"That which shield me, reveal thy name"
It’s important to define your idea of success. If it’s a life of luxury, fortune, and fame — I don’t have that. If it’s love and happiness, those elude me still. But I am lucky enough to put everything I have into what I truly believe is my calling, to dedicate myself to a goal that I am convinced nobody else could accomplish. If that is your idea of success, to chase a dream of yours, instead of laboring to fulfill someone else’s, then I can talk about that.
To achieve success is not easy. Of course it isn’t. By that logic, I assumed success could only come from choosing the hardest path. And in my world, that meant to excel in a series of competitive institutions. The truth is that my résumé is laughable. Unfortunately for me, I built an entire personal brand on self-deprecation. On paper. I am hardly memorable. I went to my safety school of a university doing what I thought would be more respectable if anything for its novelty and perceived difficulty (biomedical engineering) and barely scraped by with a not-so-great GPA, lousy extracurriculars, few honors, and little recognition. For a year after college I continued to do unpaid research on a brain imaging project that, to this day, I’m unsure even culminated in co-authorship for me. (And to think, my name is in a men’s fashion magazine, allkpop, and HYPEBEAST but not in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.) I got an MCAT score that other hopefuls would kill to have that was wasted on a cycle of half-assed, unmotivated, compulsory med school applications. Obviously I didn’t get in anywhere. I dreaded even seeing my family and friends, because I had no answer to “So what are you up to these days?” It was a humiliating, almost crippling, but nevertheless important defeat.
It would seem my current “success” then must be the result of repeated failure and mediocrity from taking this harder path. Yet despite how hard I made it all out to be, it’s so easy to use that “difficulty” as a crutch, as an excuse for coming up short. It’s also easy to burn yourself out and kill yourself to inch out the person next to you, to abandon yourself and emulate the competition to keep up, or to put your head down and work to fulfill expectations from everyone else but yourself, letting your energy fade and time pass by. It’s easy to just go through the motion, do the little dances, and jump through the hoops, following the example of the competition in front of you. In those ways, it’s actually an easy route. I drifted down it for two years and somehow felt like I’d done nothing and gone nowhere (it was true).
What I’m doing now, what I consider to be the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted, on the surface might seem like the easy way out. I’m a glorified maleblogger. By definition a startup is a new company that faces extreme uncertainty… And the uncertainty is what makes things extremely difficult. There is no “path” to take like when I was in academia. I’m trying to build something that doesn’t really exist yet, so trying to follow, match, and best my competition isn’t much of an option now. But in the same way, I got to this level of “success” by getting out of that competitive gunner mindset, and embracing what I’m actually passionate about. That’s probably the most succinct answer to your question — to be passionate. To want to learn more about something, to practice it every day, to become an expert at it, to want to tell all your friends about it. That’s what I did with Everyday Carry. And in doing so, even to get to the company that it is now (small and hanging in there), I just try to be a decent person. I try to be responsible, thoughtful, careful and selfless. Be transparent, be loving, and be honest. And I’m picking up new things along the way. It’s okay to make mistakes. I can’t stress that enough. Learn from them. It’s okay if you’re unsuccessful, especially in the “traditional” sense, so long as you get something out of it. Don’t be like me — so paralyzed by the thought of failure, rejection or inadequacy that I didn’t get anything meaningful done. Even with EDC I took a 2 year hiatus because I didn’t believe it could amount to anything. I was sorely mistaken.
And honestly, your question surprised me. “Successful” is still not something I would use to describe myself, even now. Especially now. But maybe it’s that vague, lingering hunger for more that makes for a successful person.
What really saddens me is that this has become so popular. Look past the ignorance of the white man, look past the disrespect and look past the misconception.
This is the true beauty of Afghanistan, my home country.
These are only some examples of the true beauty of Afghanistan. What you see above is simply the result of the western imperialism, western intervention in places that the west has no right to be.
A message to the (mostly US) outside forces “working” to better a country whose destruction is significantly at the hands of those who are “helping” it: get out.
here have some more
Can you say Paradise on Earth?
[bottles up feelings and lets them age for 10 years like a fine wine]