During last August’s ReGeneration Week, hundreds of young people from around the Nordic and Baltic Sea region gathered to make our voices heard on the climate crisis. We collectively wrote a Declaration listing what must be done to achieve sustainability in our region in the short time frame necessary. In this series, ReGeneration 2030 volunteer Ugnė explores each of the seven articles of the Declaration.
In our current world system, success is most commonly described in relation to the accumulation of wealth - so much so that it is present in the words’ dictionary definition. But as we discussed last week, this kind of accumulation and its counterpart of infinite economic growth cannot coexist with a sustainable planet. Such a definition of success makes individuals and businesses alike put profitability above everything else, without thinking about consequences. Why do we assume that success is about money? Making the biggest profit, having a high-paying job, even if we do not achieve our full potential and feel happy. Goals like these make the overall system grow and resources run out even faster.
It is time to consider if it’s really worth sacrificing both our mental health in this pursuit of financial success. We need to build a collective understanding of success in our organisations and private lives that goes beyond material accumulation and focuses on wellbeing.
Our current definition of success is strongly dependent on seeking perfection: fastest cars, biggest houses, best looks, constantly provoking the system to grow. But why do we believe that success is all about perfection? Meeting this definition perfect certainly doesn’t make you happy. Especially when nobody is perfect. Maybe we should not keep reaching for something that simply does not exist?
Scientists agree that success is not about achieving a certain goal, position, or wealth. It's about being happy and feeling fulfilled. That is the reason why we should reach for feeling accomplished for ourselves and not seek titles or big salaries to impress others while also destroying our planet.
What could we achieve if we swapped these unhealthy ideas of success for something more sustainable? Success could be defined by:
Overall wellbeing of our citizens
A flourishing and inhabitable planet
Shared luxury and collective joy
We need to rethink our measurement and idea of success until we face a definite failure.
The ReGeneration 2030 is currently formulating position papers on issues like these to help the youth sustainability movement push for change in our region. If you’re under 30 and want to be a part, email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up through our volunteer form.