In society today, success is often viewed in terms of external achievements – wealth, fame, assets, and professional accomplishments. However, there is another, deeper understanding of success, one that is tied to personal development and inner peace. This article will delve into the contrast between these two notions of success, referencing thought leaders like Eckhart Tolle and Jordan Peterson, along with Christian theology.
Societal success: The illusion of happiness
Societal success revolves around achievements that are visible and quantifiable. Wealth, fame, and a prosperous career are commonly accepted indicators of success. Such measures have their merits, as they offer a tangible sense of progress and can improve quality of life. However, they can also contribute to an illusion of happiness. It's easy to believe that attaining these measures will lead to happiness. But is this really the case?
Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist, highlights the potential pitfalls of equating material success with happiness. He argues that chasing after wealth and fame can divert us from the truly important aspects of life such as personal growth and developing meaningful relationships.
Personal development: The path to inner peace
Contrasting with societal success, personal development involves inner growth. This form of success may not always be visible to others, but it can lead to a lasting and profound sense of satisfaction.
Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author, emphasises the importance of the present moment in achieving inner peace. He encourages us to let go of anxieties about the past and future, and to instead focus on the here and now. According to Tolle, this present focus can lead to greater peace and happiness than any external achievement can offer.
Similarly, Christian theology teaches the importance of virtues such as humility, compassion, and love. These qualities, often overlooked in the pursuit of societal success, are regarded as key to a fulfilled and meaningful life.
Striking a balance
Neither societal success nor personal development are inherently negative or positive. Instead, they offer different paths to what we perceive as happiness. Societal success can provide comfort and security, while personal development offers inner peace and fulfilment.
However, it is important to remember that these two forms of success aren't mutually exclusive. Wealth and fame won't necessarily lead to happiness, and a focus on personal development doesn't require renouncing societal success.
Ultimately, a balanced approach that values both external achievements and inner growth can lead to a comprehensive form of success. By recognising the merits of both, we can strive for a life that not only looks successful on the outside, but also feels fulfilling on the inside.
The definition of success is as individual as each of us. As we navigate life, it's essential to define what success means personally. Whether that includes societal achievements, personal development, or a mixture of both, understanding our own version of success can guide us towards a fulfilling life. As we continue on this journey, let's remember the words of Albert Einstein: "Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."