Note: The context of this post is written as a requested excerpt from my university’s career center for their online blog. I figured it would be relevant enough to share here. Enjoy!
If a secret for almost guaranteeing success exists, would you listen? For those who arrived at this post searching for solely advice on interviewing and other career related matters, you may be in for a rude awakening. This is a post with advice on how to live your life to be successful, happy and fulfilled. The end goal is for you to take away something useful. Proceed with an open mind to the ideas of appreciation and respect and that is exactly what will occur.
Using America as a metaphor, we come from a country of immigrants. The first several generations struggled and worked hard so that their future generations could hopefully one day live a better lifestyle. Having directly or indirectly experienced this struggle, many persons of those generations hold a natural appreciation for what they have rather than what they do not have.
Today however, many people forget these very struggles our ancestors experienced. Because some are lucky to avoid the extreme hardships of the past, we lose the innate ability of appreciation. We become caught up in comparing ourselves to others and entrench ourselves into the rat race of needing the most money, newest technology or the best looking clothes. Inherently aiming for these goals is not bad by any means, but lacking appreciation turns us from dreamers into entrants of a vicious cycle.
I am not going to bore you by reiterating what you should and can be grateful for as I am sure you have heard it from other people many times before. Instead, I am presenting the case for why appreciation is good for you. Appreciation is therefore recognizing and being grateful for where you stand or what you already have. Of course we can always achieve and buy more, but consistently focusing on what we do not have instead of what we already have is a prescription for eternal unhappiness.
When you appreciate what you have, the benefits begin to spill over into other areas of your life. The world is brighter and more colorful. Everything you have or obtain instantly becomes more valuable. The people around you all have valuable insights waiting to be unlocked. You smile day to day and your happiness is contagious and other people would like to come on board. Beyond affecting your perspective on life, there are other benefits which I would like to present as immediately relevant to you.
When you have a lifestyle inclusive of appreciation, you also recognize and begin to respect everything from your actions to other people and most importantly yourself. If you look down on something or someone, than you become worse than the subject you look down on. Everything and everyone has good qualities, your job is to determine that and/or bring it out instead of of putting them beneath you. Appreciation is not only limited to being grateful, but also recognizing the potency of anything. This consists of a part of the core definition of respect. Having said that below are three rules of thumb for living in terms of respect:
- Respect everything that you do. If you do something, do it to the best of your ability or do not do it at all. You are the marketer of your own brand and thus everything you do reflects on you whether for the best or the worst. At the end of the day if you can confidently say you gave it your best, then the result does not matter because for what you can control you have done all that you can do.
- Respect everyone unless they lose it. Generally no one wants to be hated. Everyone’s background and what they have experienced is never obvious and can not be assumed. By respecting everyone who do not lose respect themselves, you make more friends and create better relationships. In a world where its not what you know, but who you know, respecting others first is a step in the right direction.
- Respect yourself. If you do not respect yourself, no one else will. Always have principles and do not let greed or any other incentives deter you from them. There is a saying: “If what you have really belongs to you than you will have it, but if what you have does not belong to you than you will lose it.” If you cheat, lie and deceit your way to get what you want, than you have already lost respect for yourself and will lose what you did not rightfully deserve to begin with.
So what is the secret to success? I do not have a definite answer, but I would say the journey begins by having a sense of appreciation and respect You will find that doors will begin to open for you. Any opportunity becomes worthwhile as you realize any of them can lead to so much more instead of just brushing some opportunities as beneath you. As I close this blog post, just remember that you do not get to choose when opportunities come, rather opportunities chose when they come to you. So take as many as you can and do not look back. With a little bit of appreciation and respect, you will find a happier lifestyle with greater success in your endeavors. I wish you best of luck!