1. You’ve become immersed in your work, in the sense that it unhealthily consumes the majority of your waking moments–a sentiment that a more toolish version of you would punctuate with things like “#grind” or “#hardworkmovement.”
2. You’re able to simplify what you do into laymen’s terms, without sounding like a Condescending Clayton.
3. When someone younger/less experienced asks you industry relevant questions, you surprisingly have some wisdom to dole out.
4. You’ve mastered the art of “horizontal networking,” and have realized this is probably a lot more important than impressing the people 15 years your senior.
5. You aren’t necessarily networking as much as you are actually making friends.
6. You’ve embraced the “struggling” part of your career–all this hardship is probably really important in the long run. And when you’re old successful*, you’ll realize this part was actually kinda fun.
7. Speaking of success, you’ve adjusted your expectations accordingly–and have realized that the industry will probably be completely different in a decade from now, so it’s probably a lot more important to look for future trends instead of playing to the current ones.
8. You’ve stopped looking for shortcuts.
9. You can tell who’s serious and who isn’t from a mile away. This particularly applies if you’re trying to “make it” as an eye doctor.
10. You’ve properly studied and considered multiple sides of the machine you’re trying to operate. I.e., if you’re trying to be a director, you’ve made a real effort to look at the movie-making process from the actor/writer/producer’s standpoint.
11. You’ve learned that criticism and “haters” are part of the game. You’ve learned the difference between constructive criticism and senseless bashing.
12. You’ve taken bits and pieces from those who are successful in your field, but ultimately have developed your own unique voice and position.
13. You’ve realized that being in a rush is detrimental, and that advancing up the ladder too soon is probably the worst thing you can do. Gaining respect is one thing, but winning back respect is an entirely different animal.
14. You’ve stopped trying to view your career as one giant “Rags to Riches” critically-acclaimed film, and are instead looking at it via the lens of more manageable “rungs.”
15. You’ve realized that the most valuable vehicle for success, other than being good at things and achieving them, is learning from failure.
16. You’ve given the necessary props to Fort Minor: 10% Luck, 20% Skill, 15% Concentrated Power of Will, 5% Pleasure, 50% pain is a pretty solid formula.
17. Though in regards to that luck part, you’ve adopted the ethos of a motivational speaker who smiles way too much; both of you agree that luck is more a manifestation of putting yourself in situations to achieve that luck.
18. You’ve stopped taking this whole career thing so seriously. Meaning, you’re trying really hard to to take this whole career thing so seriously.
19. Those intense pangs of satisfaction are worth all the failure in the world.
20. You’ve become a lot less delusional, and a lot more realistic about where you’re going to end up.
21. But secretly, you’re still incredibly delusional.