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Success: A Word Not Defined in A Dictionary

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Success: A Word Not Defined in a Dictionary

There is no longer time to enjoy the simple things in life. Few still take time to catch baseball games, watch sunsets, or eat s’mores around campfires because it would be less time in the workplace. If you slow down someone else will set the curve in your calculus class, get the new promotion, or place a bid on the house of your dreams. Our success minded society has almost completely eliminated the possibility of being considered successful without having achieved more than the person standing next to you. Many people live for the moments when their work is praised or they are compared in a positive light to a great person who has come before them in their field. However, once that moment is over all that is left for someone who lives like that is another set of tasks to accomplishment, and the redundant need for praise fuels him to continue on even though often the real reasons behind their actions are never truly known to even themselves. The only way that one can truly be happy in our American society is if he is content with his own achievements, because if he looks towards friends, family, and the media for reinforcement all he will gain is a need to continue on in the endless cycle of striving for the unattainable goal of material happiness.

Our school systems are the root of this brainwashing. As a product of my school district’s “gifted” program, I was more exposed to this idea than many of the people that I

am now friends with. Many off my classmates had mindsets much like Sharon Slayton, a psychology student who was obsessed with the idea of success. Her feeling that “merely being ‘good’ has never quite been ‘good’ enough” is they way that almost everyone I grew up with thought (303). Everyone from our teachers to our parents assumed that we were going to “succeed” because we were labeled as gifted, and because of that the pressures put on us increased as we reached high school.

Slayton said that when she reached that age she “was looking for more ways to show ‘them’ that she could do anything, and

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