EDITOR’S NOTE – MAY

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Success – or something like it

Like many of you, I have a couple of social media “friends” that often share inspirational quotes and images. You know, the “wow you just summed up my whole existence in one sentence” grab by a vaguely familiar sounding self-styled guru, set to the backdrop of an impossibly beautiful mountain range scene.

I have to say, I hate them. Maybe it’s just sour grapes because I’m not a 23 year old buffed millionaire half-way along the path to true enlightenment. Or maybe it’s just that rather than find those quotes inspiring, I find them shallow and judgemental.

Here’s an example to which I took exception (and soon after, the ‘friend’ and every one of his 3,245 friends took exception to my exception).

“The comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”

Believe it or not, upon reading that my first thought was not “wow that’s the kick up the butt I really needed, better get out of my pajamas – thank you Mr Miyagi!”

No, it was “well if you’re already in a beautiful place, why the great rush to go somewhere else?” followed by “what’s ‘growth’ anyway, and who says it’s so important?”

The truth is, the in-box that is our attention span is constantly flooded with cryptic messages which on the surface appear positive and encouraging, but are really just cheap, smug snippets which the person sharing doesn’t truly understand anway, that only serve to point out how we are failing. They make assumptions about the value of ‘success’ and our need for it, define our current worth, and point us in the direction of a salvation determined by others.

We now rely on celebrities, comedians and bloggers – with varying degrees of knowledge and qualifications – to dictate how we should (must) live our lives. Again it comes back to information overload. The end result is that our resting brains have become a whirling kaleidoscope of messages that demand we quit sugar, eat superfoods, earn more, crawl through fire and mud, and generally be perfect. Well I don’t want to do any of those things – I don’t see any useful correlation between any of them and growth, self-improvement or happiness – whatever they are.

Is your value measured by others? Or are you empowered to determine your own definition of growth and success and not let outside influences devalue that.

Now that sounds like a beautiful place to be.

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