“If I told you I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at, I’d be lying, because I have no idea where I am right now.”
― Jarod Kintz,
In my life, there have been several times when people have asked me this question. It was meant sarcastically. But each time someone did, it pushed me deep in reflection.
Why are they asking me that? Do my choices reflect that? Am I self-destructive? Don’t I want to succeed?
What the fuck is success anyway? Is it money? I don’t want too much of it, really. I know that. I hate when some of my friends act materialistic and only talk about things they’d like to buy next. Is that ambition? That is such a small, achievable thing. You can earn money doing anything. You could numb your brain and work in a call centre or be a social media executive. Not to say, that those jobs are bad, but really they are. (It is spirit-killing.) I’d rather be a clerk in a cubicle, where my tasks are clear, no one talks to me at all, and I just get things done and then when the office hours are over, I am done. That’s the level of drive I have if you only want me to earn money.
Is success fame? I think fame does not equal recognition. Why would I care what some random people think of my work? Being famous mostly means appealing to the average people with bite-sizes of good work. Something great can be popular over time. But I don’t think something great is popular immediately. I am not trying to demean popular work/people. Heck, I am a pop culture consumer. I am part of the “masses”! But when I say I don’t really want fame, I mean I don’t want to work for everyone’s adulation or even most people’s congratulations. It matters to me if my colleagues appreciate it. I want to know what the people, who are directly affected by my work, think of it. Fame is certainly not achieved by hard-work anyway.
So then, does success mean stability? This is tough. I am not a patient, uncomplaining worker. I cannot see myself in any job for more than a year, forget 5- 7 years in the same company. Is that success? Just growing in the ranks of a corporate? I always snicker when someone calls that growth. If you have read any of my recent posts, you know I am mortally scared of being sucked in the routine of life. To tell you the truth, I do see the comfort in routines, I seek it even; but when I have gained it, I only want to escape. There’s a contradiction here, and a restlessness I can’t comprehend right now.
I just thought of one more thing that would make me seem ‘unsuccessful’. I have not adorned any leadership roles in workspaces yet. That must mean success, right? I am clearly very naïve and idealistic, and I don’t appreciate too much hierarchy. At my most recent workplace, I was asked to approve a digital artist’s work, I was a bit taken aback. Firstly, how can an artist be answerable to anyone? Why are you calling it approval, when basically you need “fresh eyes” and “feedback” on the work? Why the hell are you creating so many steps of approval for such a simple task? Don’t you trust your employee, you dimwit?
Well, I went a little off track there.
Point is, I think leadership is when people work with you, and not for you. A leader has to have the drive, the vision and an understanding that there are people looking up to him/her for motivation, guidance and they also need some level of independence. (Basically, a leader becomes the parent-figure to adolescent-like employees.)
This overwhelming drive, vision and focus is what I don’t have.
The truth is what I don’t know what I want from my life. Everything I was really sure of, I am completely unsure of now. I don’t even know who I am anymore. It seems like my insides have flipped. I have realized that for the longest time even my reflections have avoided the question- What do I want in the long run?
Maybe I am a short-sighted person. I don’t think it through, and hence any ‘behaviour’ that is perfectly natural of me appears quite reckless to others. I don’t think through the long term effects of any decision because I can’t imagine that far. I can’t extend any temporary situation to a dystopian permanence to scare me enough to compromise. I avoid being in the rat race. So then, why do I feel a sinking disappointment today? I feel disillusioned. I feel I have disappointed no one but myself. I expected things would work out for the better, but today it has not. I have to live through this hopeless time with my chin up and be a little patient with myself. (I CAN’T. I CAN’T. But I will. )
Sometimes I scream (in my head, of course) – “No, I don’t want to be anything. I just want to be!” But I think that it’s a reactionary statement on my part. When I find that I don’t fit the ideals of (what I call) “The Propaganda Dream”, then I regress into dreaming about how I shall be a clerk in a cold country, away from this unnecessary urgency to achieve something. I just loudly proclaim I’ll be the “worst” and I’ll still be happy.
Question is- Do I want to be happy? What the fuck makes me happy?
“I’ve had great success being a total idiot.”
― Jerry Lewis