Achieve. Acquire another shingle. Another degree. Be the best in your field. In your industry. Be world class.
Learn More. Work harder. Be more. Be exceptional. Be the most you can be.
Set a goal. Pursue it. Achieve it. Exceed it.
Pick any one above and you’ll find my underpinnings. My undercarriage. My foundation.
Yet, this NY Times article Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable moved me…
…“In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another — which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement,” he told the students and parents. “We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole…”
…I wonder if there is any room for the ordinary any more, for the child or teenager — or adult — who enjoys a pickup basketball game but is far from Olympic material, who will be a good citizen but won’t set the world on fire…
…In this world, an ordinary life has become synonymous with a meaningless life.” And that’s a problem. Because “extraordinary is often what the general public views as success,”…“You make a lot of money or have athletic success. That’s a very, very narrow definition. What about being compassionate or living a life of integrity?”…
…The Toronto Star did that in March 2012 when it printed a column about Shelagh Gordon, who recently died of a brain aneurysm, with the headline, “Shelagh was here — an ordinary, magical life.” Her legacy was in her relationships to people.” She didn’t have a great job, she wasn’t married and never had children, so she wasn’t successful in either the traditional male or female sense, Ms. Porter said. But people would keep telling stories about her kindness. “She had a lot of magic in her life, and that’s reassuring,” Ms. Porter said. “That you can live a full, interesting, ordinary life…”
“…How do we go back to the idea that ordinary can be extraordinary? How do we teach our children — and remind ourselves — that life doesn’t have to be all about public recognition and prizes, but can be more about our relationships and special moments?…”
“It’s a value I have to choose again and again, as is true with all of us,” said Katrina Kenison, author of “The Gift of an Ordinary Day” (Grand Central Publishing, 2009). “My job as a mother is not to get my son in the top college, but to enjoy ordinary life. To swim in a pond on a hot day or walk with a friend or make dinner from scratch.”
“…And that’s not easy, she acknowledged, especially in affluent areas where success — or the perception of success — is like a drug that we can never get enough of…”
Fantastic article that you can find at this link.
Related Articles: The Toronto Star: Shelagh was here – An Ordinary Magical Life?