In this picture I’m in Taiwan, at the foot of Alishan mountain with a great friend. I count that successful, and I sure as heck wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else…take that OCD!
I recently read this article on the All Groan Up site. It reminded me of when I first started thinking about what success means. Success is often viewed as an unyielding standard to which we all aspire. But this definition is wrong. Success is inherently personal in that embodies the dreams and desires of each individual.
I won’t reiterate my idea of success – it hasn’t changed all that much. But recently, I have been losing sight of it. I was glad to read the above article and be reminded that success is measured by my own standards, not some universal constant of which I am constantly falling short.
The All Groan Up site frequently mentions OCD. Not the usual “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” but rather “Obsessive Comparison Disorder.” It really is an epidemic, and an insidious one as no one seems to ever label it. People today seem to have an unhealthy fixation with comparing themselves to everybody else. I do it all the time, especially now that I’m in school and surrounded by people my own age. People I “could” be, in other words. Except that I can’t. I’m me, and I will always be me; you are you, and always will be you. I could go off on metaphysical realities and whatnot, but you know it’s the truth. To bring home the point, here are a few quotes.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.” ~Judy Garland
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde
“Today You are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” ~Dr. Suess
I feel the last one is particularly poignant…
Silliness aside, I need a strong reminder every now and then to keep the important things in focus. It’s really easy to get bogged down in exams and clubs and mindlessly go from activity to activity without taking a moment to assess my growth. You wouldn’t run a business like that, and you shouldn’t run yourself like that.
So stop every once in a while and ask these questions; am I where I want to be? Am I on the path to my own personal definition of success? Am I making decisions that reflect the person I want to be? Would the person I want to be be friends with the me now?