Saturday, June 19, 2010

what is success. to me?

I've reached somewhat of a low lately, on a mental-emotional-physical level. Coming to the bitter-realization that for so long I've striven for success on such a narrow pinpoint I've come up short; repeatedly. I've sat by as a bystander, a mere-witness to the immense success of those around me here in beautiful and materialistic so-cal. Thankfully, I've fallen upon a few unique opportunities and have had the testicular-fortitude to pursue them; thus far its cost me more than its comped me. Although, I can without doubt or fear, that I've learned more in these past six-months than the four-years prior.

I've felt guilty for years as a Christian because of my desire to have a nice house, a nice car, a healthy bank-account. Living life in pursuit of success and simultaneously fearing it's truth could ruin me. Living in a shadow of those before me, perhaps a lack of success would suit me better? All these lies I've not believed mentally, but been ingrained with emotionally. An inherent lack of excellence on levels where such is assumed for many, I took laziness for granted and chose not to be proactive about being great; but settled on average.

However, spending free days, and work days, in places like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, Hollywood, sparks one to wonder. How? Is it inherited? Is it earned? Is it a little bit of column A & a little bit of column B? I've allowed myself after a stint at an average-school, in an average city, living an average life, becoming accustomed to the mundane and monotonous life. Always having felt a deep draw to something bigger than myself; I have constantly compromised greatness for normality, excellence for simplicity, and success for stability.

I started taking some risks a few months back when I got involved in a start-up company. I learned more in six-months on that job then I've ever learned before. Found out more about myself than I thought was ever there. And, most importantly, I sacrificed the normality, simplicity, and stability for a shot at success; many would say I failed. I thought I failed. I felt failure. I was bombarded by questions from friends and family. Had dreams of despair and nightmares that constantly reminded me of my failure. However, close counsel constantly assured me otherwise and I think I heard it out.

Here I sit a month or so after my departure from my first true business endeavor. Feelings of nostalgia and hysteria flood my mind. Constantly surveying myself to decide if I'm truly ready for the path carved out for me. Am I ready to chose success? Am I willing to sacrifice my selfishness and laziness for greatness and success? I doubt it can be answered from a broken wooden chair in a dim-lit coffee shop. I think the answer for this question is already permeating from my being, the future will unfold and the story be told, and I'll be a mere piece to the puzzle, hopefully contributing to this world something greater than myself.

Friday, June 11, 2010

swallowing failure. vomiting success.

Ask the seasoned and soft spoken man sitting on the porch of the cafe downtown middle America, he'll tell you as quick as the next, "Failure is just a part of a life." We've heard them all, the quote about success, the quotes about failure, and the vast-multiplicity of proverbs therein. Perhaps I'm not the only person who grows groggy of hearing the same old sappy sayings. I firmly believe, and preach daily, that failure is indeed an intricate part of long-term success. However, I know very few people who can battle failure in it's deepest depths and speak kindly of it before attaining the prize worthy highest heights.

I've tasted the bitter-taste of failure in these past few months, and been slapped-abruptly by the harsh reality that, 'hard work doesn't necessarily equal success.' I've poured my heart and soul into something that didn't have the once anticipated result; leaving me feeling mightily-experienced in failure. Not failure as if it I didn't learn, but failure in the sense of not accomplishing the full-potential of what was at hand. It can be blamed on a hundred thousand various people and obstacles and statistics but at the end of the day theirs always that brash lingering feeling that you could have, or should have, 'done more.'

It was my first true endeavor into the bitter-cold and cutthroat business world in which I've desired so intensely to be part of. I assumed that failure would be the end all turnoff for me and my once fetish-like love for that lifestyle and all the challenges therein. I was dead wrong. It only ignited within my heart, my mind, and my physical body a passionate pursuit of achieving a level of substantial success in a field once thought to be out of my element.

I know that I don't have the upbringing of many successful individuals in my line of work. I don't come from a well-to-do family or a prestigious university, most the lessons I've learned in life I've learned face down in a pool of sweat and/or tears. I haven't mapped out on a chalkboard the route my life will take, I've done more chewing on chalk than drawing with it. I'm not a powerful planner; or an overtly-good organizer. I lack many things that make people blossom in the dry & weary plateau of the American business economy in the 21st century. Although, I do know fully in my heart and partially in my mind, that the gifts God has given me are sufficient.

I won't find success because of looks. I won't stumble into millions by brainstakingly (new word) fighting my way through meetings with my imposing logical ability or crafty linguistics. I think when I find success it'll be where I least expected it, making me chose "it"over the temporary gratification of short cuts and bypasses. Get rich schemes are a dime a dozen; as are those who pursuit them. I want to fight for something wholeheartedly and delve into the unknown abyss of uncertainty and find within it what I'm truly made of.

I've been blessed with a second chance, a rebirth so to speak, yet another opportunity to give myself over entirely to something bigger than myself. Deep within I find a desire to still fight, as vigorously-defeated as I may appear, as downtrodden as I may be, their is still some fight left in this dog. I want to be able to look back in five or ten years and see someone so holistically transformed and different that it makes me appreciate the sacrifices that were made along the way; however grandiose they may be.

Success in business requires training and discipline and hard work. But if you're not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.”
--David Rockefeller

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Fake it Til You Make it; or break it

I've been worn thin lately, by layers and layers of false-promises and empty-deeds. It's not some new state of being; I've felt like this for a while now. Felt like despite my efforts I can't break through the layers and layers of distance between myself and those around me. I'm sure it's a demographic issue at times, being a single 25 yr old guy isn't the easiest relational patch to fix.

I've always been told I have unrealistic expectations in my friendships; like what, being there? My best friends from college haven't returned a call in God knows how long. For what reasons? Maybe I'm embittered by the happiness I see around me sometimes; everyone going on with their lives, families, careers, etc. Their purpose unfolds in front of me, while mine often seems vain and undecided. I know that it's in vain to write such a downtrodden letter of mischief and denial, but in all honesty, sometimes it's the only release I can find.

I feel like since leaving Oregon I've struggled to really find anything close the companionshipI once had. Was that merely college pals or was it a difference in culture? Was it a different 'me?' Often times I look into the mirror and wonder what happened along the way that left me feeling so lonely and unaccomplished.

Their aren't enough good deeds, their isn't enough money, and not enough time to try to falsely convince myself that I'm content. Granted, through prayer and petition, hard work and diligence, I'll find contentedness and happiness in their rightful places; It's just a long journey and I often lose heart.