Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on the age of success

It seems the clamor of concern over success has increased of late. Or maybe my ears are just more keen to it. Either way...
There's this idea in every achievement junkie's mind about where they'll be and what they'll be doing by a certain age. Maybe its in everyone's mind regardless of how prone to belt notching you are.
Where will you be at 25? or 30? How about 50?
And somehow we place value in successes by age. They graduated college at what age? Retired at 30, seriously? President of the United States and only 40-something?
And somehow those exact same sentiments that make our eyebrows go up suddenly become the new goal for the ambitious and competitive types. And for the rest, the ideas of success by a certain age become that much further out of reach.
I'm coming to hate this elusive pressure of success. The older I get and the less I "achieve" the more I feel I have to make up for each year. And this is coming from an admitted achievement-aholic!
I think so many people feel this way. I thought I'd be at least a director by age 30. Or I figured I'd be married by now. And there are so many of these crazy ideas that we just magically place in our head either through sanguine eyes or perceived societal norms.

And now I wonder, where did these ideas come from?

And now I wonder, when I came to have so little faith in God's divine timing?

And now I wonder, who did I allow define success for me?

I know I've been posting a lot of articles lately but I think there are a lot of interesting things out there to read. So heres another one, titled: How Will You Measure Your Life? by a distinguished professor at Harvard Business School named Clayton M. Christensen. Since most of you (myself included) probably don't have an HBR subscription, here it is on some random dude's blog.

I like this article because here is an incredibly successful man in the eyes of the world, let alone the HBS students listening to him as he imparts this wisdom, and he doesn't tout his worldy achievements. He discusses what success has really meant to him. I suspect that his ability to keep this perspective was one of the reasons God blessed him so much in his worldly successes. I like when he writes, "It’s quite startling that a significant fraction of the 900 students that HBS draws each year from the world’s best have given little thought to the purpose of their lives." I think how true that must be. That here we have some of the world's best and brightest, those who have structured their entire lives to achieve achieve ACHIEVE, and yet, not even they have the foggiest idea about what they really want out of life.

Its a crazy rat race. I find myself guilty of committing the "success" by a certain age crime. But I'd like to stop. I'd like to ask what I really want, ask what God wants for me, and have faith that all things will take place in their proper time.

Thats what I'm striving for.

By age 28.

at the least. ;)

1 comment:

Leah Stone said...

are we going to continue this post and respond to each other's worries all week. I think that sounds like fun. Nice job.