I’ve always had an internal conflict on how successful I really “think” I am.
This kind of introspection almost always draws comparisons with friends and family members automatically.
Your college mate, who now happens to be the Director of XYZ company. Is he successful?
Your friend, who has been onsite for a long time and pocketed ‘em dollars and pounds. Is he successful?
You colleague, who posts pictures of exotic vacations with his/her partner so very often. Is he/she successful?
Your sibling (brother/sister), who topped his/her class and now works at Wall Street. Is he/she successful?
Your close relative, who owns three cars and big properties around town. Is he successful?
You – stuck, short on cash, older parents at home, and yet to figure out what drives you. Are you successful?
People often correlate various degrees of success to how much one owns monetarily or in possessions or in the number of vacations one has been to. By this understanding, the more you earn or own and the more exotic vacations you take, the more successful you are. Of course, we all know that this kind of thinking is overtly skewed.
On a much personal note, I think I’m in a moderately well paid job. Nothing that would take my life away. I get a lot of free time apart from my regular work which I spend doodling, writing (this post included), and having a lot of laughs with my totally crazy bunch of colleagues. I also get a lot of free time in the evening (I’m home by 5.30!) that I spend with my wife.
To me this is success. Yes, there’s still a dream to make more money – to have the freedom to do what I love full-time. Yes, there’s still a dream to travel to exotic locations and go exploring. Yes, there’s still that dream to own that dream house with a swimming pool and a huge balcony. But, I’m still grateful for the life I have right now in this moment.
I’m proud to have had the courage to pursue my dreams and take risks in my early twenties. I quit a high profile job as an Aerospace Design Engineer at a billion dollar MNC to pursue music and writing. I took up a job offer in Intellectual Property to support my music. I tried my hand at entrepreneurship and failed. I’m currently devoted to learning and training in Mixed Martial Arts. And it’s all good. I’ve done a 100 different things all because I made a choice to take risks and find myself.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I look at my bank balance and wonder what would have happened if I’d stayed on in my high profile job. I know of some of my ex-coworkers who did and who’ve had opportunities to go live ‘n earn in oh-so many-awesome countries. They’ve bought bikes and cars that I’ve only seen in magazines, they’ve gone on vacations to places I’ve only dreamt of, they’ve bought houses (in multiples, yes) worth more than the rent I can afford to pay for the next 40 years.
Hey, if I’d stayed on, I know I’d have ended up like them too. But I probably would never have started my own band, recorded our first song, performed at crowded bars, written a Patent Application, or pursued Mixed Martial Arts with so much passion. But then, who knows, if I wanted all these things bad enough, maybe I would have done it, while at the high profile job, and with the big bank balance to boot.
But naah, I don’t think so! The reason I say so is simple. To all those those ex-colleagues who I just spoke of – I happen to be their unsung Hero or so they say so. A fool who had the courage to pursue his dreams – failure or not, who broke monotony while they still continue to do the same thing over and over, year after year.
Well, I guess there are Pros and Cons to everything. I explored a way of life, they explored Bahamas. I’d trade my life to theirs for a while and they’d, maybe, trade mine. But, back to the question, am I successful? Do I feel successful?
Yes, I think I am. I’ll still keep trying though to make more money and to see all those talked-of places. I know I only need to get it right once.