I’m introducing a series that’s a bit unusual for me. It may not be fashion, pop culture, or the normal niches for this blog – but it’s just as important. The Happiness Perspective – a series of topics of things I’ve learned and experienced in the last few years surrounding happiness that might be able to help others. We’ve all read the articles or been there ourselves that being a 20-something or a post-grad is a big “WTF. This isn’t what I signed up for.” It’s a tough and complicated and messy time that often can get the best of us. But as I learned, it’s all about perspective – hence the title. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to step back and look at matters in a new way.
Today’s subject? The tricky topic of success. This has been mine and many people I know’s biggest hurdle.
The Millennials get a lot of flack for being lazy and taking the easy way out and nothing frustrates me more. We graduated into one of the harshest economies our countries has ever seen. Many educated and driven people are struggling to land a basic entry level job out of school. Even if you do get lucky and find a line of work, you’re even more lucky if you get paid your worth or have basic essentials such as health insurance. More 20-somethings are back living at home and trust me, as much as we may love our families, that is the last option we would’ve chose. None of if is the dream lives we once pictured in our 20s.
I know I’m not alone in the fact that up until this point, things came easy. I’m not trying to sound pompous or conceited, I’m just stating the truth. If I wanted something and put my mind to it, I could easily work and achieve it. Usually with flying colors too. Of course I had faced setbacks, but they were minor.
I could go on for ages, but long story short, it’s incredibly difficult right now being a 20-something no matter how hard you work. Success is a struggle to achieve and it will break you down if you keep looking at it in the ways you were taught. Here are the things I have learned and wished I would’ve learned a hell of a lot quicker – it would’ve saved me some strife along the way.
1. There isn’t the basic “American Dream” anymore. There are dreams. Society has changed. It’s not the past where your 20s are spent starting your career that you’ll be in for the rest of your life, buying the picket fence in the suburbs, adding a dog and children to the mix, and living happily ever after. We each have our own version of success. It may take you experiencing a few different situations before you even realize what you qualify as success. You can’t judge others for not wanting success in the same ways you do. Person A may want an office job with a cubicle and Person B may think that’s their own version of hell personified. What I’m getting at is that you can’t put your dreams on others. Success doesn’t have to be career based. I think with so many struggles it’s good to count the little successes. You can successfully pay your student loans each month? Success. You got asked out on a date by the really fit neighbor? Success. Evaluate what YOU really want and what would make YOU happy. Not anybody else. I know plenty of people balk at the idea of putting little importance on a relationship, but I know for me I don’t really want a significant other right now and I’m content with that. I don’t have to feel like a failure because I’m not dating anybody because somebody else thinks that relationships are the greatest.
2. Nobody has their shit all together and successful. Let me repeat that NOBODY. It may seem like some people are just living the high life, but trust me, they’ve got something in their life that’s not going right. Check your expectations and throw the imagined picture you had in your mind away. A lot of time we have these grandoise perceptions of how life should be thanks to pop culture and I hate to break it to you, but it’s unfortunately not that way. You aren’t a failure if you’re in your 20s and life is still a work in progress. That’s normal. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes mistakes, trials, and plenty of frustration for it to pay off. I promise it will all be worth it in the end.
3. Cut the negative talk. I get it, doubts are easy to develop when the road is rough. That doesn’t help anybody. In fact, it probably hurts you more. All those “Maybe I’m not cut out for this” or “I’m a massive failure” gotta go. Those aren’t true. My other secret? Nobody is talking or judging you as bad as you do to yourself. I remember I was worried for ages about seeing old school friends because I was ashamed. My path has been unorthodox to say the least and I just knew that they had to think I was a major fuck-up. Guess what, they thought I had the coolest adventures and stories and wanted to hear all about what I had been up to. I was stunned. It was a big ‘oh’ moment where I realized I took the negative self-talk and put it on others without it being true. We all have our own problems to worry about that nobody is judging you for what you’re doing.
Next topic in The Happiness Perspective series I will be focusing on social media. It plays a massive part in all our lives, but I don’t think we quite realize the toll it can take on us. I’ll be talking about the social media effect, social media detox, and how to use social media for good.
What are lessons you have learned about success?
P.S. – Check out author John Green’s pinch of wisdom when it comes to figuring out our lives.
Until next time,