Study well and you will be successful. Be sincere and you will be rewarded. Work hard and you can have a nice car and a big house.
The world around us teaches us to believe that success in life is measured by our apparent wealth and fame. Maintaining a good image in society matters a lot. We are engaged in a constant competition with our peers and are always ‘keeping up with the Joneses‘. We feel that it is important to drive a better car than the neighbour, live in a bigger house and wear better clothes. Living a good life has become about holidays in Bali, driving around in an Audi and wearing suits by Armani (hey, that rhymes!).
The rise of social media has only added fuel to the flame. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even WhatsApp bombard you on a daily basis with pictures and stories of all the amazing things that your friends are doing. It is easy to become overwhelmed seeing your friends post endless photos of cocktails by the beach, fancy cars with oversized (and overpriced) watches, and parties at the poshest of places with coolest of celebrities. Suddenly, your life feels mundane. As insecure human beings, we are thrown into a pit of despair about our lives and end up questioning everything we do. Why aren’t our own lives as exciting as theirs?
You need to understand that we end up comparing the dullest moments of our lives to the most exciting moments of theirs. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with their showreel. In this process of over analyzing others’ lives on social media, we forget who we actually are. Understand that your life is dictated by many circumstances beyond your control. And understand that reality is quite different from Instagram photos.
Because here is the dirty truth – LIFE IS BORING.
I should clarify that statement. Life is a series of boring activities punctuated by a few good moments. Every exciting task becomes boring with repetition and routine. It may look cool to live like Shah Rukh Khan, playing larger-than-life roles in movies and signing autographs for adoring fans. But imagine doing that every.single.day. Having to act on command, express any emotion that the director wants, regardless of how you are feeling personally. Not so exciting now, eh. You can apply that same formula to any person. Want to become a rockstar? Think of the thousands of hours of practice, dealing with moody band members, and playing at birthday parties to earn your bread.
I am not saying ambition is bad. In fact, aspiration and dreams are what help us wake up everyday. But letting others dictate your dreams is unfair. Know why you want what you want. Justify it. If you want to be a famous writer, there is nothing wrong with that. But want it for the love of writing, not the love of fame or money. Be prepared for the exciting days of writing as well as the dull days of writing. All the successful people whom I know personally have got there with tons of hardwork, plenty of sacrifices and incredible discipline. Life is built one day at a time, over a long period with a combination of effort, right opportunities and luck.
Learn to love what you do, even if it’s a simple task. And do it in the best way that anyone possibly could. Find challenges everyday and solve them. It is up to you to make your life exciting. Remember that it is YOUR life and you control it. And remember that society is a fickle minded friend who will praise you one day and harass you the next. Living to meet their changing standards is impractical. Listen to the people who will be with you during your biggest triumphs as well as your deepest failures.
I honestly feel that the real success of life is being able to support your family and maintain a sustainable lifestyle. I love this quote by Russian writer Anton Chekhov – “Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.” Having a decent house, a stable job and a happy loving family is in itself a huge success. There are virtually billions of people in the world who aspire for these simple things. Spending quality time with loved ones is a real luxury these days. These quiet and personal successes are worth far more than any public award or wealth.
The idea behind this post is to let you know that you should celebrate the everyday routine of life and the success of a good job and content family. Social media has built unnecessary aspirations which have led us to become discontent with ourselves. In reality, having a sustainable lifestyle and a happy family is in itself a huge achievement. Celebrate your milestones in life and enjoy every moment that you spend with your loved ones.
Incidentally, I am currently working on a personal photo project documenting the lives of people around me to both, showcase to the world, and reassure myself that everyone’s lives are indeed boring.