Up until a few years ago I always thought I was going to die - we all are - but I mean, young. As in late 20s to early 30s. This was not the fruit of paranoia, but from previous discussions of various diagnoses I was given as a child. My mother listed off what she knew and incorrectly named one as a very rare disorder called Cogan's Syndrome. I couldn't move my eyes without closing them as a baby - she thought that's what the Doctor had diagnosed it as. There were very few Doctors in the country to deal with what I had, and having not seen the Doctor in what must be 20 years now she had remembered it as if it was the result of a game of Telephone.
As a curious teenager I had looked up the diagnosis - young death was one of the symptoms. I've always been different to others, I was born so and labeled so, and as such people have always treated me differently. So I had assumed that was one of the reasons and that as no one talked about it, it was just considered normal and to carry on.
I spent a lot of time thinking about death. Am I happy to die? Have I achieved enough? One epiphany has still stuck with me today, much after I realise I've got many years leftâ€¦ is that although work is very much core to my persona, it's not what makes me successful. I've never wanted kids (and if I have them, and they're reading this - sorry, but thanks for taking over my life) so that's not it. I realised I didn't need to be remembered by name. I needed to be remembered that I left the world a slightly more positive place than when I entered it.
I see a lot near post deaths that say "You could die tomorrow, stop gaming, stop watching TV, start creating great things." And I empathise but I feel they miss the mark. Not watching TV or playing games don't mean you'll do better at creating, nor does it mean you're not successful. Being productive is never about sticking yourself in front of your laptop for as many hours as possible. Do I constantly feel like I've not done enough? Sure. But that's always going to be the case. I made peace with that very early on.
I look back and the best things in my life were not the things that people will use to quantify my success. Instead it revolves around the time I spent being there for other people, or the time I watched TV with my girlfriend, or the concert I went to with my brother, or got drunk with my best friends.
We are our own worst enemies with success. We set ourselves goals, and then when we're about to reach them we've already decided that success is something else far away. As people, we're never content with what we've achieved. I mean, hell - most people I know have achieved a hell of a lot and have every right to feel good about their lives.
Success is personal. Only you can set goals you can feel you've achieved. Everyone has their own definition, and only you can choose one you'll be happy with.
We all focus on future successes, and forget about past. But we shouldn't. We should sit back and think about them every so often. You're a human being and you've achieved a lot. Whether your job is a "successful" one or not, that doesn't define your successes.
I see people on the web constantly having confidence woes. I think it's part of being in a creative industry, especially one with such smart minds. It can be intimidating for anyone, and is for nearly everyone. That's another thing we forget, I've seen people who we hail as successful have confidence woes many a time. We're all people after all.
Sit back, and relax. You may not be the next Steve Jobs. So what? There can be only one Steve - and I wouldn't want to have been him anyway. No matter what you do, there can be only one 'best' person, and if you're not it - that's nothing to worry about, be grateful. It's got to be a hard moniker to live up to.