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When we say that a person is successful, we usually mean they have money. They "made it." And we forget that everybody needs something different.
I need a farm in the suburbs and books and creative freedom and a bottle of Chablis. My sister needs to live in a big city like London and draw all day. A friend of mine wants to be with many women him and tour around Europe with his music. We all want something different.
And success is not in whether somebody “has made it” or not financially, per se.
They say it’s wise to aim as high as possible — because your target defines your ceiling. Even if you don’t achieve your target, you’ll still get higher than if you’ve aimed low.
There’s some truth to that. But I think social media has perverted the idea of enough. There’s nothing wrong with having enough money to live on — and not a dime more.
Why do you need extra success, anyway? To show off? To buy yachts? Build cities? Castles? Or to post a pic of yourself on Instagram?
Perhaps you have it too. You caught the “greatness bug.” You think you have to be not just “good” at writing, but Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Gilbert, Stephen King, level good. You start businesses with a goal for them to become international successes. You assume that someday you’ll be famous, give a TED talk, write a bestseller, make an online course, and retire somewhere in southern France, sipping your cold glass of Wine while your highly-diversified investment portfolio brings you dividends.
The real villain in this story is social media (not parents, although they often are).
Think about it. You sit with your friend in a cafe, when you get a notification. Suddenly, there are not two of you — but more. The intrusion has been made. That nagging device wants your attention —because, oh my god, “Your friend has tagged you in a photo.” How can you let go of that?
We are never alone. And that’s the biggest problem. We can’t think for ourselves because there is so much content we consume.
You can’t create when there’s so much pressure to be someone.
For a long time, I started projects thinking they’ll become great successes. This influenced my decisions heavily. It influenced how I treated them. Oftentimes, I let go of opportunities to make money because I assumed there are riches waiting for me ahead.
Don’t assume that the project you’re working on will become great. Assume it will be small. By accepting the smallness of things, you have more control over them.
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