A Case for Being Content, Embracing your Imperfections & Staying Obsessed

Annie Spratt

I recently recorded an interview for Chris Sample’s ‘The Journey of Success Podcast’ which made me reflect intensely on what success means to me. It’s not something I think about a lot, but it’s also not something I completely ignore, even if you’re convinced you’re one of those people who isn’t driven by the need for success all of us think about it in a direct or indirect way.

This takes me back to an early morning conversation I was having with a good friend couple of months ago; ‘what does it mean to be content and satisfied with yourself?’ he said. This was a loaded question because I am ‘that friend’ who’s always pushing, wanting and truth be told, needing more out of life.

Are you content with yourself? Then why do anything more?

Sure, there’s the obvious answer of paying the bills and maintaining the aforementioned contentful life, but I don’t think it’s as black-and-white as it may appear at first. Being content and satisfied has got nothing to do with longing for more. It might sound somewhat of a paradox to the many of you, but feeling content to me, is the first step towards success.

This romantic notion of ‘being successful’ is a load of crap, success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, ” so following the ideal of ‘being successful’ to me, is an oxymoron. You can find success in individual aims or goals, but this notion of ‘being successful amidst the entirety of life’ is like wanting to be successful in an undefined aim or purpose which simply isn’t feasible.

We live in a world that’s highly concentrated on creating the next best thing but in the process forget what it takes and more importantly, what it means to ‘get there’ in a manner of speaking….

Passionate people piss me off

“If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession” — Mark Cuban

There are few things worse than those who are passionate about their work, sure there are even worse things but people are often passionate about the things they’re usually good at.

Have you ever been passionate about something that you sucked at?

The answer is probably no, if it’s yes then I like you already :) the truth is, if you’re passionate about you’re not good at then it’s not passion it’s obsession.

Passion is a fleeting emotion often surrounded by actions you’re already all too familiar with, it’s simply not enough for me to invest my time, energy or money in you. You can be a great writer who’s passionately penning down grand works or raised $$$ for the most passion filled startup idea but unless you’re obsessively committed to the process it’s never going to be as big as it could be.

I don’t do what I do because I’m passionate about it, I do it because every bone in my body physically hurts when I’m not doing it and that’s the difference.

If I was only passionate about writing, tech and social impact I could easily retreat back to India and write books, speak and support charities — hell, that sounds pretty awesome, but it’s actually just not something I can physically afford to do and that’s where my obsession to create something larger than myself comes into play.

Being a perfectionist is going to get you killed

“Ship it” — Seth Godin

If you look at the definition of perfection, it’s yet another contradiction, the definition of perfection is to be perfect and the definition of perfect is having all the characteristics/traits that are desired. You don’t have to be a genius to see how deeply this is flawed. What are these arbitrary desired traits? In which case, almost everything/everyone can be perfect within a specific set of requirements.

There are literally hundreds of things I have failed at, in fact I’ve probably left behind a more interesting trail of failures than the things that people often like to talk about me. If you didn’t catch the operative words in that sentence it’s ‘the things people like to talk about me’ — no one cares if your product is perfect or your idea isn’t perfected and even if you have the single worst idea in the history of humankind.

The only thing that matters is you don’t stop moving….if you make something else the next day after falling flat on your face the night before you have successfully saved yourself.

Perfectionists scare me, they scare me because I fear the beautiful, wonderful ideas in their mind will never see the light of day.

What’s worse? If your idea isn’t received well, it gets personal.

You are never going to be enough

“Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit” — Conrad Hilton

This takes me back to the question, am I content with my life and if yes, why do I long for more? I fundamentally believe as humans, we are never enough — I am never enough.

I am never going to be the best person as I imagine in my mind and that’s okay.

That’s what keeps me going…. If I could reach somewhere, then the fun is lost before it begins. This is why I’m comfortable with where I am knowing I can grow exponentially without restrictions on how/what I need to be.

So what does success mean to me? It’s being content in your position right now within the journey that’s of your design. If you’re not happy now, you’re never going to be — and grumpiness is just not attractive enough to make things happen.

These are just the principles that I live by and I hope help you look at things differently, but this is by no means preaching you to change your entire life. If you’re not content with where you are right now, maybe worth a shot trying something new and if you are — it doesn’t have to be an exact replica of my ideas on perfection.

Who am I? I speak and write about digital innovation within the creative sector. I’m curious about how technology could create social change and spend my days pondering & wandering around London town hoping to leave behind more than I take. Find out more about my work here or drop me a hello on Twitter @bhaesa.