Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Success and Living

"The danger of education, I have found, is that it so easily confuses means with ends. Worse than that, it quite easily forgets both and devotes itself merely to the mass production of uneducated graduates--people literaly unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade which they and their contemporaries have conspired to call 'life'." 

"[A publisher asked me to write something on 'The Secret of Success,' and I refused.] If I had a message to my contemporaries, I said, it was surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success. ... If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted. If a university concentrates on producing successful people, it is lamentably failing in its obligation to society and to the students themselves."

"A superficial freedom to wander aimlessly here or there, to taste this or that, to make a choice of distractions (in Pascal's sense) is simply a sham. It claims to be a freedom of 'choice' when it has evaded the basic task of discovering who it is that chooses."  

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony." 

Even though I've always tried to really find the "meaning of life," I've never truly been able to grasp it. It always seems so ambiguous to me. For a long time I've felt like there's always this "goal" we all needed to work for and not only until we reach this goal does it actually define ourselves. Especially this word "success" runs through all our heads probably at least once. What's weird is that there is no clear definition for it, it is whatever you perceive it to be. Our perspective on life is greatly influenced by our perception of time. We are very future-oriented in this capitalist society and also because of the seasons. In comparison to other places on earth it's sunny 24/7 so they are usually more present-oriented. ( So I really wonder, is what the media portrays success really what we perceive it to be? I mean you see the "success" of people on TV but you never see the process, they worked REAL HARD for these things. And the funny part is a lot of them don't do it for the money, they do it for the feeling of fulfillment (the status and "success" all just come with it). So why isn't there more emphasis on personal/internal success instead of all these tangible things?

I mean there are lots of self-help books and motivational quotes out there with "top ten tips" to success which all basically include the 1 main factor, perseverance.  As long as there is failure and you don't give up, there is success. What I believe is that the moment you even read about success and all these things, you don't actually desire to succeed in whatever that goal you're trying to achieve, you just like the idea. You have to actually want it so bad that it almost becomes some sort of obsession that you're willing to give up almost anything just to get it, hence wolf or sheep. Obviously you can't always have these extremes, there's always a balance of some sort, like sacrificing half of your life to be filthy rich for the other half, or just being consistently happy with an average life. I mean things don't happen all at once. "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony" and same with success and life or anything for that matter. What it all comes down to is what you truly desire, not what you or anyone else made you think you desire.

In the end, "discover who it is that chooses," and you might actually find something.

I think the best advice I ever got from anybody was when I was in high school and called an advisor at SFU and panicked about what courses to take and etcetera, and all she said was "choose whatever you like."

Seriously, just do what you love and what makes you happy :)


  1. You're so right, everyone must do what they love and what makes them happy.
    I'm happy in my life and I'm doing what I want. I never asked me what I've done or what I'll become and I'm fine with that :) !

  2. thats some really great stuff. I would be furious if someone said that to my kid in the 1st img

  3. The Thomas Merton quote about "superficial freedom to wander" accurately describes the screwed-up American higher education system. As exemplified by the crappy advice from the SFU advisor.

  4. the problem with this is there's a downside to both sheep and wolves. The sheep follow everything they're told, and the wolves are paranoid that everything they are told is a lie until absolutely proven.

    Both ways are a ridiculous way to live.

  5. That is why wolf in sheep's clothing is best option.

  6. True dat! Love that pic too. Followed.

  7. The meaning of life is what makes your head and your heart happy, you shouldn't have to go looking for it, it should find you.

  8. Great inspirational article, great blog!

  9. That first pic really makes no sense :D

  10. I try to, but as weird as it sounds sometimes that's just a very hard thing to do.