We, mere mortals, battle our minds, battle our relatives, friends, foes, and life itself to figure out what constitutes as success. All our earthly journeys, in life, are different. Some of us take paths taken by others, due to its ease and perceived destiny. Others seem to be flying by the seat of their pants and somehow, like a cat, end up landing on their feet. Then there are those who drift in and out of the collective consciousness, taking routes that seem inspired by the cosmos. To all of us, on an individual level, success means something altogether different.
The only path I can explain is mine. Where I feel as though I allowed the cosmos to direct me. I screwed up a time or two, or even more. Accounting is not my gig. Misunderstanding the cues is easy. Look at dating, for an awkward person, reading cues is like looking at hieroglyphics, difficult to decipher with little experience. So many people think it is incredibly easy to see the desire in another person’s eyes.
Take for example the people who take virtually no time to study yet ace their tests in school. It is disheartening for those that put in a lot of effort. Then there are the people who flunk out of school and use their street smarts to become a success in the eyes of those that knew them. It is depressing to those that went to school with the intent of becoming a success, then work menial jobs.
Our cultures, which is fairly universal, all tend to equate attending post-secondary schooling as a means to an end. The end being, successful. Our cultures teach us to get a good job, stay there for a while, work our way up the ranks, and voila, each progressive stage equals success. Relationships, we are taught to find a good person who complements you. Give of yourself reciprocally, enjoy the good times, work through the hard times, this equals success.
Relationships, jobs, housing, lifestyles, vacations, children, pets, intelligence, hobbies, volunteer work, total people we impact, all of these are used in finding our own criteria of success. If any one of those listed is broken, or we are not as capable, we are viewed as unsuccessful, or plainly put, a loser. We are easy to stir up the quickest, yet shittiest, assessments of people based on our limited information. Sizing up a person is one tactic used to figure out if a person is worth our time., that comes with years of experience dealing with so many distinct types of people.
Sizing up people utilizes intuition. Some of us can intuit when people are wastes of our time or resources better than others. It seems like a snap judgment, but in reality, it is someone parsing their own database of human encounters, looking for similar characteristics that were exhibited in good and bad experiences. The rubric is simple for those that use their intuition often. They capture data to compare later.
Earlier, I wrote a bunch of blog articles that speak to relationship woes, depression, and other sorts of maladaptive behaviors. This is where I am working through a sticking point of “what does success look like?” How do I resign myself to see what others see as successes in my own life? While I feel like a failure so many times over, those closest to me are debating that ‘fact.’
I have struggled most of my life to combat the challenging history I endured. If I had created a dream board, it would have crossed out the several types of abuses and character flaws that were imposed upon me. Thinking long and hard about preventing me from becoming any of the monsters of my past has been a strong goal. The only reason I refrain from suggesting it should be THE most important goal, is that similar to driving, when you should be concentrating on some tricky driving, if you end up looking away from your focus, you start gravitating towards the area in temporary focus.
One of my observations of humans has been those that want to cut some character flaw from their DNA, they become so blind with rage about it. They end up slowly gravitating towards the very same behaviors. That scares me. This was a lesson I learned vicariously. I am happy I have witnessed these failures to overcome my future problems.
My biological father was a drunk, a wife-beater, and a truck driver. Two of those things are seriously bad, but one is innocuous. All three were clumped up into one, by pure projection. If I were to become a successful truck driver, I MAY become a drunk and wife beater — I cannot abide by this. A concrete decision was made, and it profoundly affected my ability to drive larger than 1-ton trucks for work. I was so scared to be anything like this man, that I’ve accidentally damaged work trucks. I have been fearful of driving them. Like others who wanted to be nothing like a parent, I was over-concentrating on the thing I did not want to become.
A wife beater hasn’t been acceptable for some time. The good ole boys club has a difficult time protecting those that beat spouses. I am grateful for the shift in our culture. In my past, present, and proposed future, I am hyper-aware of my problems, my baggage, and my concern to avoid pitfalls. I had an epiphany about this and why I lose relationships with romantic partners.
In our culture, we celebrate when the ‘high and mighty’ fall. We see it everywhere. Social media, newspapers, news media outlets, and YouTube. Our judgmental society considers it warranted to push hard against those suffering scrutiny’s. It is in our modern DNA to assassinate another person’s credibility with the slip of some keyboard action.
What I figured out, about me, is that there is a high likelihood of me being far more attractive if I imbibed more alcohol, dabbled with substance abuse, had overt anger issues, or was just a regular ole narcissistic scoundrel. Again, the point made earlier is that, we live to celebrate the downfall of the mighty. I am hyper-aware of my past, present, and future. I plod quite carefully, I change direction, and I aim wholeheartedly towards progress. Questionable mannerisms, unhealthy morals, and abuse of ethics are cut from my Atkins Diet of progress.
There is an adage that insanity is defined as: Doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting a different result. From what I see, there is some serious insanity in our world. Being a polemic in this world, seems to be a good thing. Calling into question the direction people muddle up by not deviating from habit, is mind boggling. If a kid recently gets their driver’s license, yet gets in trouble, every single day, going down the same route, getting busted by the same police officer, then by the logic I’ve just shared, this would be insane, right? Wouldn’t one of this kid’s friend call out the obvious? ‘Hey dumbfuck, stop taking the same route or maybe take a different mode of transportation,’ would be in order, right?
None of this is to even remotely call into consideration that I am a perfect heathen. I would be the first to tell you how much of an asshole I am, because of certain boundaries I create around myself. Maintaining my sanity during these hellacious times, is hard fucking work. Neither is it for the meek, nor the weak.
Being self-aware creates its own havoc for those unaccustomed to this behavior. When I reflect on my response to other people’s chaos, often I tend to be a person who calms it. Chaos-whisperer could be my new name. Reassuring those that are important to me (either all the time or merely temporarily) during their difficulties is something I am good at. I can see problem areas, and I tend to try to fix them. Don’t any of you worry; my demons lurk. They are more difficult to see because I keep them under lock and key.
If I was an alcoholic, I could easily be called out as contributing proactively to my experienced problems. If I was a narcotics abuser, the same thing. If I gambled, again, the very same fate. I don’t drink (much – this is true, I am very conservative – going years without a drink isn’t a problem) – I do not smoke – I do not do drugs – I don’t have anger issues – I don’t get into bar brawls – there is very little someone could compare their life to mine and easily say, ‘you are a let down because, fill-in-the-blank problem.’
When I look through the sphere from this angle, I realize, perhaps I’ve been with the wrong people. People unwilling to be challenged to be better, stronger, and consistent versions of themselves, not just for me, but for any other tangential relationship. This thought alone has brought a modicum of personal peace into my mind. It also forces me to have to start assessing the flags earlier on, henceforth.
Vigilance is necessary in reducing the clutter in our lives. If we have someone whose personality shows a lot of giving up at simple or moderately difficult problems in their lives, then that should be a huge fucking flag. This signals that the bigger problems will seem insurmountable, thus unworthy of the discipline of working through it. No one wants to really be with a quitter.
If the problems are far more complicated, and we do not try to simplify the problem, we are fating ourselves to a doom of our own making. This type of behavior rules out the need for conspiracy theorists to weigh in. Success here is found ONLY from giving serious attempt to resolve and resign one’s repeated failed attempts to conquer the issue. Having the discipline to reduce a problem to its core is very useful in working to overcome adversity.
Becoming a harbinger of doom against experienced adversity is a sign of success. Reflecting on where you’ve been, how you’ve responded, and how you intend to prevent your bad behaviors from becoming a primary focus, is the key to creating a successful map. I suspect this is how to reduce the noise of the cruft we hear spinning around in our minds when we inevitably fall prey to the fog. The fog stirs up emotions that many people tend to lose themselves in, I know this because I can speak from loads of experience.
Success has an interesting tally sheet. Successes are viewed differently by each of us. We can fall prey to how society denotes success to our personal plight in life, but it probably is using the wrong map legend. I’ve had to come to terms with my successes of overcoming great adversity multiple times in my life, starting off as a child. I have made active choices to not let my past blind my future or stunt my present. I am far from perfect, and I honestly will never achieve it, nor will I ascribe to such a moronic endeavor. I would advise anyone reading this to choose the right rubric for your life and not allow any overlap from deceitful forces.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!