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 21 2013: a. Success to me is: achieving those things that I need and my Family needs, providing if you will. Achieving it on my own terms, as a self employed person. So, achieving without joining the 'herd', gives me satisfaction; finding a way around the 'herd'. And I know 'herd' because I was part of the herd, before.
    b. What makes us who we are...as individuals? That level of success achievement is set by me, because if I allow someone/something else to set it, it would not be mine. For example; I need a vehicle to get around, but I don't need a $400.00 a month vehicle, I need reliable transportation, I would rather spend the money on myself and my loved ones,
    don't care how others 'rate' me. It's very liberating, and to me that is a form of success.
    • Apr 22 2013: Here's to breaking away from the herd and placing yourself and your family first on your own terms!
      Thank you so much for sharing this, Luis.

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