When talking about success, many people view it as being some big accomplishment. Examples would be opening a business, making lots of money, being admitted to a prestigious college, etc. Alain de Botton is here to tell us otherwise. He says that success can be something as small as turning in your homework on time, or even just getting out of bed in the morning. Success is defined only as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; this leaves it totally open to interpretation, and allows for the smallest victories to be considered success.
One very important thing Alain says is that we all need to make sure that our ideas of success are, in fact, our own. This can be difficult due to the fact that sometimes we are tricked into believing our definition of success is ours, but it really is not. Society has set standards to which everyone is held, but it is hardly fair because no two people are identical. Albert Einstein has a quote that reads, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” I think this sums up today’s society perfectly. We expect everyone to have aptitudes for the same things, and when they don’t, they are labeled as dumb or an imbecile. This is not the case though, as they may be good at other things. I know that I am not very good at math, but ask me to draw or perform a piece from a play or musical and I will probably at least meet your expectations.
Another point de Botton made was that no one can be successful at everything, which ties in perfectly with my prior topic of discussion. I might be good in English class, but fail physics. Meanwhile, my brother might pass physics with flying colors, but struggle with anything remotely language arts related. One can also be successful in things other than school; look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Some people may excel in more things than others, but there is nothing anyone can do about that. Life is life, and we just have to live it.