I was sitting on Facebook, as per usual, doing some work, or pretending to do some work, while I stalked some of my friends and friends’ friends. And I saw that a friend of mine was visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is a major Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fiend, and thus, her post was about how she spends all of her time in KL either working, or taking lessons for both of these sports.
Instantly, my mind which can be an evil place, ran to putting me down. When I was in KL the last time around, all I did was work a little bit, walk around, sit in coffee shops, write, and shop.
Of course, in my head, her trip was a success, and mine was not. I berated myself for being lazy, and more.
Why did I do that to myself? I had so much fun on my trip, doing the things that I loved to do. Why does her trip seem like a success to me, and mine does not? Why am I using someone else’s benchmark for a successful trip for my own?
Success Should Mean Different Things To Different People
This incident bought up the idea in my head of how success should show up differently for different people, but it doesn’t actually. Instead of seeing success according to our own lens, we use other people’s lens to see success through their eyes. No wonder, a lot of times when we actually reach success, we are so confused and disheartened by it – because it isn’t the success we truly wanted, the success that is suited to our personalities and character.
Success to me might mean being so free that I answer to no boss, and I travel as much as I want. Success to someone else might mean 2.5 kids, a mortgage, and a fenced home. Or whatever.
When a fish is being judged by its ability to swim, it is a success. But if a fish is judged by its ability to climb a tree, it would be an absolute failure.
The same thing applies to us. If we judge ourselves successful based on our own ideas of it, then we would be a success or we can make ourselves a success. But if we judge ourselves by standards not suitable to us, then we will never ever be a success, no matter what we do with ourselves.
The Bar Of Success Raises Higher And Higher, And It’s Not Even Our Bar
The problem is when you are fighting a battle that you don’t even care about. That doesn’t matter to you. That is based on someone else’s idea of you. I spent a lot of my life, fighting battles that mean nothing to me. Trying for success in an area that I don’t care about.
Oh god, when I think about all of that time I wasted working on stuff that didn’t truly matter to me, it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s horrendous. My life wasted pursuing ideas of success based on someone else’s stuff.
That’s why I am writing this post. I don’t want you to make the same mistake. It’s so easy to slip into fighting someone else’s battles, without realizing that you are doing it. It’s seriously the easiest thing on the planet.
Even now, I have moments where easy to drop into the mode of looking at success through someone else’s lens. And I have to constantly be pulling myself back, over and over again. It’s really surprising to me how easy it can be to slip into that mode, and how hard it is to slip back into my mode of success.
Be alert, be vigilant, and don’t let this happen to you, wasting your life away pursuing someone else’s idea of success.