This Thing We Call Success – Vent XXXIX

Matthew Taylor is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and music saves lives. Those two proclamations are my base for this vent. Last night, I was listening to mixtapes (as usual) and I was just having my mind zoned out – as I always do. But I heard something, and it basically stuck with me for the rest of the night and into the waking hours of this morning. The quote was an excerpt of a speech from Eric Thomas; it was in the beginning of Raz Fresco’s Breathe, from his Cakey Pocket$ mixtape. It was the story of this kid and a Guru. I won’t ruin the whole thing, because I think you should hear it. Two quotes that really stuck with me were:

“…when you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”

“50 Cent said ‘sleep is for people who are broke’”

The first quote haunted me the whole night, because it got me to thinking about what it is that I want, and I think it’s something that a lot of people have difficulty trying to figure out. The questions started flooding in like a raging river, I swear: What type of success do I want? Who do I want to be? Who am I going to represent? Can I do it? The questions never end, but at least they’re being asked and not being ignored. Everyone’s take on success is different from others – some are fine making what they make because they have a comfortable lifestyle; some people want to be millionaires because that’s what they see success as; and others want to be a difference in people’s lives so that they can become successful. There are various amounts of examples and entities that compromise just what a successful person is.

Measuring your own success against someone else is impossible to do. There are people who are hungrier and more eager to strive to be someone better for themselves, so the test of will all depends on the person – it really comes down to how bad do you want it?. That’s a question I’ve been faced to deal with. When you have one goal and one dream in mind, and then something else comes along and you can see yourself doing that, then it creates not necessarily a problem, yet it creates a decision having to be made – which direction do I go? Young or old, there’s no telling when something big in your life can happen and you have to make the decision to determine where you go from there.

There are three things that people fear, but two of them stuck with me when I was told this: Success & Failure. They go hand in hand, and the difference is, how do you push through the struggle in order to get on top? The hook from the song (ironically called Push Thru) sums it all up:

I rise as day breaks
Clouds hide the sun’s rays
Quick sand and mistakes
Smash walls to get through
I fight the good fight
Even on the bad days
It’s darkest before light
I’m gonna push through

I was told to read up on the story of Nantucket Nectars, which is a company started off by two college friends on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Reading success stories from entrepreneurs can (and it probably should) be motivating for people who are trying to find their name and get out there – but they need to understand that even the greatest names have faltered in the beginning, but that’s only made them stronger as time moved on. One of the founders, Tom First, had a couple of quotes that stood out to me:

“Entrepreneur’s never fail, they quit. An entrepreneur fails all the time; they just have to continue trying another way.”

            “The skin on a scar is a lot stronger than your normal skin. We have a lot of scars.”

As someone who has plenty of scars on my skin, I can certainly attribute to the 2nd quote. Scars are reminders to someone that they did something, it didn’t go as planned, and they made a mistake. The idea is that you don’t make the same mistake twice. Perseverance was the word that First used a lot, and it’s true – if you’re built to last through tough ordeals, but you’re able to rise above them and continue to move forward, then you’re well on your way. Finding yourself, your path, and creating a life of your own isn’t easy – it’s damn near difficult; it’s all for nothing if you don’t try, right? Every analogy about success can come from riding a bike, or scaling a mountain, but the one that stands out to me the most is the one I heard from Batman Begins, when Bruce Wayne falls into the cave and his father comes to rescue him:

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Major changes needed to happen, and they’ve been happening in terms of my life, but what about yours? What do you want to see different? If you want to become a doctor, a lawyer, a business owner, an owner of multiple business; whatever it is that you want to do – there’s always a lot of things you have to deal with, but know that you are the beginning and end – no one writes the book for you, and you’re the only one in the driver’s seat for your life journey. The analogies may sound cheesy, but whichever way you want to put it, they all mean the same thing. I wish success for everyone, as you should for yourself. Go for it.

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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