I’m not tech savvy enough to know exactly how computer algorithms work, but I do know my phone (and hence Google) pay a great deal of attention to every link I click. So I’ve started to see a number of recommended articles surrounding workplace culture and personal development. Which fits. I don’t love that I’m being stalked by a tech company, but in this case, they are at least somewhat accurate, and I do occasionally get some good recommendations out of it.
However, this past week the algorithm failed greatly when it suggested an article called “Why Most People Will Never Be Successful“. I’ve linked it here, because I try to be open about my sources, but I honestly don’t recommend it.
It essentially breaks down to, “I have a very narrow definition of success, everyone needs to be exactly this same way in their own lives, and if you waste time on anything not deemed hugely important by others, it’s your own fault for not having everything you want”.
I probably don’t have to specify the author’s demographics here. You already know.
At one point, I was tempted to write a line by line reason for why this article was so off the mark, but then I realized this gives it too much importance.
So some blowhard thinks he’s got special insight into success. So it just happens to fit with the way he lives his life. There’s a million more like him. Our society as a whole has a very narrow definition of what success is. It’s a extremely biased definition, that ignores real world challenges and difficulties for those not born at the pinnacle of privilege.
It’s frustrating, and yet it’s also tiresome to go ranting and raving about the obvious inanities of trying to define something as nebulous as success for the billions of humans in existence.
So for today, as one of those humans, who is trying, day by day, to dismantle all of the internal insecurities foisted on me by the culture in which I live, I just want to say this.
I believe that our success is up to us. I believe that you, and I, have inherent value that is completely separate from what we produce. I believe that a person being a good friend puts more value in the world than someone inventing an app that makes millions. I believe that others will always try to bring you down because they’re scared of their own inability to measure up. And I believe that there will come a day where we learn to drown out those voices and just enjoy being who we are, without tearing ourselves apart over who we one day could be.
What do you believe about success?