In his TEDtalk "A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success", philosopher Alain de Botton talks about the phases of career crisis that many of us can relate to and yet we believe it is state of mind and situation in which we imagine ourselves to be very alone. 

When it can already be very hard to remain calm among the every day stresses of adulthood, de Botton examines the way in which our constant and harsh judgement of one another's singular "successes" and "failures" makes the idea of doing anything "good enough" seem nearly impossible. Among other well spoken points, de Botton urges us to consider the possibility of success in a different way, in a way that allows us to be kinder to others and ourselves and really draw an honest answer to the question: what do I consider to be real success and why? Where did my built-in beliefs about success (money, fame, material things) originate? What propels and keeps these assumptions alive? Fear of disappointing others, or the genuine motivation for achieving what actually matters to me when no one else is watching? 

“So what I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas. and make sure that we own them, that we are truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough, not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of a journey, that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”

Ask yourself how you measure success. Does this measurement encourage or extinguish the parts of life that are most meaningful to you? How can we change that?

Share your passion and join the conversation.


Helen Williams is the Community Love Director at Holstee. She is passionate about cooking and writing which pair well together on her vegetarian food blog, green girl eats. She's strives, every day, to be less sorry


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