TED Conversations

Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach


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What is success to you?

When you were asked as a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up, were you able to give a straight answer? Are you now that thing you wanted to be hen you were 8, or 11, or 21?

Do you agree that it is 'common sense' to choose a study that will guarantee you a job? Why? Because society dictates that we need to be "successful". I believe that success we are all trying to reach simply does not exist.

Who's to say that what you study is what you're going to be? What if your deepest desire is to be a musician? You study and you make the hours and you practice ad you work your ass off to be good at what you want to be good at, but what if you never reach that point of success you think you have to achieve? Does that mean you should give up?

Every set-back we experience in trying to reach that imaginary level of success, makes us feel annoyed, irritated, depressed, frustrated, and in some cases even suicidal. Why?

It is in our nature to always want more. Physically, spiritually, financially, materialistically… We are pushing ourselves to the extreme and don't seem to appreciate what we have achieved along the way, since the goal to reach that success is the only thing that matters.

So, Why are we so fundamentally unsatisfied?
We are trying to reach a goal that we did not set ourselves - it is set by society, by the media, by commercialism. We compare ourselves to each other, which is also a fundamentally human trait.

What makes us who we are, and how do we determine a level of success that is valuable to us as individuals?


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    Apr 19 2013: Lizanne Hi
    How many people are influnced by us positively is our circle of influence.

    The bigger is our circle of influence, the more successful we are, more evolved we are.

    I will explain
    The least successful person is one who looks after no body.
    Who looks after his family is better placed.
    Who takes care of his community is more evolved.
    looks after the state or the country quite successful
    influnces lives of whole humanity is most successful and most evolved.

    Put one example from your experience in each category and think.
    i would like to know from you whom you consider most successful.

    • Apr 19 2013: Hi Adesh,
      Thanks so much for this contribution! It's definitely got me thinking...!

      I really like the way you described the individuals within those categories, and agree that the level of involvement in society and treatment of others can have a positive effect on that individual. And in most cases probably increase his/her level of happiness. I wonder, though, if that is really "success"?

      I admit, I don't like the word "success" because it implies to me a state of being that is not determined by the individual, but by the masses. I believe in choosing your own level of success and striving to achieve it, regardless of how unrealistic or impossible it may seem.

      What is your personal idea of success? Is it a goal you set for yourself, or one that has been put upon you externally?
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        Apr 20 2013: I equate my evolution as a person and as a human being, my level of success. Evolution and success for me are the same. They have same definition for me as i have already stated. More evolved i am , more persons i will be able to influence positively, more successful i am.

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