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What do most people think success is?

Yesterday I looked at the definition of success. The official definition for a refresher is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. It made me wonder, how do most people define success? So, I asked people on Instagram to choose between three options for success.

A quick note on the options I chose. Happiness is used more often in academic research than peace, likely because it is more enticing to the ear, but I put peace instead of happiness because happiness is fleeting at a neurochemical level. The chemicals in our brain responsible for our happiness: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins (known as D.O.S.E.) are fleeting. They’re chemicals wired to keep us alive and are reward based, because of this, I went with peace because it is a more sustainable goal focusing more on well-being and the absence of stress.

Most people (76%) chose the option to have peace, but that didn’t seem right to me, and I realised why. There’s a difference between fulfilment and success and the two are similar but I don't think they're the same.

The difference between success and fulfilment

Peace is a matter of fulfilment and is subject to our personal opinion, not anyone else's where as what success looks like is determined by society and is subject to judgement from other people. For example, a life of fulfilment could look like a feeling of inner peace and calm or a life filled with purpose, but societal standards like the old American dream are specific.

When I say the American Dream you know I mean a white picket fence, a high paying 9-5 corporate job, and a respected social status. Fulfilment is a solo journey, but success is a matter of societal standards.

It's interesting to think most people think success is fulfilment, which leads me to our question for tomorrow: Is there an optimal level of success and peace?

I post blogs for curious people every Wednesday at 9:00am.

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