Although most of it has been easy, I’ve faced turmoil and adversity in many ways and times throughout my life. Becoming successful takes a lot of energy. Even if the rewards for doing so are unknown and beyond sight, I must look deep within myself and find the strength to accomplish what might look easy on paper. Accomplishments are the things I want to collect.
When I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, I step out of myself and see how little I’ve done. From there I ask myself, “what more can I do?” I close my eyes and imagine what I think a successful person does. Is that person sitting around being stupefied by substances and stimulation in some sort of hedonistic ritual, or is that person honing their mind and acquiring skills through study, practice and reflection? Is that person spending their time alone and trying to be a one-man team, or is that person trying to inspire others and make connections? Is that person hiding behind delusion of grandeur, or is that person putting himself into the thick of the competition even if there is no chance at winning? I close my eyes and imagine the person I must be if I want to accomplish more. I close my eyes and imagine a better me.
It isn’t enough to ask myself, “what more can I do?” I also need to ask myself, “how can I do it?” Life is all about finding an answer to that question, and it seems like the root of all responses worth investigating begin with a bit of discomfort and struggle. When I think about the events from which I’ve grown the most, they always involve an uncomfortable amount of change. Life would likely be boring if everything was as easy as I assumed it would be.
One of the toughest parts of my adult life was recovering from the loss of my closest friend. I lost someone who knew more about me than I’ll ever remember, and it still brings me to tears to realize he’s gone. Although it feels like life will never be the same, emerging from the fog of grief left an unfathomable fire in my soul that I channel when chasing accomplishments. The burn not only reminds me to succeed, but also to never forget the people I love.
In juxtaposition to emotions of loss, struggle and discomfort can come from positive events too. My work sent me to live in Hawaii for nearly two months. Wrapped in what sounds like a dream to many was actually a package of stress. Although I had an advantage of having a few coworkers with me on the island, being that far away from my friends and family was a huge change for me. Fitting in and making friends were never things I excelled at, and in general I’m fairly shy, so I had to rediscover who I was and fall in love with putting myself “out-there” so I could develop relationships and meet people. I gained a new perspective and a lot of self-confidence on Oahu, and I came home feeling like a mature adult.
Shortly after returning from Hawaii, I met the woman I’m going to marry. Commitment is slightly terrifying, but she is amazing and pushes me to accomplish so much more than I imagined I could: A house, a dog, a technical skill-set, and better relationships with my family… She is the teammate I’ve always wanted, and she makes finding the strength within myself a little easier everyday.