Success: What Is It To You?
In this TED Talk, Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.
How often have you met someone new and in the first few minutes asked (or been asked) “What do you do?”. Your answer (or theirs) is often the factor that decides how long the conversation will last and, if the relationship will flourish.
De Botton believes that we’ve all been sold a lie by the ‘self improvement’ industry, namely that we can all become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. He says if that were true, the world would be full of such people. If we believe that those who get to the top do so purely on merit, then by definition we also believe that those at the bottom deserve to be there. This doesn’t allow for accident of birth or countless other factors which are beyond an individual’s control.
If we must measure our own success, then let’s make sure that it is our own idea of success, not someone else’s. De Botton says:
“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 the journey that it isn’t in fact what you wanted all along.’
Originally posted on JohnBelchamber.com