I know it seems like the most important thing you can do right now is keep pushing yourself to create the illusion of having “made it.” I know that there’s a little voice in your head, an echo of your younger self, expecting you to have been “more than this” by now. I know that it seems like you have so far to go, and that’s because you do.
If you are more focused on the idea of “having it all together” than you are developing the habits, skills and character it will take to be someone who continues to rise to new and unprecedented heights throughout the course of their life, you are more committed to building a life other people will envy than you are one you actually want to live.
The thing about illusions is that they don’t play tricks on anyone more than ourselves, and the thing about playing tricks on ourselves is that the idea of “having made it” is one big whole comforting idea that’s more of a pacifier than it is a mark of success.
Nobody that you admire peaked in their 20s. Nobody. Even if you heard their names back then, they weren’t done ascending to their potential. The people who you admire – or really, the people you should admire – are the ones who have spent decades building a body of work, a legacy, to outlive them.
They weren’t worried about how good things looked on the surface. They weren’t afraid of side gigs or incurring other people’s judgements. They didn’t expect everything they worked on to be a magnum opus. They got up each day and they did the work. The key to their success was not rushing to “make it,” but in slowly becoming the people who deserved a lifetime of success.
Right now is not the time for the shining highlight reel. Right now is the time for grit. Right now is the time that you make a brutal spreadsheet of everything you’ve spent this month and ask yourself why. Right now is the time that you stop before you lift the drink and ask what feeling am I trying not to feel right now? Right now is the time that you ask yourself where your interests, skills and a market gap intersects, and figure out what you can commit yourself to doing for the rest of your life.
Right now is the time that you figure out what your self-sabotaging habits are and figure out how to change them. Right now is the time that you push yourself, minute by minute and day by day.
Now is not the time for glory and completeness. Now is the time for sweat and brutal honesty.
Right now is the time that you ask yourself not What will this relationship make me feel? but Who will this relationship make me over time? This is the time that you worry more about what you’re learning than what you’re earning. This is the time that you recognize when you’re in a dead end anything, and this is the time that you turn the fuck around before you spend the rest of your life there.
I know it seems like right now you want to be that one-in-a-million success story, but those people are just that – rare. For the rest of us, it’s less about fantasizing of some radical life change that exonerates us from our current circumstances and more about being the radical change that changes everything forevermore.