Life’s hard. This is something we all have to accept at one stage or another and we have a choice whether to let it get us down or to rise above it and be the commander of our own emotion. We’re not children any more, there’s no-one there telling us everything will be okay and reassuring us that we’re doing well. It’s your job to do that now. So smile. You may not feel like it, you may not feel remotely happy but you can let that emotion own you or you can show it who’s boss. Truthfully, it’s not even just about you. The person next to you on the train, the cashier serving you your sandwich, your co-workers, your family, you friends are much more likely to feel happy if everyone around them is smiling. And the same goes for you; it’s a beautiful loop.
Humans are an incredibly social species in comparison to the rest of biology. The primary function of most animals appears to be to survive as best as they can and produce fertile offspring. For most animals, this really consumes most of their time; they rarely get a chance to sit down with a few friends with a couple of bottles of wine and chat through the night… and even when they have the time, they seem to have something better to do! The fact is, no other animal feels the need to form and maintain relationships with others in the same way we do. If you have a pet, I’m afraid they only love you because they think they need you to survive as best as they can; it’s what you’ve taught them. But for most people, relationships are important to us regardless of whether they pose us an advantage – we love our parents, for example, until the day they die and beyond, despite any mental deterioration and financial dependence that may arise in their old age.
Success is an interesting concept to consider because it’s definition is hyper-variable from person to person. My copy of The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines it as:
“The accomplishment of an aim or purpose”
You may be surprised as to how general that definition is. Of course, when we talk about success in general we are talking about the success of one’s life; how satisfied we are with the accomplishment of our own personal goals. These vary from person to person from happiness to love, sex, money, power, changing the world, having kids, marriage, having material published in their name – the list is endless. But is there a right or wrong answer?