What I have learned about Success and Failure: Dopest shit ever
The journey is one of absolute extremes; exhilarating highs and devastating lows. When you’re up and everything you do seems to just work out, it feels like you’re never going to be down again. Conversely, when shit hits the fan and everything comes crumbling down, the pressure takes on an unimaginable level of intensity and it literally feels like you’re down without a shot in hell of ever getting back up again.
The reality though is probably somewhere in between. Somewhere in between “success” and “failure” is a version of you that is unattached to circumstances, favorable or unfavorable. If you’ve ever taken the time to think about it, you realize that the happiest times; the moments when you had “it” the proverbial “Midas touch”, those moments typically tend to coincide with periods where you were unattached to the outcomes of your efforts. Much of your focus was entirely centered on just doing your best; your entire focus was on the work. And bizarrely that type of perspective is more rewarding than the result of winning, but it always somehow delivers “success”.
Winning is a feeling not a score line.
But then the success comes and suddenly your focus isn’t on just doing what you love and finding solutions to difficult problems anymore, now you’re suddenly able to do things you couldn’t do before and you can go to places where they wouldn’t let you in before, but now they smile and call you “Sir” while they hold the door open for you. I don’t know whether it’s my perspective on the world that changes or if it’s how the people in my orbit view me that changes; but when I have had favorable outcomes in my life something has shifted in my focus. The work becomes less an outlet for self-expression and exercising the traits I like most about myself and it becomes more a means to maintaining the “success”, I can never really identify, even in retrospect, when exactly this shift occurs, but somewhere along the road the joy of doing what I love is replaced by a fear of not going back to where I was before the success, “I have to stay hot, I have to stay successful, otherwise these girls won’t love me anymore…I won’t matter as much as I do now, the bank won’t send me special private banking letters anymore” suddenly I’m afraid of losing shit I was perfectly happy without a few years ago.
Invariably, the fear of losing almost always delivers losses.
Then all this anxiety breeds self-doubt and fear, so my decisions become less natural, my intuition abandons me and I start to rack up more losses than Aston Villa in the English premier league, everything takes a nose dive, and with each bad day, my anxiety grows, then it’s like my current failures are inviting their relatives, failure after failure arrives until my life is an incomprehensible shit hole.
The whirlwind is vicious. Then, it stops. All the stuff I was afraid of losing is gone, somewhere between dodging phone calls and trying to figure out who I owe more money to, the banks came and took all the things and with that left all the noise. After experiencing, front row and center, the manifestation of every fear I ever had one after the other, I realize I’m still there, still standing.
So I pick up the worn tools I had used to carve my way to happiness before all the stuff came, and I get back to work. Like a novice, I hustle to get an audience with the guy at the top that can help me move to the next level, I’m hustling to get people to take my calls and the bad days start to get outnumbered by the good ones and I’m happy again. Back to grinding, without much consideration of the results.
Your best work will always get you wins.
So as my efforts gradually elevate me to places higher than I’ve ever been before, I try to remember that stuff is just stuff. We are not defined by the money we make but what we make and how that advances the greater society. Don’t get me wrong, Ferraris and Rolexes are the dopest shit ever and I’d like to live out the lyrics to my favorite rap songs, but I’m acutely aware that when the lights go out at the end of it all, it’s about the life we’ve lived and if we should ever be so lucky, it’s about the stories, of a life truly lived, that we can tell our kids on random nights when they’d much rather be hanging out with their friends. Everything else is exactly that, just everything else.
Nothing recedes quite like success.
Memories make a life. So just live, that’s what I’m learning, just live and let the work, let your efforts be your prayer. What we do now will take care of tomorrow, so we are free to rid ourselves of the anxiety and fear of tomorrow and just live here and now, finding life in every breath. Now that I think of it, that’s the dopest shit ever.