What is success built on? Guest blogger Matt Liu shares his insight:
This year has been a fantastic year for my friends. My friend Katrina got an offer letter from Tesla with less than a year of formal computer science education on her résumé. My friend Rishi was accepted to Harvard Business School. My friend Julie opened her trendy bar in a big city. Friends are graduating from medical school and law school in droves. I’m lucky to know some seriously awesome people.
But I’m also more than a little envious of what they’ve been able to achieve. Their accomplishments are such neat little milestones that I can sum up in a single word.
It takes me more than one word to tell my friends and family what I’ve been up to.
Some days it really eats away at me. My personal journey doesn’t have the same clear progression. What if I work at the same job in the same town my entire life? Would I be a failure?
I’ve always thought of my self-worth in literal terms—how much would a publisher pay for the rights to my biography? I’ve fallen into the same trap that so many people in my generation do: I compare my goals with the accomplishments of other people.
Is there another way to live?
“There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb…”
-Cyrus, “The Climb”
I feel that Cyrus’s metaphor of a climb perfectly captures the path I witness.
Before they hit their milestones, my friends spent every single day working hard, showing up, being kind, and laying out plans. A year ago, they couldn’t have predicted where they would end up.
Similarly, I’m not going to accomplish what I want to do by working backwards from an end result.
“No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten…”
I’ve been feeling more and more comfortable with the idea that I’m in control of my own story. This is a thought that used to terrify me. But when I focus on elevating my family, my friends, and my community, I can live a life that I’m proud of.
If I stop worrying about what others are doing and focus on what’s in front of me, everything might just turn out okay.
Simply put, our big successes are built on smaller successes. And a happy life is built on happy moments. It’s time I started chasing small victories of my own.
Matt Liu pushes plastic buttons on a computer and wears dress shirts in conference rooms for a living. When he’s not spending all of his time working, he is leveling outlandish criticisms at local restaurants and pestering the people in his life to listen to more Carly Rae Jepsen. He humbly requests that you avoid contacting him on social media, since his Twitter is mostly Marriott re-tweets for hotel points, and his Instagram features so much Olive Garden content, that he is followed by no fewer than three of their corporate accounts.