I Used To Believe Success Was A Linear Progression, Now I Know It's Not

I Used To Believe Success Was A Linear Progression, Now I Know It's Not

An unhealthy drive.
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My biggest weakness is how hard I am on myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed. I think if I'm not doing everything in my power to succeed right at that moment, then I'm not using my time wisely. I'm always thinking about the future and what my next move is. And if I don't feel like I'm doing enough to be impressive or successful, I feel really bad about myself.

I put too much pressure on myself to look impressive and to look successful. I need to appear driven, balanced and determined at all times. I don't even allow myself to consider what makes me happy. In the last six months, I've pushed myself farther than I should have. I took on way too many responsibilities, and I felt miserable at all times. I didn't even do a good job of balancing them. I felt like if I wasn't pushing myself to get experience and improve my resume, I wasn't allowed to feel proud of myself. I never just allow my accomplishments are "enough". Although a healthy amount of drive is good, there is a line, and I tend to cross it.

I've recently let go of a lot of responsibilities, and I've begun to do the things that make me happy, rather than the things that make me look impressive. Trying to conform to what I believe society deems "successful" is exhausting and unhealthy. I have a lot more free time now than I've had in over a year, and it feels scary and exciting.

I've taken a lot of pressure off myself, and even though I have those negative thoughts telling me I'm not doing enough to feel good about myself, I have never felt more content and balanced with my life.

I used to believe success was a linear progression. I used to think there were certain steps to take to get where you're going until you finally arrive. But success and life are nothing like that. There are high's and low's and plateau's all the time. Some chapters in our life are meant to end, and that's OK. Some things that used to be good for us can no longer be good for us, and that's OK. We can change our minds, we can change our direction, and we can change our goals. There is one pathway to a successful life, and I need to learn to take my own path and not the one I believe society expects me to take.

I'm currently in a transitional period of where I don't know where I'm going and exactly what I want, and I'm trying to find joy and excitement at this stage. I want to live life in the present, and I want to be happy to be where I am right now. Although goals and a drive to succeed are important, it's just as important to be happy in the present and content with what we have now. I know that one day I'll figure out all the things that confuse me right now, and I'm doing great where I am right now.

Cover Image Credit: Jolie Delia

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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What To Do When You’re Lacking Inspiration

Honestly, I have been in a rut. I have no idea what I want to do in life. I have been lacking creative ideas. So, I decided to try different methods to pull me out of this headspace.

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It happens. Life comes at you so fast; it seems like it can only move up and then you stagnate. You get stuck, unable to pull yourself out of a cloud that seemingly engulfs you. It is okay. It is okay to be lost. It is okay to sit back and reflect. It is okay to be sad. But in these moments where you lack any type of inspiration or motivation, what do you do? I used two different methods in an attempt to pull myself back up.

1. Yoga

I became interested in the practice of yoga during my junior year of high school when the world seemed to just stop spinning. Things were not going well for me, so I decided to channel my anxiety into the practice of calm stretching. I started a yoga club in high school, and from there, found videos online to continue a free and relaxing practice. Yoga is a method to re-center and re-focus your values and recognize your place on this Earth. It can be hard when everything is so loud but doing just 15 minutes of yoga every morning is a reminder that you have a place and you are significant. You deserve to take time for yourself and quietly be, and the video above reminds me of that. I do this video every single morning before I leave my dorm room for the day. It allows me to refocus on myself and improves my mood.
This channel, Boho Beautiful, has allowed me to channel my stress into the calming practices of yoga and meditation. If I want a more rigorous workout, she has plenty of those too. By doing yoga, I found a passion and an interest. With this passion, I am reminded of my importance on this planet and that we all can do something to better ourselves.

2. Reconnect with yourself

Take a day to treat yourself. Treating yourself does not always entail indulging in your favorite foods or spa day. It can also entail simply just taking a few moments to breathe, be by yourself and just be. I have found that in LA it is very easy to get caught up in the fast-paced society, always searching for something better. However, oftentimes if you sit and reflect you will realize that you are exactly where you should be and are probably doing a lot more than you think. By reflecting I realized that I have been caught up in the mindset of "I can do better" or "I can do more". But, again, you are exactly where you should be. Slow down. Appreciate you.

While it is very easy to get caught up in the neverending cycle of social, economic, or status climbing in LA, remember that everyone has times when they lose motivation. We all have rock bottoms where it seems like nothing could get worst. But with this rock bottom remember. It truly is only up from there. To find your inspiration again, try something new. Like yoga, you may have a passion that reminds you why you are here. Remember to treat yourself. Sit. It is okay to do nothing every once in a while to ensure you are taking the best care of yourself as possible. Just sit. Be. Let the motion continue around you. And remember, it is okay to not always be a part of that movement.

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