Avoiding the Tunnel Vision of Success

For most of my life I have actively pursued this elusive ideal called success. I believed that it was the foundation to happiness. The inherent flaw in that logic is now painfully obvious.

I have a nearly unhealthy level of motivation for success. It is something that I will attain and no obstacle will stand in my way.

From the outside looking in, I have succeeded. I graduated high school, earned a bachelors degree, and I have been blessed with a career path that is incredibly bright. I have constructed the perfect facade to show the world that I am a success.

Why, then, does it feel like it is not enough? Somewhere along the way we are taught that success requires accomplishing a goal. That success is measureable in trophies, grades and salaries.

When we allow ourselves to believe that success is decided by external validation, we open the door to materialism and failure. I’m learning that there’s more to life than this type of success.

[pullquote]“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ― Albert Schweitzer[/pullquote]

My undergraduate study was in business. I loved design, technology and numbers. The business school let me explore all three in varying capacities. It felt comfortable.

The unfortunate consequence of this was that I missed the opportunity to stretch myself and grow outside of my comfort zone. This path provided me the career path that I desired with a measurable outcome that could be expressed in a stable salary.

I inappropriately assumed that there was a litmus test for success and that the success I sought would lead to happiness and comfort. I marched towards success with tunnel vision, but no matter how hard I tried I never seemed to get any closer.

I have learned the error of my thinking and am adapting the best I can. I’m living life, I’m learning along the way and I’m growing in ways I never thought was necessary. It’s funny how life works.

I do not know what lies ahead, but I’m praying deeply about my next steps. I have a feeling that my next steps are going to involve people. Understanding, helping and loving people as deeply as I can. That is where I find the greatest happiness. And where I find happiness, success is right there with it.

I know that I’m headed in the right direction because it’s terrifyingly uncomfortable and I’m fully trusting in God to help me figure it out along the way. There’s no measuring this. This is my life.

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