Success: Make it your own

Success: Make it your own

Success is mandatory. Or, is it? We all hear and read about how to be successful before you turn a specific age. We’re bombarded by articles, books, and podcasts on how to be successful. It’s the same story in a different format all the time.

We all get swallowed by societal expectations. Sometimes, we lose ourselves in the process. Our own personal world gets muddled up with the ones around us. The Minimalists’ essay, Successfool,  gives great insight that the cushy paycheck or nice car does not define success.

Ask yourself the hard questions. What is it that gives your life meaning? Is it working that 9-to-5 and bringing home the bacon to your family? Is it climbing up the corporate ladder and being a C-level executive by the time you hit 40? If it is, then it’s well and good. Just don’t confuse what you want with what the world expects of you.

However, don’t be afraid to want what you want. Do you want more dogs to make you happy? Then, go for it! Do you want more time with your family and kids? Surely, you have to make some adjustments. Do you want to become a hermit and start your own bee farm? Then, start inching your way towards that journey. Just because something different from what society tells you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

But, knowing what you want is one thing. The doing process is another. Once you’ve identified what success means to you, then do something about it. You don’t have to make drastic changes. A little goes a long way. Sometimes, a little pivot allows you to grow exponentially.

Dare to define your own success. Find a version that sets you free. You don’t have to fit in a mold just like everyone else. Later on, you’ll just find yourself miserable. What’s important is finding joy and meaning in your life. That is what’s life about, isn’t it? And, you do have to accept that this can be different than most people’s.

I guess this is me talking to myself in a way that I should’ve years ago. As my birthday draws nearer, I am quite at peace now than I was last year or the year before that. Previously, every birthday was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I was always depressive, contemplating how I don’t measure up with my peers or with my own expectations. But, I didn’t realize those measurements were non-existent. I can choose whatever measurement that I want. I didn’t realize that until I quit corporate.

My success now means being able to focus on my health. I thrive in the flexibility that my projects afford me. I can easily leave the city for some nights out-of-town. Today, I can accompany my mom to her doctor’s appointments. I am able to find time for the things that really matter to me. Unfortunately, this is a more difficult road. However, I am not in any way regretting the path I took. I know I am truly living the life that I want.

The bottom line is find what feels right. Find what it is that resonates best with you. Make success your own, not someone else’s. It may not be easy, but at least it yours.

I Just Quit

I Just Quit

I am writing this at my favorite co-working place in Ramos sipping my coffee and waiting for the long weekend to come. I have just rendered my last days at the office and starting tomorrow, I will be working for myself. Yes, I’ve quit.

For those who know me and who have seen me switch companies and careers over the last three years, this might come as a shocker. Yes, I’ve met a few former co-workers who have expressed disbelief when I told them I have talked to my boss and given my resignation letter. I am expecting others to be shocked with this decision. Even my own family has stopped talking me out of my decision to quit. Somehow, I am even appalled with my own decisiveness. The me last year would’ve been horrified and would’ve talked myself out. But, the decision has been made and I’m embracing the risks involved.

I have quit. But, not like the usual quit-then-move-on-to-the-next-company kind of thing. I have quit corporate life. It seems so unlike me to do this. Last year, I have set up some goals for myself: be a manager (ticked off), take MBA, and so on. My crisis last year has led me to focus on my career and in climbing the corporate ladder. As I slowly ticked off my list, I started to become emptier. I felt that the more time I spent at the office, the unhappier I became. I looked forward to weekends where I can write and do something more creative. My health was also affected. I was sick more often and my voice was hoarse longer than expected. My unhappiness and my degrading health were not the things I aspired for. I wanted to be happy. That’s all.

And as I started some side projects and met with other people, I realized I have abandoned the dreams that I have dreamt years ago for myself. I forgot that my main goal for this year was to have time for the side projects that fueled me and kept me going. What is life when you’re perpetually unhappy? And so, I took the plunge. Here I am now, scared with the unclear plans I have for myself but I’m just winging it.

Who am I pleasing by reaching my goals? Are those the secret to happiness? Are those really what I want? Is it what society is expecting of me? Will that give meaning to my long sleepless nights? Those questions keep running in my head. I have now decided to live life on my terms. I am now in charge of my life and of where I am heading.

I remember the moment my mother gave up on talking me out of my decision, she said: “Do what you want, as long as you can sustain yourself.” I think that was all I needed to hear. As long as I am happy and sailing myself to the life that I want, I guess it’ll all work out. If it doesn’t, then I can just adjust my sails and keep on trying.

On a blank slate

On a blank slate

When all of the pieces have shattered, I guess there’s no way around it but be naked. You are too broken to be fixed, what’s there to be fearful of?
There’s always room for redemption, no matter what the situation is. Every day is an opportunity for a beginning. Every moment is a chance to get up and do it all over again. You can always find a blank slate and start doodling. Find as many slates as you need. There’s no prescribed magic number.
No matter what people say, tread your own path. Start the journey. They are not living your life, so what right do they have to tell you how to live? They do not experience your pains, what right do they have to tell you what’s right and wrong? At the end of it all, the rightness or wrongness of things is purely subjective. It’s all up to you.
Once you get on the road, once you start baring it all, owe up to every turn and detour. Take the more difficult path and accept responsibility for your actions. Be the bold one and live a life that’s yours.
This is my blank slate. It’s just the beginning.