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Why I've Decided to Stop Seeking Success (and What True Success Looks Like)



BIBLICAL POINT OF REFERENCE:

"My son, do not forget my teaching, take to heart my commands; For many days, and years of life, and peace, will they bring you. Do not let love and fidelity forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.Then will you win favor and esteem before God and human beings."

~Proverbs 3:1-4

Something that seems to have been ingrained in my mind throughout college is that you will not be happy unless you are successful. That’s why you go to school, spend so much money, and take the all too many classes every major requires. By doing this, you are qualified to have a great job that pays you great money and gives you a great life. Success leads to money, money leads to power, power leads to recognition, rewards, and the works. That's just how it goes.

This is the cycle our young adults of today are learning at a fairly fundamental level. While I would never suggest that the only thing people care about is money, fame, and power, it definitely is talked about and sought out to an unhealthy degree.

As a young college graduate, my thirst for success is much like anyone with a Type-A personality: I am eager to prove myself, live comfortably, and establish my importance in the grueling business world. You could say my ambition has guaranteed that I will stay on that path as I work my way up the professional ladder. What that ambition hasn’t done is taught me to care about other people.

Earlier this summer, while holding a different position at the company I work for, I made everything about me: my projects, my leadership, my communication, my success. And every time I put my own interests above someone else, I found myself disliking the person I was becoming more and more. I was emotional, irrational, and caught up in my wants. I sought only my own happiness, and the quality of work I put into my job rested solely on how I could rise in the company.

What a terrible way to start off a career. What a terrible way to waste an education. What a terrible way to treat others around me.

And what a terrible way to dishonor God with all He has given me.

Despite all my selfishness, it was God who placed my new position at my company in front of me—and it was just what I needed.

This new role wasn’t about my personal success. This new role wasn’t nearly as glamorous or flashy as I would have initially wanted it to be. But it was humbling, it was encouraging, and it was impactful in my every day life. The people I now get to work with are kind, compassionate, patient, and understanding. And it has been in working with these people that I have come to start working for them as opposed to for me.

In order for businesses to keep running, people have to work together, collaborate, and do everything they can to see every process runs smoothly. People notice a team player, and they paint team players in a better light than those who simply yearn for more power than they already have. I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve learned how to be a team player, and honestly, I’ve never felt happier in my job. And I’ve never felt more grateful to God for giving me that peace of mind. I've also never felt as successful in professional life as I do now. I still have a long way to go, but focusing on the little joys that help others throughout my days has allowed me to set aside that almost-irresistible craving for more.

You don’t need success to be happy. Anyone who tells you that you do is lying. You need God, and you need the people around you to learn from. With that being said, live courageously, laugh uncontrollably, and love wholeheartedly.

Your Laughing Sister,

Callahan

Check out the WISDOM and HAPPINESS quotes pages for more inspiration!


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