What John Mayer Taught Me About Success

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This tweet by John Mayer made me think a lot about how I’ve equated success to mean being happy. My definition of success was getting into a good school, finding a good job, marrying a nice girl and buying a nice house. The American Dream. It’s not a bad dream, but I began wondering how that is what many people view as success, but also for some reason convinced that this is what happiness looks like.

There was an amazing documentary I watched called Wasteland that was about a Brazilian artist who decided to go back to his hometown to go to the world’s largest landfill in Rio De Janeiro and create amazing works of art with the garbage to raise money for the community there. He made a statement at one point that stuck with me. He said “From the moment you think you have everything, you have to search for meaning in other things. I spent half my life wanting everything and having nothing; and now I have everything and I don’t want anything.These days I’m starting to see things in a simpler way; I don’t have as much material ambition as I used to. When I was poor I only wanted material things: I just wanted to have things. I had to buy a lot of crap to get rid of that complex.”

I inherently want tangible things to confirm that I’ve succeeded. When I finally graduated pharmacy school and started making a six-figure salary, I thought I succeeded. When I finally convinced Caroline to date me and eventually marry me, I thought I succeeded. The part that everyone leaves out is once you finally get that job that makes six-figures, how much hard work is involved to maintain it. Once you finally get the girl, it takes a lot of hard work to cultivate a loving relationship.

It wasn’t until I redefined what success meant to me that I started to be more happy and fulfilled.  I’m learning now to stop measuring success by paying so much attention to what I’m doing, but focusing more on who I’m becoming. As I’m learning little by little to admit my flaws and invest more time and effort into my character, I’ve become happier. Life is more beautiful.

Eugene Choi

Eugene is a writer, filmmaker and a pharmacist, but is a change-maker at heart. He's realized the deep underlying reason for any of the world's problems come from a lack of human connectedness. He is committed to empowering individuals by unleashing their talent and cultivating healing to demolish the internal walls which keep us from building genuine loving relationships .

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