Find the things you're bad at. And keep doing them.
This is not the typical blog post that puts you on a path to a successful career. It absolutely doesn't. This article sheds some lights on the opposite. It questions our metrics for success. I still hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Success. Early on in our lives, we get taught how success looks like. And nowadays, that picture got even stronger.
Either being a successful, handsome, suit-wearing white guy going to his Wall Street job every day. Or the creative dude making millions from his startup exits.
Or that follower-rich Instagram model that's traveling the world while never having a bad day.
And while those people might have a successful time, this is not the de-facto standard how success for us all looks like.
Being a successful manager
When graduating from high school, everyone in my class wrote down a job title they would like to pursue. A statement on how their dream looks like.
Do you know what I wrote down? Yes - being a successful manager.
I had no idea about life, business or any specific industry. But I was sure that I wanted to be a manager. A successful one.
Looking back, this is funny. It's hilarious because I had no idea how a day in the life of a manager really looks like and what his responsibilities are. And it's also funny whilst me being naive, this dream job title became reality.
A few years into my professional life, I suddenly was a "successful manager". I unlocked everything I wanted to be.
And then I asked myself: OK, what's next? I (hopefully) have decades of work life left. What am I going to do with this time?
This thought made me realize one thing:
The public perception of success and how successful I am, does not matter at all. The only thing that matters is my own perception.
So whilst my dream became true, over the years, I found better ways to define success and what it really means to me.
How to measure success?
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
I love this talk from Geraldine DeRuiter on success and how success looks like.
She tackles a lot of great stories on how to measure and define success. But what really stuck with me is the idea of being bad at certain things.
Sometimes we are bad in certain areas (e.g. playing an instrument) because we are not really interested in that topic. Then we should rather stop pursuing that topic.
However, sometimes it's the other way round:
Sometimes we think that we are bad at something because we are doing it differently than anyone before.
About failure and success
So how do failure and success relate to each other?
Success and failure are not objective things. They are determined by our perception.
Just think about this for a second.
Success and failure are determined by our perception. By our very own perception. How cool is that?
Suddenly, I'm able to define my own set of success metrics. I might not care about this fancy job title any longer (hint: I don't).
“When you change the criteria for success, you change who gets to be successful.”
And you know what? It's hard to measure many of the things I care most about. Physical health, relationships, and freedom. Instead of quantitatively measuring success, think about the values you care about.
Discover what you value and choose your own metrics.
Every great piece of progress that happened, happened because we changed our definition of success.
Find the things you're bad at and keep doing them.
Watch the full talk here: