After thought: This original post was written on September 26th. After completing the post, I got into a downward spiral emotionally. It is so easy to optimize for local optima because you can't see far enough. I need to learn to take a step back and look a long way ahead.
People all have different definition of success. Growing up, people always thought I was doing too much/involved in too many activities/too busy for a kid.
"Carrying too much on your shoulders will cause you to be stressed out all the time. I only care that you are happy", my mom has always told me.
In this article, I will talk in detail about one of the workshops that I went to in Burning Man. It is titled: "Finding your authentic success". The workshop reassured me - there are so many other people who are also overachievers thinking about the same questions that have been ringing in my head for years.
"How do you define success?"
Somebody shouted out loud. My heart pinched. I waited, hoping to hear something more. None followed. I frowned. It hurts me a little bit to hear that somebody just wants to be happy.
Constantly making progress to your goals
Progress isn't enough. Arriving at the goal is as important as progress.
Work Life Balance
I am glad that people think this is important in their life. My philosophy around this subject is - no one should never complain about work life balance. You get to choose how you spend your time. You should be only working extra hours because you love what you do. There is no such thing as "work life balance". If you don't love what you do, then you should find something else that you love to do. If you love what you do, then work is life.
I shouted out. There, I had to say it. Growing up, I have always carried a responsibility. To me, the purpose of my life is the difference of my existence. effect(after) - effect(before) > 0 (Q. how do you define positiveness here, topic for another day). By legacy, I don't just mean physical objects (sure, you can loosely include your children as your legacy). There has to be something greater - helping to push the world in the positive direction. For example, writers' names are forever engraved and their knowledge will continue to be passed down for the future generations. Likewise, musicians with their music; Steve Jobs with Apple; etc.
I respect and like those people who set their eyes on the grander vision, whose heart is big enough to have the entire world and its people in it.
Good news is, legacy often takes the form of a byproduct. When you love something so much (and do it so much), you become an impact to other people. Therefore much of defining a legacy comes down to finding out where your heart leads to.
- Congruency: the ability to align your actions with what you want to do
This statement is very resource dependent. It must have come from people in the first world. Sure.
- Becoming a better person through reaching your goals
I will elaborate this with a separate post. But the gist here is that it took me a while to realize that we don't have to compromise on this.
The last definition of success was from a close friend of mine. It came from a heart to heart conversation. And when I first heard it, my heart stopped for a second. I gasped at the enticingness of it. And that is:
Success is finding the person you love and go TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH HIM/HER.
That’s it! This is how I want my world to be like. Burning Man did not change me. It reinforced the things that I have been thinking about and solidified my understanding of them. Coming back to the default world, I noticed that I have been prioritizing my time differently, aligning how I spend my time to what I want to do in life.
Bonus burning man story time:
We got stuck in a sand storm out on the playa, we had to go through a tough sandstorm to get to this success workshop. We were late by my measure. I knew that I wanted to make to the workshop on time desperately. I looked around and found out that I was alone in the sandstorm. My friends were hidden in the sandstorm a distance away. The coarse sand was hitting my face as I pushed forward. Sand was accumulating on my eyelashes obstructing my view. My goggles were layered with dust, too. I looked forward and found a very faint light through a very narrow opening. I biked the hardest I could towards that light. And yay I made it just on time.
Cameron came up to me afterwards and told me:”Wow, Sasha. Your determination.” So I guess, this is me. When I really want to do something, I do it.
Tell me what your definition of success is by commenting below. I'd love to discuss more about it. :D