I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What really actually counts as an achievement?
My Gran brought this topic up with me the other day and I’ve been thinking about it since. She said that her partner had said that if you didn’t work hard at something, it didn’t count as an achievement. She said that was ridiculous, and that he was just saying that because he doesn’t have a degree and the whole of the rest of my family have degrees.
While I think a degree does count for something in the real world, I couldn’t help but agree with him. I had a blast getting my degree, and I put a lot of my heart and soul into my final project. I actually cried when I handed it in, because it really was my whole world and the most important thing I believe I have ever created. However, do I feel like it’s an achievement that I got a first class degree? Not particularly. I don’t feel like I had to work particularly hard for it, but maybe this was because I enjoyed it so much. The field I was working in came naturally to me, and I had found a whole new thing that I was naturally good at, a real talent, something that couldn’t really be taught. And other people noticed I was good, and graded me because of this. I don’t think the achievement was the grade I got given though, I think the achievement was being able to spend 14 months creating something I loved. That’s where I got the satisfaction from.
I asked my Gran if her partner loved his job, and she said he did, even though it mainly consists of carrying buckets of water from once place to another. She said it was a shame, because he could have achieved so much more in life. I was really, genuinely shocked by this. In my opinion, this is the best achievement ever. This is what I think people should be seeking from life. Finding a job you love and giving it your service for years and years is surely the most satisfying thing someone could be doing, even if they don’t have any qualifications or aren’t using the ones they have?
It seems to me that to achieve means something different to different people. For me, who has spent a long time being unhappy over the course of my life, I would consider it an achievement to be happy in life, even if I was working a menial service job forever, as long as I loved it. For other people who have had a really happy time of life so far, succeeding in big business and earning loads of money might be an achievement for them. For some people, getting married and having children is not only an achievement but more of a milestone in life, sort of a given. For me, that would be a happy accident and not something I am actively working towards.
What do you count as an achievement? What do you consider to be your best achievement to date?