In this age of globalisation, we live in a world of abundance and diversity where each single one of us has access to a great deal of information. By absorbing various types of information, we shape our taste-and-belief system, our dreams and goals. The exchange of cultures makes us similar and, at the same time, completely different from each other. For instance, we may all believe in the importance of education, while having different opinions on what, where and how it’s better to study.
However, although modern times encourage building ourselves up in our own unique way, we may still find ourselves surrounded by the imposed images of what a successful life should be.
The stereotypes may vary depending on gender and age, yet there seems to be a scripted life plan in which one should achieve certain goals by a certain age. Otherwise, that individual is considered to be a loser.
The – so called – requirement to graduate from a university in one’s 20s is one of the imposed standards, which may attract judgment and criticism towards those who do not follow the “requirement”, and may also prevent people of older age categories from applying and studying at an educational institution, though they genuinely want to.
The illusion of time frames can be a cause of fast-made decisions, later followed by regret; restrictions of one’s will and desires due to the belief that “it’s too late”; added to an emotional distress if an aim cannot be or hasn’t been achieved within a standard period of time. In other words, it may be of great pressure and have a negative impact on our lives and even on our emotional well-being.
The stereotypes are not limited to the time frames only. They may also influence the choices we make regarding our occupation and lifestyle. If, for example, it’s common to think that a lawyer is more successful than an artist: thus, an individual – despite their incredible talent and passion for art – may choose to be a lawyer. The questions are: “Will a job as a lawyer bring them emotional fulfillment? Will this person truly feel themself successful?”
Following the societally accepted scenario of successful life may not fit everyone. Given that we are all unique and have different interests and personalities, there can’t be only one form of success. There is no single path to success either. We can and should independently define what success means for us individually, and create a life based on our deepest desires and dreams.
Recommendation to watch:
- A kinder, gentler philosophy of success by Alain de Botton: https://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_a_kinder_gentler_philosophy_of_success