One of the pressures a man faces in the modern world is the pressure to ‘succeed’. Success can come in a number of forms and is often measured by the critical rule we cast over ourselves.
The measure of success – in my experience- is often (and indeed is the partner of) ambition: our ambition defines our goals and requirements of our time here, success is the measure of how many (and, indeed, to what extent) we judge ourselves to have achieved our ambitions.
Ambition is a very personal thing and is quite often defined by the values instilled in us by our parents: for some the measure of success will be the very act of marrying, having a family and working consistently enough (a challenge in itself in the current climate) to provide for that family – for others their ambition will drive them to succeed at the highest level; be that to be the best in their chosen field or to found, build and drive great empires of commerce… each to his own.
Having been driven, to a large extent, for most of my adult life to achieve a comfortable lifestyle and indulge myself in various life experiences, my measure of success has been about what my ‘travails’ have enabled me to achieve/acquire for me and mine rather than the success of the tasks in my career or business for its own sake. This may appear somewhat shallow and materialistic but, for me, life has been about (and indeed still is) the quality of my style of life rather than the reflection on tasks achieved and ‘battles’ won.
For me, I work to live – not live to work – and if that means I have to work bloody hard to achieve the best lifestyle I can (but not at the expense of sacrificing the very style of life I crave by the work required to achieve it at the cost of everything else) then I can and will. The effect this has, though, is that as I get older, I am less inclined to keep up the heavy repetitive schedule of work and want to enjoy more of the fruits of my labour, more often… and that – in some ways -makes me feel old, like I am slowing down and entering my dotage… not a very enjoyable sensation.
So I am at a crossroads in my life – have I been successful? Have I been successful ENOUGH? Do I slow down and start to enjoy what I have or do I have that one final push to enforce my workplace ‘virility’ and push me to the next stage of life comforts?
Keep reading over the coming months and I am sure my posts will inform you, dear reader, of the course – as yet unchosen – that I finally decide upon.