At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives.
5 Things I Had to Give Up To be Successful
Srinivas Rao

I’m slowly accepting this concept into my life.

Dinner with my college friends often include the topic of success because we’ve all graduated in the last three years. Some of us have long term goals with companies, others are seeking new opportunities.

One of my friends is looking for an entry level position — any position — that pays at least 60k. When I talk about new positions, he always jokes I’ll be earning a 6-digit salary before him, even though I get paid the least.

I can earn more money being an admin assistant. Heck, I can earn more money working at In-n-Out. I can earn more money doing almost anything, but I love what I do now, and I can see this path taking me down a road that will pay me more in skills and experiences and portfolio pieces that will open doors for me in the future.

Even though I know this, I feel shame in sharing it. I know people pursing second and third degrees. I know talent scouts at large companies. I know 25 year-olds who struggle to spend the money they earn . I know these are not the lives I want, but I feel self-conscious for not wanting it. I get scared and search for jobs I don’t want because I know it’ll get me out of my mother’s house sooner.

Maybe culture’s nagging definition of success will stay with me forever because my success will never look like what’s expected. Or maybe it’ll just hang around until my own definition of success looks more like a real shape and less like the flubbery blob it is now.

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