Success Ruins Parts of You That Make You, You

Kylee Johnston

 What does success mean to you? Is it being financially stable, famous, rich, starting a family, becoming a lawyer, or writing a book? Setting these goals for yourself are amazing, but if you only see an endgame you’ll never feel satisfied. When you start working towards these goals, you start with nothing –  it’s just a pipe dream. Getting there isn’t easy and doubt starts flowing through. Failure allows opportunities for new paths and seeing things you wouldn’t have otherwise. It exposes your weaknesses which forces resilience in you and can inevitably make you more prepared to reach your goals. 

     Remember when you were little and saw life differently? Call it innocence or whatnot, but as children we are creative beings. We are always doing things and life isn’t boring. We all invented games with friends and were constantly trying new things. Possibilities seemed endless when we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. We didn’t have society’s prejudices and negativity weighing us down. As we continued grade school and then moved to high school our brains are conditioned to memorize and forget. We’re taught there is only one answer; one way to look at things. Our childhood dreams wither away when we are told the realities of those jobs. We are forced to choose a career path at the age of 17 and to get married and start a family before 35. We rush our lives, and only once we retire and our kids start their lives we realize we wasted ours. Everything you dreamed of as a child you didn’t really end up doing. 

     The point is, society kills our dreams. Slowing down, taking a gap year, traveling, spending time alone, writing, reading or cooking can allow you to discover yourself and what you truly want for yourself. The worst thing you can do is live someone else’s life and not be yourself. Don’t let people’s opinion of your choices and beliefs taint any part of you. Money is a part of life and we can’t change that. Temporary plans can lead to dream ones with the right perspective. 

     Dead Poets Society is an extraordinary movie that discusses this subject. Keating says to his class, “We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Poetry might not be your thing, but medicine and business doesn’t have to be either. He also says to remember what Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.” 

     Creating your identity and learning to love yourself is a struggle for everyone, but the only way to know who you are and who you want to be is to spend time with yourself. Do things you love, spend time with people you love and are good for you and passion will come to you and you can follow it. 

     Art, literature, film, athletics are just some of the things that expand your mind’s limits and build your creativity. Waking up working a 9 to 5 and going straight back to bed will make you a zombie. Do what YOU want and don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Keep reaching for more.