Today’s conventional standard of success has caused a plethora of human beings to strive for goals that don’t correlate with their true desires. The problem lies in a deep-rooted cultural misunderstanding of what the definition of success is. Success doesn’t have to be regarded as a portrait of wealth and high class in society.
It’s amusing how many seem to promote the philosophy of following one’s dreams, yet when it comes to the actual work, most would not help but have a low opinion of the ones who flip hamburgers. Has it ever occurred to these critics that maybe flipping hamburgers is what some actually want to do for a living? Using the conventional criteria established by society, it can only be said that the methods for gauging success should be altered if we want to live in a more progressive world. Success then, should not be defined as the achievement of cash or a top-notch job, but as the fulfillment of what one truly wants to do and of a sense of personal contentment. I believe that if this particular norm in our culture were changed, we would see a lot of miserable people who believe they have nothing to be proud of turn around. We would see many kids cease to constantly struggle and worry about their chances of obtaining high-class jobs.
Sometimes it’s understandable that those who are working minimum-wage jobs feel upset that their “superiors” are looking at them like scum. While there is no quick route towards changing the world so that those who are so-called “at the top” will not label these “under-achievers” as unsuccessful, it can safely be asserted that the first step towards fixing the problem commences with an open mind. I once had a discussion with my father on what the meaning of success is. I ask him, “Do you have a low opinion of adults who work minimum-wage jobs?” He responded, “Kind of, because they can’t do better than that.” I feel the anger and pity stir up in me. I worked at Wendy’s for three years as a team member.
Most of my colleagues were adults who struggled to even speak English. These employees may not have been academically brilliant, but they did struggle to make ends meet and despite all the stress, still managed to enjoy their work. All the hard work that I saw these people put into their labor to struggle so hard to make a living, and my father has a low opinion of them. I proceed to ask, “What if it’s their dream to do that?” He doesn’t have a response. He has a bewildered look on his face that reads “I never thought of it that way.
” His inability to answer testifies to the fact that many citizens in our culture have the mistaken idea of what success really is. I think about what it’s like for all these adults who are very intelligent, but in different ways. They proceed to work carrying a hefty amount of emotional baggage and force themselves to put up a smiley face and move forward in a world where everyone looks down on them. I had a friend in my K-12 schooling, John, who was often looked at as a loser by his peers. He really didn’t put any effort whatsoever into his education.
I often felt sorry for him. He had the kind of parents who harped on the importance of superb grades and test scores. I thought about his future and what his marks implied of it. He ended up graduating from high school and becoming a Taco Bell team member of his own volition. His current status will probably come as a surprise to the typical citizen.
He lives a simple but joyful life. He goes to work, comes back, and spends time with his family and friends. Using the newly established criteria of what success is, it can be safely put that John is very successful. After all, he accomplished what he wanted and does what he loves. He contributes to society and is content with his position in life. The fact that he doesn’t choose to stress himself out by endeavoring to “do better than that” is something that I cannot help but feel very proud of.
I don’t have a lower opinion of him than I do of doctors, lawyers, engineers, or any of those other top-notch jobs. Accomplishment is something that should be looked at as some aim that has been achieved. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that this aim does not have to be something that takes a considerable amount of effort or intelligence to reach. Individuals naturally have a tendency to set their standards very high; this causes anxiety to come to those who have a great fear of failure and won’t stop until those standards are met. These poor souls cannot help but feel that most of their efforts are pointless and irrelevant. To go so long struggling in school when ones’ heart is not fully in it can be a big blow on the self-esteem.
Maybe the correct solution is to ask these ones to soul-search and persuade them to do what they truly yearn for. They might come to the conclusion that all they could ever ask for is to engage in small-time jobs that don’t require traditional learning in school. They don’t need to go so far to be bliss. Perhaps the most effective method revolves around trying to strive towards whatever it is that they want to achieve, not what others want them to achieve. This would not only increase their level of happiness, but their work ethic as well.
They would be very successful, at least, in my eyes they would.