As a generation, we have an immense affixation with the end product or the end result. We are a generation that cherishes the idea of instant gratification and gives little importance to much else than the benefits accumulated from finishing a task or reaching a goal. This, of course, is understandable; results give us something to share with others — a sort of proof — to show that we have accomplished what we set out to accomplish. Generation-Y loves its trophies.
We love crossing that finish line and dwelling in that warm feeling of accomplishment, of achievement, of success. We want to successfully take on a task and conquer it. This is all understandable seeing as how human beings have a very competitive nature, giving great importance to a successful outcome. I believe this to be one of the greatest traits of human beings and animals alike. We are hungry to outdo each other, streamlining innovation. However, there is a downside to this way of thinking.
We have a slightly morphed definition of the word success and what it means to be successful. For some reason or other we define success as being either the very best or the runner up. For those of us a bit more lax with the definition, we may consider success to mean “one of the best” — this definition loosens the constraint, but not entirely.
We are constantly putting constraints on what it means to be successful. As we tighten these constraints, the difficulty of achieving such goals becomes more and more intense and therefore actually embarking on said task becomes less and less probable. The way that each of us defines success is very important.
There are those of us whom, focused on our individual growth as people, value success based on the benefit the experience and the knowledge gained has for them as individuals. These types are concerned about their own personal growth and the bettering of their character for their own benefit and pleasure. To these types of people, success comes in different degrees, but no matter how small the improvement, they take an improvement to be just that -- an improvement.
However, there are those that are incapable of such total egocentric thinking that goes against the social construct we are all forced to function within. Generation-Y, because it is so well connected with the rest of the world, compares itself to more individuals than any generation before it has had a chance to. Social media platforms have turned every aspect of our lives into a popularity contest. We upload status and relationship status updates religiously.
We Instagram photos of our newest cars, our clothes and our rock-hard abs. We tweet what we are doing, whom we are doing it with and what famous persons happen to be doing the same thing. I like to call this ‘strutting our tail feathers.’ Like a peacock, we want to show the world what we are working with, hoping to raise our status from betwixt the rest of the global population. We want to come out on top of the social pyramid and in order to do that, we must make ourselves appear strong — or rather, stronger than everybody else.
So we puff up our chests and cherish the thought of success, shying away from the possibility of failure. We despise failure and would rather never start than to start and come up empty-handed; we believe failure makes us look week and unable in the eyes of our peers. The real weakness does not lie in our inability to master tasks; it lies in our inability to grasp the fact that the only thing of any importance is the progress we make as human beings — progress that can only be measured individually and not in comparison to the rest of the populace.
The social construct makes us fear failing and hence makes us shy away from ever attempting, ever starting. I am sure that you’ve all heard sayings of the like: If you never start, you never finish. Or, it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey traveled. We understand the meaning of such mantras, yet don’t believe them to hold much relevance to the reality of things.
The importance of simply starting cannot be stressed enough. Put aside the judgments of others and the fear of failure. Failure is not something that ought to be feared — it’s an important part of the learning and growing process. Every time that you attempt, you are at the very least gaining some sort of knowledge.
The more things that you attempt, the more you learn, and the more likely you are actually to succeed in the future. Never starting due to fear of failure is like never having sex due to fear of premature ejaculation. You need to work out that muscle and learn to control your body — in the same way you must practice, attempt, fail and attempt again until you master the skill needed to achieve full-fledged success.
There is only one type of failure out there: failing to start. Anything else post attempt is a success to some degree or other. If you really wish to compare yourself to others then consider that every attempt you make is a success over all of those that failed to find the courage to even begin.
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