Success. It is something that everybody strives for, and for some it is this ideal of success that makes them feel complete. But what is success? How do we know when we have it? And is our relentless and tireless effort to find it wasted?

Good morning/afternoon! Today’s post is about success, how we define it, what is wrong with the definition, why we believe it and how we should define it.

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I am sure many of you are aware of how western culture defines success and just how wrong it can be. Success is something everybody wants. And many people have been manipulated into thinking of it in the wrong ways. When we measure success in problematic and misleading ways we are bound to encounter predicaments.

Current definition of success

The oxford dictionary defines success as : “The fact that you have achieved something that you want and have been trying to do or get; the fact of becoming rich or famous or of getting a high social position.”

This is a half a definition. Success is not a one size fits all thing. It is immeasurable as every single person is solely and uniquely themselves, therefore having unique and varying lives. Which consequently results in us having a loose term.

Another point worthy of raising in this article is that success is not money, fame or status. Too often do we allow ourselves to be convinced it is, but success is not wealth, nor is it fame, nor power.

What is wrong with this definition?

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Our definition of success comes from many years of stereotypes, falsehoods and ultimately lies that have been planted in our brains. We are constantly being spoon-fed information from all sorts of places and our brain adapts to this new information accordingly. Through use of media, this is how we allow ourselves to be manipulated; we do not distinguish the truth from the lies. We therefore allow ourselves to be persuaded into striving for an ideal that is eluded from our reach consistently.

When we continuously make strenuous and draining efforts to accomplish something that constantly moves further and further from our reach it takes a toll on our mental state of being.

Falling victim to this cycle of strenuous futile effort, is dangerous. There is much research to show that setting impossible targets drastically increases your risk of mental illness.

Ultimately this continuous strive for “success” is almost like perfectionism. Having to have what we consider to be the perfect life.

In a study conducted by social psychologist Thomas Curran, it was found that more now than ever the “drive of having a perfect body, mind and career” is being indoctrinated in people. Dr Curran say that this is “not only a result of parents are pushing their children harder but rather a larger shift in ideology in a societal level”. According to the same study, pushing people for greatness does not always create inspiration but on the contrary, has detrimental effects on ones mental wellbeing.

After some research I believe striving to please others and achieve an elusive form of “success“ is very much connected to the idea of perfectionism.

Achieving ultimate wealth, fame and power is something many people would deem as perfect a perfect life or “success”. It is also as I previously stated elusive. It is a cycle of which there is no end and no reward. It is not difficult to understand how mentally draining this would be.

Who is feeding us these ideas?

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As mentioned before we are constantly being spoon-fed information. From where? Mainly the media. The media are not the only cause but they are a big one.

It is now becoming more and more well known how manipulative the media is. That everything we see is being sent to us. It is no secret that social media can be a very negative thing and it is for this reason exactly. Seeing people with so called “perfect lives” makes us feel like we are not enough. We then therefore strive to be like these people who we have deemed “enough”.

When we see these people with their perfect lives they seem so happy, so content and it really does seem perfect.

So as human beings we feel the need to be happy, content and perfect. This all contributes to your perception of the world around you.

Who is benefiting from these falsehoods?

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The answer is the rich, elitist, famous and powerful.

One thing that I don’t think people realise is that by setting these impossible goals we are consequently idolising those who have achieved them.

We idolise them by following, liking, reading, buying etc we endorse these people. Which subsequently gives them more money, more fame and more power. The people who benefit are benefiting because of our idolisation. We are the ones who give these people more power money and fame.

It is yet again another cycle. We keep giving them more, and so than the bar gets higher, and higher. The expectations rise. These people benefit whilst we work on achieving something that we are likely never to accomplish.

Redefining Success

So now that I have rambled on about all the things that are wrong with our definition of success you are probably asking “well what should I define success as?” And that is what I’m about to answer.

Now I personally don’t think there is a set definition of success and if there is I don’t know it. Success is something that will vary from person to person. However with all that said this is how I define success: achieving something of which you had desired to accomplish; the positive impact you leave on the world. Now obviously not everybody is going to have the same resources or experiences so my definition is not perfect either. But for me personally this is a good and relevant definition.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope that you were able to gain something from this post! If you enjoyed this post and wish to see more articles such as this one please consider dropping a follow. Have an amazing day!

Systemic Racism (understanding it and where it came from)

Systemic racism by definition is a form of racism that is embedded as a normal practice within a society or organisation. Systemic racism (also known as institutional racism) is a global problem, which needs to be dealt with on a global scale. As a result , systemic racism isn’t something that is easily fixed. It is often engraved in peoples thought patterns from a young age and is passed on through generations, so when a person grows up believing in the division of the races it is often quite difficult to convince them otherwise. Even people who do believe in unity can sometimes have a closed mindset on the topic and here’s why.

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It is a common misconception that racism started with a misunderstanding. That black and white people met and because they didn’t look the exact same they considered each other abnormal and acted under the falsehood that they were not the same species. And most people believe some variation of that story.

The problem with this is not only that it is false but also that it gives people an excuse to sit on their hands. Some white people look at that story and think because it was a misunderstanding, racism is a black person problem to solve.

This is true for a proportion of the world population; that they aren’t necessarily “racist” they just don’t believe its their problem to deal with. But the truth is, it is very much a white person problem, more so than a black person problem. To fully understand why that is and what us white people can do, we first need to understand where these unethical beliefs came from.

“The opposite of racist isn’t non-racist, it’s anti-racist.”

Ibram X. Kendi

Dr Ibram Kendi, one of the leading scholars in racism and author of the New York Times bestselling book “How to be an Anti-Racist”, has found what he believes to be the start of systemic racism. He believes that racism was first dominant around the 1450’s when slave traders tied to the Portuguese crown used racism as a way of justifying a poor decision. These particular slave traders were the first to travel to sub Saharan Africa. Upon their arrival they promptly enslaved groups of African people, and to justify what they had done, to themselves, and the world they lied. They claimed that the Africans were unintelligent and inferior. Therefore making it “ok” to strip them of basic human rights.

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John Biewen a friend of Dr Ibram Kendi, journalist and documentarian gave a speech on the issue. He said that the whole idea of “blackness” and “whiteness” began then and there, and that it didn’t take long for other European countries to follow in their footsteps and adopt these unethical and racist ideas. He then went on to tell us that there is no such thing as “blackness” and “whiteness” that racism is a mental block. A mindset that is based off of a lie.

“Denial is the heartbeat of racism.”

Ibram X. Kendi

Dr Biewen also states that racism is a white person problem. It began with a lie, a lie that a white person told in order to justify a poor decision. To supposedly “right a wrong”. He then goes on to tell us we need not to feel guilty about the wrongs of our ancestors but to take on a sense of responsibility. Which I agree with entirely. Our history as the human race is not pretty, it is full of violence, irrationality, lies and hurt. However we must not only reconcile these past mistakes with the descendants of the victims but with ourselves as well. We no longer live in the 1450’s, the times have changed, so have the people, so should the thinking. This isn’t only meant to mean being racist or homophobic or sociopathic etc it is also about how we view solutions. If the people have changed the problems and solutions will change with us.

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Dr Kendi spoke of the current causes of racism in his interview with The Undefeated. He talks about where racism comes from now. He tells us that these days racism is not out of hate or ignorance but more so out of self – interest. Dr Kendi claims that “education, love and exemplary black people won’t solve racism”.

I would also like to mention that culture is built from us, the people. Therefore collectively we can rebuild culture. And redefine “normal”.

White people need to understand that racism is as much their problem as it is a Black persons problem. People need to understand that there is no such thing as “blackness” and “whiteness” that racism is a mental block, and to fix racism we need to make a mindset switch.

Thank you for reading this post. It is incredibly important to me that these messages are heard and I am thrilled to have been able to pass this one on to you. If you would like to read more on major world problems and what we can do about them be sure to follow this blog. Anyways thanks for reading have an amazing day.

For anyone interested in John Biewen’s TED talk I’ve linked it here.

An Unpopular Opinion

Good morning/afternoon! Today I will be writing what I realise will be a controversial post. I would like to apologise if this post is in any way shape or form offensive. I would also like to issue a disclaimer: this is my own personal opinion, all opinions in this post are my own. I am by no stretch of the imagination a qualified scholar on any of the issues in this post nor do I know what it feels like to be personally persecuted or to watch my own be persecuted for any of them and I am aware of this fact. These opinions have been formed by conversations, essays, articles, speeches and personal experiences. Please respect my opinion as I respect yours.

Now moving on to the post!

I for a while now have understood that I am lucky. I am lucky because I have a house to live in. I can walk down the street without feeling afraid. I can wear what I please. Have the opinions I have. Love who I want. Achieve what I set my mind to. And ultimately, be who I please.

It is not like that for everyone.

In this post I am once again voicing an opinion.

Most of the time you will find me agreeing with the activists, scholars, lawyers etc but I do have one thing where I will beg to differ, and I have been seeing it for years, in speeches, books, conferences, rallies even TV shows…..

In order to be an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, the indigenous people, disabled people etc you have to believe that we are all the same. That you have to be comfortable talking about these issues. That you have to be willing to forget the past for a better future.

I don’t believe any of these statements to be true. I believe in order to be an ally of the ostracised groups you must accept that we ARE different. That we aren’t the same, we come from different places, we do things differently, we believe different things and our appearances will differ but that’s ok.

I also believe that it is 100% normal to be uncomfortable talking about these issues. For example I used to be extremely uncomfortable talking about racism, do I still experience mild discomfort talking about it? Yes. Does it mean I’m racist? No. Well, I don’t think so anyways. Being uncomfortable is normal, and it is ok. If someone is discussing something with you and you feel uncomfortable. Good. Be uncomfortable. Because in my understanding it means you care. Think about this. If I went to a racist and began discussing racism and they were not at all uncomfortable the chances are they do not care. But if I went to a “racist” and began talking about racism and they were uncomfortable they probably do deep down feel some form of empathy.

You may then ask if they do care why do they continue to be that way? And may I add that, that is a very good question. It probably means that there is some deeper issue. That they think being that way will be of profit to them. If you were poor and could barely afford food for you, your husband and your children, and the only source of income was your job you would be feeling pretty keen to keep that job. So what happens if discrimination stops and Eddie the transgender aboriginal woman who is 10x more qualified than you are, can now take you’re job because she’s know longer being discriminated against? What happens to you and your family?

From what I understand there is a population of people under this banner. That are afraid of what change means for them. Some of them have very good reason to be afraid. What is needed is a safety net. A way to look after those people, but that’s another days discussion. My point is that they probably do care, they are just afraid.

Lastly I want to mention the belief of “forget the past for a better future” or some variation of that phrase. Our history is what makes us. I will agree that it is ugly and wrong and filled to the brim with injustice, lies and violence, but it is still there. It will always be there. There is no hiding that white man invaded most of the nations on the planet, that they killed and tortured. I’m sorry but there isn’t any hiding that there were slaves. And for my country, Australia, there is no hiding that for many years the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were regarded as plants, not only that but in their own nation where they had been living peacefully for 40 000 years.

I know it is horrible, I too was ashamed to think that I am white. That my ancestors committed all these horrible crimes. But you know what? I shouldn’t. I am a firm believer that we should not feel guilty about the crimes committed in the past, but feel responsible for the reconciliation of all the different people.

I think that forgetting our past is going to solve as much as removing Hatshepsut from the Egyptian line of pharaohs did (For those of you who don’t know that story Hatshepsut was the first woman pharoah. Her and evidence of her reign was found and she was put back in the history books). We need to remember what happened and learn from it. To use it as motivation to heal the wound. We were never perfect, and never will be. But rather than burying our failures as the human race we need to understand what went wrong and learn.

Thank you for reading this post! I know it’s kind of long. Sorry. But this is just an opinion of mine I wished to share. I would like to close this post by saying I fully respect the opinions of people with those beliefs. I would also like to say to any of the indigenous, black, disabled, LGBTQ+, female, lower socioeconomic, (etc) people who may be reading this post, that I respect you as I would any other human being. I hope that reading this post and all the others on this site adds another name to the list of people who are your allies.

And to everyone have an amazing day!