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Why Winning It All Doesn’t Guarantee Success

Why Winning It All Doesn’t Guarantee Success

When do we truly become successful? Success is ultimately achieved when you feel that you’ve reached your goals and feel content with yourself. But in today’s “shame culture” we are made to feel that we are never doing enough, or we’re not doing it well enough.

We live in a culture where the opinion of society weighs heavily on how we view ourselves. If we feel relished and praised by our peers, then we must be doing well; and if our efforts are overlooked, then we must be failing. This incessant need to win eventually takes a very negative toll on our self esteem.[1]

We are living in a generation where the shame culture is harsh.

Like it or not, some way or another we have all succumbed to shame culture.[2] Where we live in a state of constant need for acceptance from our peers. Here are some characteristics of shame culture, and the way that it affects our everyday lives:

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  • People carefully choose their words, afraid that they may violate a social norm.
  • Those who think “incorrectly” become targets for verbal flogging.
  • In light of a moral uproar, you must post and state your opinion; or you may become a target of ridicule for “not caring.”
  • Social media– the desire to be embraced and praised by the community is overwhelming.
  • Members of a group, clique, or “squad” may praise other members of the group, in order to receive praise themselves. For example: on social media, you need to comment and compliment the right people in order to get recognized and gain a following.
  • Natural leaders will rise within these groups; policing members of the groups in term of moral code, build their own power and reputation, and ostracize anyone who dares to deviate from the code set forth.
  • Social media is extremely unforgiving to those who do not “fit in.”
  • People demand instant respect from others for their squad, group, or clique. They will react very negatively or even violently if they feel that their group or sub-culture is being threatened in any way.

Winning it all could mean losing yourself.

Winning isn’t everything- that sentimental blast from the past still rings true, if not even more so these days. In a world where our daily activities are on constant display, it’s nearly impossible not to compare ourselves to others and their achievements.

When you get on the one way track to ultimate success, you tend to get tunnel vision. Your goals are all that matter to you, and failure is not an option. In fact, it’s the absolute worst thing that could happen, and life would no longer be worth living.

Well, what about the other aspects of life that do make it worth living? Relationships, experiences, adventures, friendship, or love. These are just the few of many factors that make a life full. When your only ambition is to succeed, you will end up neglecting these other areas of your life. Relationships will suffer. Those who love you will feel insignificant, as if you can’t be bothered to waste any of your precious time with them. Just remember that it’s awfully lonely at the top. And it will be even more lonely when you go to celebrate your successes, raising a glass to yourself; party of one.

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You have to ask yourself, is it worth sacrificing everything you love and hold dear in order to hold some level of prestige in the eyes of society?

How to Win at Winning

Don’t get me wrong, it’s imperative that you feed your passion and nurture your ambition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when your self esteem has completely deteriorated due to unrealistic expectations, perhaps it’s time for some reflection and prioritizing.[3]

Don’t force things. It just makes more opportunities for mistakes.

You need to consider outstanding circumstances. Yes, your friend from high school may have started their own businesses, but their parents might have given them a loan to get them started. Another one of your peers managed to score a stellar job in a reputable company. But what you didn’t know is that they sacrificed their entire adolescence studying and completing internships in order to get there.

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We are all on our own journey. Everyone’s path is different, and we will all get to where we need to be when we are meant to get there. All you need to do is keep it moving, and keep your goal in mind.

Be very good at something, but not everything.

You can’t be good at everything, and what made one person successful isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Sure, many people are killing it in the IT field, and it sounds incredibly attractive. But if you struggle just to find the reset button on your computer, then this field probably isn’t for you. Focusing on your existing strengths and flex them.

For example: I wanted the freedom to be able to work remotely. I looked into Computer Programming and even took a few classes. It just wasn’t clicking. I felt like a failure. I considered what I’m already good at and decided to pursue those outlets instead. I decided to look into content writing; and here you have it. I am currently working from the comfort of a lovely neighborhood café.

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Keep the big picture in mind, but focus on small goals.

It’s important to keep the big picture in mind, but understand that you’re not going to rise to the top without putting any work in. Focus on small goals instead. Consider these the stepping stones that will ultimately pave the way to your success.

Push your own limits.

Again, I cannot stress this enough. Do not compare yourselves to others. Set your own realistic goals and strive for them. Once you start to make some leeway and find that things are falling into place, set the bar a bit higher to challenge yourself. But do this in increments. Don’t set unrealistic standards and then kick yourself for not being able to reach them.

Make more mistakes, and learn from them.

When you’re striving for success, you’re going to hit some dead ends. Don’t get too frustrated and let it discourage you. Mistakes are actually a good thing. Take this as an opportunity to learn from these obstacles, overcome, and grow from them. You’ll discover what you’re truly made of, and reach your goals at the pace that you were meant to reach them.

Reference

More by this author

Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, writer, & plant-based food enthusiast.

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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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