There’s a line from the song ‘Sit Down’ by James which is “if I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor”. When the song was first released I never really paid much attention to the line (I was usually in a club far too full of alcohol at the time) but over time it has come to have more and more resonance.
When I was 18 years old the idea of owning a car, any car was something to dream of and a definite goal but by the time I was 35 I wanted an Aston Martin. And not some second hand DB7 but a relatively new DB9 (we can all dream). The cars that seemed like dreams when I was 18 would now be discarded as ‘less than’ and the fact that I own a really nice car which in itself is far more than what I need isn’t the point – I always seem to want the next thing. Whether this is keeping up with the Joneses (or another surname in my case) or the want to have some kind of badge of achievement I’m not sure but it’s there in my head in several respects not just with cars.
I read someone’s Twitter bio earlier and it went something like “I’ve failed lots of times along the way which is why I’ve been successful”. Which from my perspective seemed a bold statement – not that I know anything about that particular person’s achievements but it seemed alien to me to consider one’s self a success to the point where I began to envy the individual concerned that they felt that sense of achievement. The idea that someone felt comfortable enough to self validate themselves as being successful was something that really has me curious.
In the spate of end of year conversations and those looking forward to a new year it does seem that some people (including some i’ve talked to) don’t consider what they achieved last year to be up to scratch or worthy of the investment of their 365 days which begged the question what were they comparing it to? Was there some cosmic score chart that allowed you to sit, reflect and say “yes I did well that year” and if there is can someone please send me a copy?
Success is a delightfully subjective word and in saying that of course I realise it has very different meanings to different people. I suppose where all this is coming to is have I (and we) got to a point where enough is never enough? Will I (and we) always want the next car, the bigger house, the better job? Are we destined to always look back at last year and think that we could have done more with it?
The film “Jerry Maguire” has a character in it called Dicky Fox – apparently the first great Sports Agent who appears at intervals during the film and has some natty motivational quotes but in ending the film he says this “Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”
But what was his kind of success??!