How is Success Measured in Society?

How do people generally measure their success in life? Is it having a nice car, a big home, earning more than your neighbour, being in a relationship, or being married? This article was partly inspired by a book that I am reading called ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uk’, by Mark Manson.

How success is measured in society?

In this post I will be aiming to discover where these values come from, and if there are other better and more rewarding values to be guided by.

How do Most People Measure their Success?

It seems like, for the majority, they follow the common beliefs of society, and cues for social status. It’s a measure by which you compare yourself to others, rather than by your own standards and goals. These measures of success include; wealth and materialistic possessions, type of car, size of your house, relationship status, and even the attractiveness of your partner. These all suggest a form of success, and a metric by which others judge you, and how you judge yourself.

Many of these metrics are reinforced by society. Almost everything, including healthcare, revolves around the ideas of instant gratification, results, and attaining materialistic processions. One problem with adhering to these shallow and superficial metrics is that it distracts from more meaningful and deeper virtues.

Failure is a precondition for success.

There is a danger of valuing shallow status symbols, rather than behaviour, including morality. Going into this further, understanding the value of trust, trusting as well as being trusted, honesty, and compassion.

Some people also value always being right above almost everything else. This is the result of an out of control ego, and possibly a narcissist. Some people have the goal of being right tied in directly to their self-worth. So, it becomes incredibly important that they are always right. These people don’t get that it’s very important to be wrong and to admit mistakes. Not only is it psychologically healthy to admit mistakes, but it also allows you to learn from those mistakes. This will result in making fewer mistakes in the future.

Redefining Your Own Measure of Success

Part of this process is knowing yourself well, and knowing what you really want in life. You need to be able to separate what you want, vs, what society, friends, family, and culture is telling you. It requires thinking about what sort of person you are, and who you want to be.

Truth & Illusions Quote Nietzsche

With an open-mind, you might realize that character traits such as being honest, trustworthy, and generally being moral are much more important than shallow status signals. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a nice car or have a big house, it just puts these things as a lesser priority, to be of less importance.

To have things because you truly want them, not because of how others perceive you, or to seek approval and to be validated. Not to be seen as inferior or superior because of these shallow and superficial status indicators.

Seeking the approval or admiration of superficial and misguided people is not something to be proud of, and it’s not a worthwhile goal.  Unless you like being shallow, of course, you won’t achieve happiness or life fulfilment that way, certainly not for very long.

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