What is Success?

Success is a concept that each person within society is constantly trying to achieve. It is the hopes and dreams of every parent for their children to be successful and happy. It is woven into our character, and helps society define our worth, but what is success? More importantly, how do we obtain success?

The most common definition of success as defined by the internet and various dictionaries are the following: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or prosperity; and a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

While I do not disagree that success is strongly linked to obtaining accomplishments. The definition that is provided by so many dictionaries directly link success with monetary accomplishments, name recognition, power, and status within society. Although most of society may consider those definitions the true definition of success, personally these definitions seem incomplete or not truly encompassing success as a whole.

This lead me to research what is success defined by individuals that society consider successful.  How do “successful” people define the concept of success?

Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, stated in her book entitled Thrive that society “tends to think of success along two metrics — money and power — we need to add a third”. She states that the third is more like a multi-branch pillar that contains “well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving”.  Success includes this last multi-branch pillar because to be successful, one truly needs to thrive and attend to their psychological well being as well as the role society creates for them.

According to the inspiring writer Maya Angelou, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” She explains that success is sought through obtaining happiness within the decisions and paths that you have taken as an individual, and the enjoyment we find in it.

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes that success is a matter  of constant growth. He states in his book, “success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

Unlike the three previous success stories that focus on the psychological well being of an individual, many others focus on the drive or path to success. Winston Churchill stated “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” It is being relentless in your future and never giving up on your end goal.

Like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison focused on the work to obtain success rather than what defines a successful person. He’s definition “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” He focused on constantly putting in the effort to reap the benefit.

I saved my personal favorite definition of success for last.  According to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, success comes from competition within ones self rather than competition with others. Wooden stated “success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. His idea of success comes from self fulfillment and goals of success that is set by the individual.

The common theme that is universal in each of these successful individuals definition is success comes from self awareness. Regardless if it is self fulfillment, hard work, continual self growth, relentless efforts, self love, or altruistic service to others; the key to success comes from within.  It is one thing to be successful to others, but the bigger obstacle is to truly gain success within the strict defines that we place upon ourselves.

I have not yet became the successful person that I would love to become, but I am proud of my progress and my relentless efforts to gaining success. Remember you are only more successful than the person you were yesterday.

Success lies within the heart, soul, and mind of the beholder.

 

 

 

 

It’s Okay not to be Okay

We live in a society that views people’s happiness and strength with being successful.  From a young age boys are taught not to cry because they will be perceived as weak or girly. Young girls are taught to be truly equal we must reel in our feelings, and show less emotion.  Society forces us to make everything seem okay. Do not get mad, upset, overreact, and to always remain calm. Do not express emotion.

If you have a job that pays well, you should be overjoyed that you are not one of the others not employed. You should be grateful, even if you hate your job.  Simply we are taught to be grateful and suppress.

But truly, It  is fine to be unhappy. To want more out of life. It is okay to hate yourself for not living up to your potential. It is okay to cry because it feels right. To hate your six figure job because it does not make you happy.  Its okay not to be okay.

 

Wealthy Person living Broke

It has been widely debated and a topic of interest the difference between being broke and being poor.  The topic never seemed to interest me much until someone referred to my life style as poor. Within the context of the conversation the person was asking questions about paying for a rental property.  To save space and time, he simply told me that my lifestyle was that of a poor person. My simply reply was my lifestyle is far from poor, I actually live a full and wealthy life.

I will not deny that I am a broke young adult that some how some way seem to make my bills each month, but I am far from poor.  Referring to oneself as poor digs deeper than having a lack of money or material items. Referring to yourself as poor is accepting that there is a social class distinction that is inescapable. There is no way out of the predicament.

As a broke person, you admit that you do not have money. The monetary means that other people are privileged to indulge with, but there is a way to change your status.  It declares that ones decisions, will, desire, and hard work can change the outcome.

So many broke people live wealthy lives because they have the means to live comfortably within their means. Being poor are the people who will never be able to push past their circumstance to a better outcome. People within third world countries that will never receive the comfort or convenience, these people are poor by circumstance.  They never get the opportunities that are given to many people in developed countries.  I am broke but I have doors opening and opportunities knocking each day.  This is the life of a wealthy person living on a broke girl’s budget. Knowing the difference is key.

We Are Built to Follow

I recently watched a video that explained and tested the theory of inclusion.  The reality that as a social animal we are built to naturally follow the herd. We are built to want to be included within the group, to not be the outcast.  This is the reason we conform. We conform to feel included. To simply not be excluded.

After watching the video, I could not help but question my own position on life and breaking the norm. I would love to say that I step outside the norm and the roam free from the herd, but am I just following another herd or am I actually independent.

The reality is I am somewhere in between. I did not take a full day to analyze the complexity of the situation, instead I came to a simply assumption.  The important take away from the video came to something quite simple.

Its important to feel included. Inclusion and feeling wanted is within our nature.  At some point our survival depends on others and the social connections we keep. On the same notion, its okay to feel connected to the people, but to be a part of a group and conform without questioning anything that feels wrong is not.  There should never be a time that you do not question something that does not sit well or make sense to who you believe you are.  Being able to stand up and go against the norms when the time is right is what makes us more human and less animal.  Simply everything is a balance, and its finding the balance that is most important part of being human.

Random Compliments

People often forget the power of words. Everyday we spew millions of words via our mouths or through our writing, but often forget the impact that these words have on others.  Each and everyone of us have the power to make or break some ones day through our words and actions.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of trying on my bridesmaid dress for a wedding that I will be a part of in June. To be honest, the whole experience tore down my confidence and positive self image.  It was overall a terrible experience that instantly put a damper on my day.

After leaving the bridal shop, I went food shopping with my beloved mother. To put it in perspective, I do not resemble my mother overall. She is a blond, has blue eyes, high cheek bones, and the greatest dimples.  As we enter the super market, this random stranger turned to my mother and said “Your daughter is beautiful, I am assuming that its your daughter based on the age difference, and the fact that you both have same cheek bones, widow’s peak, and larger set eyes”.

After the shock wore off the she was in fact talking to my mother and I, we replied that we do not get told we look alike often due to our drastic complexion difference and due to the fact that most of my features are direct matches to my father. Afterward the lady repeatedly told me how naturally gorgeous I was, and that its a shame that more people don’t openly compliment my looks.  Naturally I thanked her repeatedly, and continued shopping.

Now although the compliments was more than generous, the moral of the story is that this random stranger restored my lost confidence. She spread a little joy unknowingly. She had no idea about my day, but happened to change my bad mood instantly.

Every day, each and every person holds this great power. The power to uplift another person. We may not know what people are going through and the internal battles of each person we encounter, but we truly have the ability to bring a small glimpse of joy to others. Despite the world being full of negative people and actions, each of us have the ability to bring hope, joy, kindness, understanding, and honesty to other people.  Give a random compliment to a stranger. It might just make someone’s day or outlook. It might just change your outlook.

The Best Times of Your Life

When your in High school, people constantly tell you that you are going to miss these days. You are going to get to the real world and long for the simply days back in high school. For the longest time I felt that those were going to be the days when I sit back and long to be next to my locker, going from class to class, and only worrying about my perfect grades.

If I fast forward to today, I cannot say that I miss high school and long to go back to those days. I do not have a sob story about being bullied or anything drastic, but those were not what I would consider the “good times”. In High school I was within the top ten percent of my class, had a ton of  friends, a job paying higher than minimum wage, and a bright future.  It seems like the perfect blissful teenage years. With that said although I had a perfect teenage experience, I never long to return to those days.

I would never want to return to my old mindset or the truth that I believed in those days. Now that I am entering into my mid twenties, I have discovered myself. I have truly become the person that I was always meant to be. I stopped worrying about the shoe brands I wear, the purse that I carry, or the designers that I should be wearing.  I recognize the value of one true friend rather than 5 average acquaintances.

When I was younger I did not always spread love and understanding. I needed to have validation for my good deeds and things I have done well. I always looked to others to define me. My personality was shaped by the person I was hanging out with. I molded myself to fit others rather than staying true to myself. My life was dictated by others and controlled by the expectations set by society. Society defined me. My class rank defined my intelligence, the clothing I wore defined my worth, how many friends I had defined my popularity, I was defined by material objects.

My understanding of the world around me has changed drastically within the past few years. I have become awakened to my surroundings. I have my peace of mind. Others do not shape the perception I have of myself. I truly love myself. I love my small close knit group of friends. I love clearance rack clothing that was not created by a big name designer. I love my in depth knowledge of politics and research. I love understanding the world around me, and being able to learn something new on a daily basis.

The truth is when I am old and grey I am going to want to return to my twenties, at the time I become free. I might struggle, life is not blissful without real responsibility, but I am truly free. I am within the best times of my life, and I plan to make them worth remembering.  My advice is that life truly begins when you stop focusing on others expectation and become the person you truly want to be. This will become the time in your life that you will deeply cherish because you will be your truest self.

Everything Happens For A Reason

I often use the phrase that there is a place for everything and everyone in our life. Through work, I was fortunate enough to meet the sweetest lady. This lady was the definition of resilience and hope. She was diagnosed with end stage breast cancer, and told she had 1-3 weeks left to live.

Like most people I am found of a good tear jerking story about the life and struggles of the terminally ill, but reading and watching these stories are nothing in comparison to living through the experience. This lady was in her mid nineties, married for seventy years to the same man that helped her to bed every night, and had a happy life. It is the same story told repeatedly time after time.

Well this lady did not live only 1-3 weeks, but stayed with all of us for 6 months, and I learned more about life and death within these six moths than a young millennial will ever need to learn.  Everyday I watched this woman die a little more, suffer a little more, hold on to every form of life she could.

Everyday she would tell me how she lived a good life, and God gave her an amazing life therefore she will never question why she was terminally ill. She told me that life is too short to be mad at people, to misunderstand people, too hold onto feelings and emotions. She told me every night to chase my dreams because no one will ever do it for me. Each time I talked to her, I knew she was placed into my life for a reason. She was there to save me from myself. To be the constant reminder that I do not only make a difference in her life, but I also touch so many people directly and indirectly daily without ever realizing. That a kind word or a gentle hand squeeze makes a world of a difference to people.

One day about four months before her death, I sat on her floor holding her hands. She asked about the expectation leading up to death. I carefully explained the process, and gave her my input. She cried. I cried. We both held each other knowing that we would be parting soon. That night I promised her that I would be there through the process. I would hug her and kiss her cheek. Hold her hand. I would tell her each night regardless of her state of mind to “sleep like a baby” like I have done every night up to this point. Sadly I was only able to give her six months of wishing her to sleep like a baby.

About a week ago this wonderful lady decided that she was ready. She was tired of pretending that every day was a normal day. She was done defying time and her illness.  She was done living only to keep her husband’s heart from breaking. She was tired of living through pain and discomfort and only enjoying life minimally. She stopped eating and drinking on her own accord, and requested comfort medications to remain pain free.  Than came the night she was barely responsive. As I administered her comfort medications, her daughter informed me that she has not spoken or responded to much for the past six hours. I bent over her kissed her forehead, squeezed her hand, and whispered in her ear “sleep like a baby”. She gently pressed her fingers against mine, and weakly replied “I’m going to miss you telling me that every night. I love you”.

Her spirit and soul left earth the following afternoon.

I learned  the inevitability of life is death, but why fear death when there is a life to live. If you worry too much about what’s ahead, you will never be able to enjoy what is in front of you right now. Life does not need to be perfect to be a good life, you only have to enjoy it. I cannot thank this wonderful woman for everything she taught me. I may stray away from my purpose in life at times, but I never will take life for granted anymore. She has taught so many things that would take at least six months to explain, but the most important lesson was that people and things are placed in our lives for a reason.  This lady and I was placed together for so many reasons. She told me everyday that I taught her so much about empathy and compassion that has no limits, about the normalcy of death, and that sometimes placing a fake smile is easier than explaining every bad moment. She taught me about life, sharing it with people, to never question fate, to stop and smell the roses, eat the chocolate, and to love without condition. I taught her about death and masking emotions, she taught me about life and being content with the cards dealt.  I will carry her story and a little piece of her with me no matter where life takes me. My life is forever changed.

 

Defying Stereotypes

I constantly preach on the stereotype issue. I am always highlighting how so many times people are placing labels on people based on preconceived notions placed upon groups by society. In my daily life, I truly never judge a book by its cover, but personally I worry how people view me within society.

For the majority of my adult life, I have been the perfect example of why people should not stereotype people, but sometimes I focus so much on breaking stereotypes that I diverge from being truly myself. The fact that I shy away from my true self is even worse than proving a stereotype right.

This leads me to my purpose for writing. Sometimes people like myself either try hard to defy a stereotype or to fit the stereotype instead of remaining true to ourselves.  I am a sarcastic, intelligent, rap/rock listening, sub par dancing, proper speaking, chicken loving, animal loving, multi-racial american.

At times I shy away from my love for hip-hop, rock, or country not to look too white or too black. I stop emphasizing my words around certain people or refrain from using certain vocabulary. I dumb myself down, tone down my sarcasm, and become a lesser version of myself. I am not promoting that I do not love my personality, but sometimes I am so focused on proving certain stereotypes wrong that I diminish vital personality traits the I possess.

I have come to realize that educating on diminishing stereotypes is enough. I do not have to become someone different to inform others of the negative connotation and harmful effects caused by stereotypes within society.

I can still laugh too loud, eat too much fried chicken, talk “too”‘ white (speak proper English), dance like no one is watching, and listen to a wide variety of music. I can do all of these without shame because I do not always need to defy a stereotype. I need to be me! If being completely true to myself makes or breaks stereotypes than so be it,but if I am defining that stereotype than so be it. Regardless I am happily being who I was meant to be.

Here is to growing into a new and happier person. Here is to the next phase of my adult life! Here is to everyone being their true amazing self!

Back to Politics. Netflix scandal.

Unfortunately I cannot stay away from politics for too long. Writing about politics allows me to scream my opinions about issues that I cannot talk about daily at work. Working with people on a daily basis is amazing. I love the constant interaction and the ability to help people each day, but the downfall is that I have to censor all of my political views, therefore it is inappropriate to divulge personal political views at work with few exceptions of course.

I recently came across a movement of people deleting their Netflix accounts due to a new series that they are creating based on a movie.  People are boycotting a movie spin off show called Dear White People.  People are boycotting the show on the assumption that the show promotes racism and has an anti-white agenda.  There are currently 178 thousand dislikes on the trailer, and the 2014 film is currently streaming on Hulu. Now of course, I am a huge supporter of protest and old fashion boycotting to make a statement over injustice,but I wanted to find out about the show/movie and do a little bit of my own research.

“Dear White People” released in 2014 is a satirical comedy-drama film focusing on escalating racial tensions at a prestigious Ivy league college from the perspective of several African American students. Dear white people is a conversation about race relations. Many white Americans watched the trailer, and felt that it is race baiting. A narrative with a liberal agenda. Let’s actually talk about the show, and reality that is faced within society.  This movie and soon to be show is a comedy that through satire highlights the struggle of many African Americans and biracial individuals that enter into the world of academia after high school.  Not to place every person of one race or background under the same stereotype or “box”, but how is highlighting the college experience from an African American going to a traditional college automatically an anti-white agenda.  There are plenty of shows and movies that highlight traditionally black college and the various activities within the school (Stomp the Yard and Drumline to name a few). Traditional college with crazy parties, horrible Greek life, focus on rape culture, and binge drinking (Neighbors, Neighbors 2, and Greek to name a few ).  These shows highlight both black and white college students in a certain light, but each do not have the interaction between the two or deals specifically between the common interaction faced traditionally on college campuses.

So lets be frank. Yes the show does highlight white people in a negative light based on what we have experienced as black people. Yes does it stereotype white people as one group of people with similar views, similar notions, similar stances on another group of people.  Do I agree with placing all white people in a box. Well no. I think that perpetuating stereotypes only helps divide people rather than bring them together overall, but it does not validate this show as white baiting or anti-white agenda.  The reality is that within American society there are already certain stereotypes that are ingrained within us due to (wait for this one) movies that have already reinforced these stereotypes. People within the film industry only have a limited amount of seconds to get across a minor characters’ personality and a basic inclination of who they are.  This means that the film industry prey upon stereotypes that are already ingrained within society.

My issue lies in the fact that people are upset about what one show is doing to “whites” in placing stereotypes on them to fit into a certain dynamic for a show, but it was not an important issue when the film industry has placed stereotypes on minorities for decades. Again I am not validating Lions gate’s decision to perpetuate one stereotype, but it is the reality that we all live in. If you are triggered by this show than you should reevaluate the entire industry within our country. Just like liberals, conservatives pick and choose which films and projects to rally against. If you want to protest, protest the whole system! Don’t fall victim to the stereotypes, and realize you cannot escape them. Stop watching all media, stop paying to watch movies, stop streaming videos, and stop watching television.  This may seem a little severe because it is. The alternative is to realize most films perpetuate stereotypes to get a message out there. Its a sad reality, but maybe you could learn about life from a different perspective by watching a new show or simply do not watch the show at all.

So go head and boycott a show that has had a ton of money spent on it already, that is being released within the next few months. Also miss out on 1,000 of hours of new material being released by Netflix this year.  Sometimes you have to pick your battles. If you would prefer to give up Netflix than so be it. I will not condemn anyone for boycotting because it is one of the most underrated forms of protest that has the ability to make a huge impact. Just remember the next time you watch a film and an African American is portrayed as ghetto, uneducated, and loud. When a Hispanics shown as being loud, with a lot of children, and illegal immigrant. Asians as nerdy, traditional, all Chinese, strict parents, and heavy accents. Overweight people as lazy, food crazy, and without motivation.   All these stereotypes are wrong too, and do not call someone a snowflake when they protest in a similar way. Honestly I cannot say I will watch all of Dear White People because every show is not my cup of tea. Well actually I’m not a huge fan of the modern film industry and I usually do not watch too many shows or movies, but all of it is something small to think about. In addition I challenge everyone to research a topic before reacting. You might learn something. I also promise a review on the show once it hits Netflix.

Until next time.

-KP