Is there a standard definition of success? Who sets these standards? Is there a cutoff like board exams? Are parameters of success same for everyone? Does everyone have the same purpose? Should someone else define the aim of my life? Is it necessary that my purpose should remain stoic irrespective of my circumstances? Tough questions that we need to answer for ourselves. When I was young I wanted to be a working lady and when I had a child success started getting defined as bringing him up well, compassionate and emotionally stable which saw me leaving a high paying job and settling for limited part time consultancy near my residence. Success is not an end point like in a fairy tale and they lived happily ever after. It gets redefined with every stage of life.
Marks of the child has become success parameter for our parenting. If our ward gets a good degree from a reputed college we think our job is done. We then consider ourselves successful and pride ourselves. Obviously this translates into pressure of academics while kids are still young? How far away from the truth are we? Google, Tesla and many other companies have said they do not require a college diploma for some of their top jobs. The trend is expected to grow. A study by Dell reported by Huffingtonpost concluded 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. Let that stat really sink in. It’s time we open our eyes to the changing landscape. The over inflated cutoffs will no longer matter neither will the degree.
What will matter is how swiftly one can adapt and learn new skills. What will matter is how beautifully one connects with others either at workplace or home. Some of the so called most successful people have messiest personal lives. Is that what we want for our children? To earn millions but not have peace in our own hearts and home, is that success?
Let your kids decide their own definitions of success based on what gives them joy and make their hearts sing. Based on what they feel they can share with the world lovingly in a productive manner rather than on drudgery of earning a living. Let them decide their terms of success be it material, emotional or spiritual. Let them decide their place of success be it home, farm, school, hospital, office, NGO etc. You fear they will fail if you leave them on their own but that comes from your own predefined definitions of success. But your definitions are not their own so they struggle to keep with it and ironically are more likely to think of themselves as failure. When the definition is their own they are not only more likely to succeed but will enjoy the process and the fruit.
I sing joyfully in my Nano, while you frown in your Jaguar, who is more successful? If your definitions of success are not giving you happiness why not change them? Ditch the fear of losing the known, the known anyways isn’t working? Why keep driving on the path hoping to reach the elusive happiness further along the road when you could find it by just turning around the corner?