Bar Tender/ Night Porter/ Aspiring Writer/ Part time philosopher,

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Who's idea of success is it anyway.

What does it mean to be successful? I am surrounded by images and ideals of what it is to be succesfull; happy people with wealth, important jobs and respeted social statuses. I am led to believe that to be successful is to reach the highest tier of social hierachy, or to reach as far as I can go. But who's ideal of success is this? Is it mine? Is it yours? I vouch that it societial and media driven ideal.
If I'm being honest with myself success is the goal of not just what you want to acheive or where you want to be in life, but also who you want to be. I want be successful but in whose image; society's? or my own insticntive nature?
Because for me i would be happy to be in a scenario, where i had a healthy family and a job that provided, no matter how successful in the eyes of society it was.And if i was to achieve this would i be successful? Certainly in terms of achieving my goal but only in that respect.
Why is that? Why are more humble pursuits of success not as encouraged? I think it's important to encourage people to be as great as they can be by making them want to reach the highest levels of social success but let's not forget that humbler targets hold value too.
In conclusion; which is the more valuable success? Sociatial success or instinctive success as spurned by human nature

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    Jun 27 2012: In the end we each have to answer this for ourselves. Answering it well will probably predict your chances of happiness in life. Good luck,David, I think you are well on your way!
  • Jun 24 2012: David, It is your idea of "success" that matters. This is YOUR LIFE!
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    Jun 22 2012: Hello David - Thanks for this question. It's an issue I've struggled with for many years. Striving in my studies, attending a top university, working long hours to impress my boss, gaining promotion... and losing it all due to work place bullying by a new director.

    I'm now very much poorer (financially) and I have a low status job (a housekeeper - cook / cleaner) but I'm happy and time rich - I work 25 hours a week and my workplace is 2 miles from my home so my commute takes me 15 minutes. I have more compassion and admiration for my co-workers because I'm less stressed and competitive.

    I go for long walks with my dog in the countryside, I keep an allotment and bee hives, I'm able to help my friends out with baby sitting as I'm less tired in the evenings, I have hobbies, I have time to read and watch films, I take weekend camping breaks, I cook real food - and I'm thinking seriously about fostering children.

    I know the global economy's is up the creek and the Scots all hate us, but really, for me I couldn't be happier!
    • Jun 22 2012: hi Heather,
      I'd say that for me, your story is one of success. I think a lot of of people have forgotten the simple things in life make up the happiest. To be content is to be happy, never to strive for more. I wish this would be a lesson that all young people would learn; that you might not become as important and rich as you'd like but to be happy and stable is the greatest success of all
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        Jun 22 2012: Thanks, it's taken a while to find happiness again. The capitalist idea of success, which you described so vividly, is designed to keep the rich and powerful - rich and powerful. The rest are destined for ever increasing debts, stress, wage slavery, depression, road rage, bitterness, heart attacks / cancer and early death.

        I worry about young people too - for most, their quality of life will be significantly worse than previous generations and they will probably be unaware of it. The high levels of depression, drug / drink abuse and obesity are all manifestations of unhappy, unfulfilled lives.

        The only really valuable thing is a good quality education. Even if life kicks you (like it did me), a good well trained mind will get you through. A poor, uneducated person has a poor quality of life, while a poor but educated person is just time rich!

        I recommend Tom Hodgkinson's book "How to be Free". It really helped me relax about my newly acquired poverty!

        Also, “Choosing Simplicity” by Linda Breen Pierce. This is an American book full of stories of people living simple lives - it's very inspiring.
  • Jun 22 2012: Apoligies for the spelling and punctuation mistakes. This was written on my phone!