally staying in hotels.
More money never hurts, of course, but I don’t want to pay too high a price to earn it.
If traditional success like a prestigious job and degree aren’t worth it, then what is?
In recent years, one of my most favourite non-fiction books has been Neil Strauss’s The Game, and amongst the many things I enjoyed about it was the respect that it gave me for a celebrity whom previously I’d never been a huge fan of – Tom Cruise.
In The Game, Strauss recounts the time he went to interview Cruise and how – unlike with many other celebrities he’d previously encountered – Strauss was genuinely impressed by the Hollywood star as someone who was very sure of himself and what he wanted out of life.
I especially liked one phrase that Cruise said to Strauss – “create your own reality”.
I have no ambition or desire to be as hugely successful as Tom Cruise, but “create your own reality” struck a powerful chord. I had long been of the mindset that “life is what you make it”, and especially since mid-2007 I have come to appreciate and understand that in the end, it’s all down to you.
So, getting back to OneSTDV’s question, to me success is working out what you want in life, taking steps to get there, and achieving your goals.
In the end, what satisfies us the most – other people, success, social capital, other?
For me, it’s the personal triumphs and small victories I achieve one day at a time at one hour at a time that add up to my life getting better and better.
Until next time, stay well and take care – and in the spirit of this post, here’s one of my favourite songs by the classic Aussie band Hunters and Collectors that I’ve recently rediscovered 🙂