It is common knowledge that we live in a society driven by the constant pursuit of individuality, a society divided into multiple socially enforced norms, whether they encourage positive, or negative behavior. In my view however, there is one in particular that stands out. And that is the Norm of Success. According to this perception, it is the human nature, the natural evolution that propel human beings to succeed, or rather, condemn them to do so.
As a young girl, who grew up and lived in a small village somewhere in the Greek coastline for the first 18 years of my life, I had the time to observe and assimilate the key characteristics that are incorporated into a villager’s mindset. The latter, I find, is mostly shaped by the way he/she was raised within his/her family and the prevailing values that are representative within the community. According to those differences, I hold the impression that are mainly 3 patterns that characterize young people who live in villages, concerning the way they perceive their hometown.
Firstly, the “minimalist” ones. Those are the ones who actually like this simple lifestyle, the routine they have and opt for a peaceful, yet fulfilling future within the village borders. They are not planning on becoming the next business-suit-owners walking down Wall Street, but they are pleased with this decision anyway.
Secondly, you have the desperate-to-go-big ones. Those youngsters are determined to follow their dreams and aspirations. They may not have the means, or the support to do so, but their resourcefulness and optimistic attitude allows them to achieve everything they set their mind to. A vibrant city is most likely to be the perfect place for them.
Lastly, we have the desperate-to-leave ones. The ones who hopelessly want to move out of their village and see the life beyond. The difference here is that they don’t know how to achieve that, and they usually tend to keep a pessimistic attitude about this “unrealistic” ability of theirs. It is possible that they will compromise for their family home.
Allow me to elaborate more on the last two categories.
What separates prominently those two, is on the one hand the good management and on the other the mismanagement of information. What I mean is that our era is considered to be an era of equal opportunities, most of those don’t need to be right next door, since you are probably already holding them in your hand. Yes! I’m referring to the Internet which if used properly, could help you realize some of your wildest dreams, inform you about the alternatives you have and prevent you from following a lifestyle which you don’t desire. Internships, job openings, national or European programs and volunteer opportunities domestic or abroad are just some of them.
The village mindset, the most likely close-minded community where I grew up and many people do, will incite you to aim low and come after the trodden path, the expected one. But what really distinguish the desperate-to-go-big and the desperate-to-leave ones is that the former use this desperation in their own interests and treat a crisis as a challenge, or rather, as an invitation to open a new window, which they know will not lead them anywhere just because it’s open, unless they are ready to observe the view.
So, the Norm of Success is usually identified with money, fame or power. In my opinion though, success closely associates with emotional balance, internal fulfillment, the power of giving back. And it always comes as an outcome of failure, which to experience also means to experience the desire and realize that sometimes is more powerful than any opposition.
So what’s your most profound desire?
Your personal definition of success?