The misleading culture of success

Like anyone else, I feel better or hopeful when I hear a good story about success. If it’s Cinderella type, I feel even better. Though, I have a note to that. These stories are always told after, not before and not during.

After is nice. But it’s too late. The world is moving very fast nowadays. We need inspiration and guiding in real time.

We need to connect with people who are struggling as hard as we do at the same time we do in order to learn from each other’s trials and errors, to breath through one another. And by all these, to push each other further, to get each other out of the dark.

We don’t need fake smiles, shallow politeness and positive thinking crap.

We don’t need to pretend we are ok if we are not, to laugh when we feel like screaming, to mimic perfectness when we are in pain, to speak when we want to keep the silence. All this waste of energy and focus just to look good in front of the people, just to look strong and shinny.

Maybe more than ever in this more and more complex world where our generations face unthinkable challenges and where each day gets harder than the day before, we need to be authentic, and more than that, we need to be on time for each other.

I believe we live times when it is more important to share to each other our struggling stories at the time they happen than success stories after their protagonists get over the struggling part. Maybe this way there will be more success stories.

Struggling stories turning into success stories in real time.

Maybe someone with resources and better venues will create such a platform one day. A platform where people who are (a little) better to be connected in real time with people who are worse, so they can help each other directly and in real time.

When you hear entrepreneurs, they fail more times than they succeed. Too bad so few talk about it, about how it feels, how they get through rough times, how rough times look like and how they overcome adversities.

When you hear open innovation solvers, some waited for years to win the first award for their solutions, some sent an impressive number of solutions in order to win once and some accepted the thought of sending high-value solutions for an offensive low payment just because they love the world more, just because they have a vision and they stick to it. What motivates these people to keep rolling the dice when the odds are so small?

When you hear your refugee friends struggling to hold on against all odds somewhere in a camp from Netherlands or France or Germany, you wonder… what do I know about trauma, hardships and pain? How these people and their children hang on? The war is a trauma, the loss of their beloved ones is a trauma, the cultural differences are a trauma itself, the daily suicides of the ones around them is another trauma, the lack of conditions is a trauma, you just can’t stop counting highly traumatic daily events. What can heal that? How these people manage to keep their motivation to live alive?

For most of us in the real world success means nothing but managing to wake up next morning. To deal with the growing pain and stress on our own. And when you are by yourself in this crowded world and fully responsible for making that one dollar out of nothing in order to pay the rent and the food for one more month, that’s notable success.

Loads of talented people, no matter where they live, spend their whole life from one day, day by day, working just to cover their basic living costs. The line of extreme poverty went lower. The money lost so much of its value. Many of us are caught up in a life that demands more and more each day. More of our time and more of our money. This is so upside-down and vicious.

It’s nothing wrong with being depressed or confused in this more and more delicate context. Under the stigma and pressure of the misleading culture of success and normality, you may be feeling even worse than that. You may be feeling a loser, an abnormal creature that wasn’t able to have his/her own car, house, family with kids, to travel the world at least once and to gather loads of savings in the bank.

It’s ok. It’s legal. It’s natural. You don’t have to be successful in that way. You don’t have to be anything you are not. No fear justifies such self-forgetfulness. The world is just not the same anymore.

It’s true, we live troubled times and we hardly figure out how to reach from one day to another. Each of us is caught up in his/her own pain, struggles and frustrations. Each is squeezed and burned out by his/her own growing hardships. We are more and more blinded and deaf to each other for the sick of our own survival and safeness. That’s a dangerous path.

But I wonder…What kind of survival is this? What is so safe about it? What kind of success does it guarantee?

I fear we are in danger to become smaller and smaller. This can’t be the way. This can’t be.

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