Social Question

fathippo's avatar

What do you think about the way society seems to categorise and judge peoples' 'success'?

Asked by fathippo (746points) February 12th, 2010

I don’t really like the word success, but I don’t want to start making up my own words, it would cause too many problems… =)

Anyway, it’s kind of been making me angry lately =P, hearing on the radio, tv and in newspapers etcetc, the way that that society – or whatever is the right word – seems to (I’m going to end up saying this all wrong) idolise fame and almost sees everyone/ lots of other people as less and like they are living there pointless little lives beneath all that.

Firstly, we don’t actually know, what it could be that influences the paths our lives take, and for every single person every single thing that happens could be showing us exactly what we need to be shown. Sorta thing, but I won’t rant =)
So, why would people think that you are less important when really every person alive is here just as unexperienced as everyone else and just experiencing earth as they need/ want to experience it?
And also, the way people keep throwing around the word ‘talent’, labeling some people as having a whole load of it, and making it seem like other have none: isn’t it that everybody does? In so many different ways, and some people might not ever know of it, some people might not ever develop it or pay much attention, and some people might do, but still everyone must have things in them, even if it has only ever been subtlety shown…
Lastly =), it’s like people got caught up in things like ‘success’, and ‘fame’ and ‘wealth’, but when all these things are portrayed in the media, it seems that it’s forgotten about themselves deep within their minds, or their souls that might exist beyond the dimensions/planes of existence we know… or there are loads of ways you can put it, but it seems that is what really would matter (?) not earth ideals (...?).
PS! I kept saying ‘everyone’ but I don’t mean everybody on Earth, I was more meaning just the places I’d seen all this stuff, and it was easier to put it like that, sorry =)

I know it might just be that people with different personalities see things differently, eg. i was reading this thing about infp people, and although I guess you can’t categorise too much, apparently we’re not that infatuated with humans =P So sorry…

Also, sorry for moaning =/.
And feel free to beat me because I did go on for quite a while. =)

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16 Answers

slick44's avatar

Who cares what others think, Its what you think thats important. If you feel sucessfull, thats good enough.

marinelife's avatar

First, you need to stop applying the measuring stick of fame and talent to your own self.

If you did that, you would not be worried about what “everyone else” is thinking or doing.

Ignore the media’s obsession with fame and talent and wealth.

Live your own life.

fathippo's avatar

@marinelife i try to i just can’t help being angry with it, because it has so much power over people, i dont know

Cruiser's avatar

It’s called reality and most people I know are fairly familiar with the term. Once you are out in the real world you get acquainted with what is realistic in terms of ones “God given” abilities you should realize your own potential for achievement of realistic goals. But ones ability to set and achieve goals is where the differences lies in ones ability to achieve said success. Not everybody wants to “be like Mike” and achieve fame and fortune and frankly, some of the happiest people I know are of modest means.

phoebusg's avatar

Success should be mostly defined by one’s own directions in life. There are successes that generalize, however, but even then there are so many categories that might as well leave it to the person. Raising a family is a success, finishing school is a success, being a good painter is a success, being a good XYZ. But all these sometimes seem like end-achievements. Success is not about ends, it’s about journeys and effort.
Are you working on your plan every day? Putting a lot of work into that? You are successful, because it’s every step you take and keep taking that makes you successful – not the ends – and especially not the ends only recognized by other people.

The_Idler's avatar

The establishment’s definition of success: the degree to which one serves the establishment.

sdeutsch's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, comparing what I want to do with my life and what the rest of the world would think about whether that was “successful ” or not. I highly recommend Hugh MacLeod’s book Ignore Everybody – it’s full of really great insight about doing what you love and how to balance that with what you see as “success” (ignoring what the world at large considers successful). I just finished it last night, and it gave me a lot of perspective on my life and my goals. I won’t try to summarize here, since Hugh puts it much more eloquently than I ever could, but if you want a taste of it, you can read the series of blog posts that it’s based on here.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@sdeutsch – I’ve read his site. I didn’t know he had a book. I love his work!

@fathippo – You and every other person over the age of say, 16, can make a choice as to how to live life. That’s a huge responsibility. Sometimes, that would mean going against the group. That would mean taking a risk, and actually sitting down with one’s self and making a plan and sticking to it, even if the rest of the world shuns you. Most people are afraid to do this, and that’s why a lot of people let the media set the standard. This may be frustrating to you, but that’s how it is.

If all you can do to help people free themselves is as an example in living with minimal media influence, then be that role model. The important thing is to think about what’s important to you and to live your life by the values that resonate with you, in what you consume, in relationships, with your work, at play, in contributing to your community, etc. Take your frustrations and use them to find out what you truly care about and get to it.

thriftymaid's avatar

Success means different things to different people.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I measure “success” by my own yardstick, and it has little or nothing to do with “fame and fortune.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Some people really do have more talent than others and some people are more successful than others – this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all strive to find what’s best in ourselves and live our life in a meaningful way for us and not for those people on TV. I’d never want fame or wealth in the way it’s portrayed but I do want to be successful in what I find deem important, to me and my family.

bean's avatar

You have a goal, you reach that goal good on you!:)
humans beings are very judging, we have really good side and we have really dark sides to our nature… Most important thing is don’t let people get you down.
judging some one is just labels and negativity… when that happen you know theres something special about you and that your suppose to do something great in life.

evandad's avatar

@thriftymaid – It does indeed.

evandad's avatar

The only thing that really counts is if you look out for the little ones. Everything else is chasing your tail.

DrMC's avatar

negating success creates a society that is gray static and run down, like communist Russia. Worshiping success creates the US mainstream media and hollywierd, which is worse.

Know your own paws, know your jungle. Eat your bamboo, live free and avoid humans.

Be brave grasshopper.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know why “society” does anything. Society is made up of many individuals. Society does not have its own brain.

What is success? I like what @phoebusg said. Your life is your process, and you don’t have to “get” anywhere in order to be happy with what you’ve done.

Success is about having other people validate what you do. People who need success are insecure people who have no way of valuing themselves. I should know. I’m one of them. I need people to love me because otherwise I have no idea if what I’ve done is of value to anyone else. If people don’t love me, I don’t feel like I exist.

It’s worse than that, though. There’s never enough love. Once one person loves me, there will be a time when I feel good. But then it wears off, and I need someone else to reconfirm me. I just don’t have anything inside me that affirms myself.

And I don’t think you can just will yourself to live for what you are doing instead of living for some feedback about what you are doing. I don’t think there are all that many people who can “stay tru to themselves” without any support from others.

Anyway, if you care about what “society” thinks, you are doomed to a never-ending process of running to keep yourself relevant. You’ll need to have greater and greater feats of derrng-do. You’ll always be subject to “what have you done for me lately?”

I do a lot of things because I want to. People say I have many talents. I don’t believe in talent. I think talent is something that comes with a lot of practice. If you put in the hours, you get good at it, and people think you have talent. That’s because few of them actually see the work it took to acquire talent.

My life is very precarious. I live for people to like me, and if they don’t, it totally throws me. I can lose sleep over it. It changes my behavior. I try very hard to please.

It’s worse because I can’t be anyone other than who I am. I’ve tried to be someone else and failed. People always see through my attempts to pretend. So I have to find some way of being myself yet also pleasing others. It’s not easy to do. Many times I go a long time between compliments. So long, that I don’t believe them when they come. I’ve gotten so used to seeing myself as a dumb stupid=head.

It’s a game I can’t win, and a game I can’t stop playing. There’s another word for that: gambling. The house always wins when you gamble. If you are the house, you win. Don’t be a gambler like me. Find a way to be the house.

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