Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Measure of Success

I recently made a comment on a facebook post, and I used the word "success" in it. Without touching on the rest of my comment—which is characteristically long-winded—I concluded my comment like this:

"Just remember that if you want success, not just in this profession, then you must make an effort to achieve it. Don't just complain all the time, because you just have to trust me—complaining very rarely can guarantee success!"

However, the trouble with that word "success" is that it is a relative term. Success to one person may not be success to another. Someone from a very humble beginning, say from having nothing to his name and living life with very little luxury such as having to travel by the public bus, going to school with no pocket money, frequently having to skip a meal or two because he can't afford it; when he ends up having his own house, his own Kancil to drive around, and enough means to support a family of his own, he might consider himself as having achieved success.

But on the other hand, for someone born into a rich family, having the above may not fall within the definition of "success" at all. I dare say perhaps to him that is not even an average achievement in life. He may even become disappointed if he can't achieve more than that.

A lady friend has been under medication for a long time for depression. I once had the opportunity to have a long conversation with her. Basically, I was curious to know what was it that she's so depressed about to the extent of needing medication. There were many, many reasons which to me were petty, but to her they were obviously major issues in her life. She was depressed about her job, because she felt like she's trapped in her job; she felt like it was a struggle to get out of bed each day to go to work. She was depressed that at her age (about 40 then) she hadn't a house of her own; she hadn't a lot of savings in the bank. She was also depressed that she was still single at her age. She was depressed that she's been driving the same car since 10 years ago. 

The funny thing was that I was then in my twenties, and I practically had nothing to my name too. No house, no car. I had a motorbike, but even that was stolen in the end. I had a lot of disappointments in my life, but I wasn't depressed; certainly no need for medications to treat depression. The one thing that I was determined to do was to find ways to improve my life and be proactive about it. I knew even then that complaining and grumbling about my situation would do very little to help me achieve anything better. Today I'm not anything like Bill Gates or Michael Jordan—far from it. I'm not a multi-millionaire, unless of course if you're calculating based on the Philippines Peso, or the Indonesian Ruppiah. I just have enough with not much more to spare. But that, to me, is at least a partial success.

I've noticed that too many of the young people these days are spending too much time complaining and grumbling about their lives, but the irony is that they're unwilling to put in the efforts and sacrifice to improve their lives. They spend their days blaming their luck; blaming the many obstacles that they're facing; blaming the competitiveness of the job market. The list goes on and on. They forget that they have the power to make a difference; yet they're not using that power!

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