‘I’ve never felt so unhappy, as when I finally reached my success, for which I’ve worked my entire life’ – This is how Matthew Nicholas Biondi commented once as only the 2nd in history swimmer who won 7 medals during one of the Olympic Games.
In total Biondi won 11 medals across 3 Olympiads, including 8 gold medals. The 6’ 5” competitor was always smiling as he reached one professional success after another. After many years, he admitted how difficult it was for him to keep up the pretence of being unbeatable and above his own successes. Each time, when another medal was being hung around his neck, a strange thought was crossing his mind – that “success which I was dreaming about my entire life, is really an illusion”
The life of an Olympic hero became harder than he ever expected. He was convinced that success would make him resilient against daily stresses, will provide prestige and provide privileged life. Meanwhile, Biondi became his own slave.
Not until the efforts of his wife Kristen, also a well-known swimmer, did he free himself from a life focused on toxic success. Constantly insatiable, always wanting to achieve more and unable to be happy from his own achievements, he finally learned to feel happiness from living his everyday life. To feel happy with what’s here and now and enjoy a very new kind of sweet success, one of joyful engagements in activities that make you feel calm, full of contentment and in one with the environment.
The term “sweet success” was formed by Paul Pearsall who died in 2007, doctor of clinical and educational psychology, who committed his entire life to promoting an idea of “work-life balance”
Pearsall lamented on the fact, that many people of “success” are so absorbed with reaching their goals, that they do not notice the beauty of the life arround them, in the current moment. They don’t see anything wrong with giving themselves ambitious goals, hard work and sacrifices for the sake of reaching their goals. There is a lot to think about here and the concept of living in harmony, love and in the ‘current moment’, instead of constant focusing on reaching out towards illusion of better moments, in the future.
Andrzej Andrew Ochudzawa