I was recently diagnosed with an annoying eye condition called blepharitis which causes dry eyes and is treated by lying back with a hot compress on your eyes for 10 minutes a day. I have been persistently ignoring this advice for the last month since I saw the optician but with more and more dryness I finally caved and bought myself what I’ll term the “blepharitis survival kit”. Tonight was my first session of lying flat with the hot compress and I decided to pass the time by listening to a ted talk from Alan de Botton on what it means to be successful.
He made many good points in the (I think he’s awesome) but the one that really jumped out was the importance of finding a vision of success that is yours, not your parents, societies or something you’ve been otherwise conditioned to believe. This got me thinking that many of the things that have driven me in life to this point – financial security, doing well in school, working late and being a loyal and trustworthy employee, never saying no to a work request no matter how annoying and so on – are things my parents instilled in me from a very young age, but are they really what I hold dear? Undoutedly they have served me well and got me to a place where I’m reasonably secure financial and able to do many things I want with my spare time, but are they really what will make me happy in the long term?
I think the answer is in fact no. They’re important in terms of giving me and my future family a comfortable life but they in themselves aren’t the reason for being. I don’t want to work late out of loyalty to my employer, yes that is important but I want the overriding motivation to be a happy future with ben and my friends and family. I want my life to be about finding the joy in every moment, the good in other people and helping them to see it in each other.