“I have failed more times than I have succeeded but my successes outweigh my failures because I didn’t give up. Count it all joy.” — Deryle A. Daniels, Jr.
Sometimes we get down on ourselves because we see (and feel) our failures much more strongly than our successes. And we count our failures more than we celebrate our successes. Seriously, do you celebrate every e-mail response you get from a potential client or only those e-mails that notify you of a payment being made? Do you jump for joy with every passing day that you keep a job or only when you get a new one? But we sulk every time someone responds saying that they decided to go with another candidate for a position we interviewed for. We feel that much more. But we don’t have to.
Let’s start celebrating our small victories. Enjoy the moments that aren’t usually enjoyed. They matter too. And, let’s be honest, isn’t that one exceptional victory, like getting the right job or finding your life partner, worth all the minute losses, like getting passed up for the wrong jobs or dating all those incompatible people?
Make counting your victories a priority.
“Don’t let these fools guilt trip you into anything.” — Bianca Payton
I was having a discussion with one of my frat brothers yesterday who is looking to change jobs. Issue is he doesn’t want to leave his current job hanging. I asked him what I ask everyone I know who is unhappy where they work but still wants to remain loyal: “Will the organization go on tomorrow if you die today? If the answer is ‘No,’ leave. If the answer is ‘Yes,’ leave.”
Don’t give your happiness up for anything or anyone who no longer adds value or purpose to your life. Sure, you won’t always be happy in any relationship, be it professional, platonic, romantic, or otherwise. But if the relationship resides in a state of seemingly eternal joylessness, you should consider terminating it. No one wants to get up for work every single day but no one should hate getting up for work every single day. And, unless you get fired, no one will end that “Wake up and hate it” cycle for you. Make the tough decision and have the uncomfortable conversation so you can live a more comfortable, fulfilling, purpose driven life.
Caveat to my “Seek Happiness” point of view: This may change when children are added into the equation. The moment you know you will be a parent, you have to consider the child’s well-being first because you brought him/her into this world and must provide necessities. But make sure you’re differentiating necessities from luxuries. If you’re working a job you hate and missing out on quality time with your family so you can purchase new iPhones for the family each year, you’re really selling the value of your time and happiness short.
Make loyalty to yourself a priority.
“Would you rather fail because you cut corners to get to the finish line or succeed by running past the finish line?” — Deryle A. Daniels, Jr.
At this point in my life, there is no such thing as “I want to _____,” and not doing it. I may not be able to succeed in it at that moment but I realize that if I want something, I must take steps to make it happen. It won’t always be easy or comfortable but I can do it. If I want to run a marathon, I can do it. If I want to bench 400 pounds, I can do it. And if I want to become debt free and have $1M, I can do it.
The trick is in giving yourself a challenging but realistic timeline for everything, one which includes a plan. I’m not going to do a half tomorrow but, being that I’ve run 11 miles at one time before, I know 13 isn’t impossible. I just have to train my body to get back to that. I don’t bench 400 lbs. now (and don’t have a reason to shoot for that goal) but if I wanted to, it’s all about making incremental increases. Financially, if it continues that I am blessed with upward mobility professionally, multiple streams of income, and an ability to save, I will be able to hit that debt-free $1M within the next 5-10 years.
If I want it, pray for it, educate myself on it, and work for it, I can have it. And, in the event that I do the praying and the educating and the work required but don’t get it, I’m alright with that because I am still closer to it than I was when I said I wanted it. Nevertheless, I don’t go into it with that mindset. I go in with the expectation that I will succeed and you should do the same thing.
Make getting what you deserve a priority.
Nothing in this world is perfect. While we should all aspire to perfection, to reach it would require one to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. My writing can never take into account all perspectives. My singing can never cater to all preferences (or any preferences according to Desirée but I know I can sang).
The other day I heard someone acknowledge Michael Jackson’s talent as a performer but say that he isn’t a fan of his music. Now, if someone can say that, it just goes to prove that even an artist I see as all-encompassing is actually not.
That being said, I don’t write or speak or present to cater to everyone. Last night, in the wake of the terrorist gathering in Charlottesville, I penned a piece that was published by the well-known opinion site Blavity.com, with the knowledge that my perspective, while it may be justified, will not be a popular one across America. Still, I wrote and submitted with hopes of sharing my experience with those who will be able to appreciate it, regardless of race or background. And, while I am a perfectionist, I know it will not be perfect. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking to correct typos or remove flaws during proofreads but I know that, even after being read over a million times, being structurally and grammatically sound, and eloquent, everything I do will always be limited to my purview.
And that’s ok. It’s alright to be imperfect, so long as you’re doing the best you can and serving those people who need your service. It took me a long time to realize that. I cannot save nor speak for the world but I can save and uplift members of the world.
Make doing your best a priority.
What is “better”? What is “worse”? The words are so subjective. Some people want things to go back to the way they were in the “good ol’ days” when America’s GDP was the highest in the world and the economy appeared to be thriving because those days were “better.” You know, the Andy Griffith days and earlier kind of better. But those days weren’t good for all Americans. Blacks were being lynched without any justice being found (and still are in too many instances). Latinxs were (and still are in too many instances) being over worked and underpaid. Japanese Americans were thrown into internment camps because of the color of their skin. So, when you say “better”, make sure it wasn’t just better for you or better for a majority. Make sure it was actual better.
The same can be said in the work place. Getting back to the good old days where everyone wore suits and ties and had rigid rules was great for those people who needed that structure but what about those of us who create best when we are inspired? Or what was okay about leading someone by making them fear you when they already had anxiety problems? Times were never better across the board. They were better for some and worse for others. So, I don’t ask that we make the work environments or the United States or the Americas or the world great again. I ask that we just work on making them better. Period.
Make being objective a priority.
“The pessimist looks down and hits his head. The optimist looks up and loses his footing. The realist looks forward and adjusts his path accordingly.”
This quote didn’t come from any noteworthy philosopher but I would not say that it is not a noteworthy philosophy. As a realist, your peripheral vision allows you to see both life’s opportunities and its challenges. Look too far either way, be it up or down, and you will miss what the opposite has to offer. Focus on what is in front of you, seeing that which can come with it and you will succeed.
Make professional development a priority.