I have changed a lot since graduation.
During my school years, I was only passionate about certain subjects, resulting in a good average from lopsided grades. Now the buffet has changed: I care more. I’m free to choose what I study, and what I focus my energies on. I care about everything that I choose to do because now, there are no bird courses. It is both propelling and paralyzing. It is just me, doing me.
This is the feeling of being productive, the feeling of making something of yourself. You may have been raised to believe you could do anything. So you feel successful, grateful and happy. To stay hungry is to fight to better yourself and your prospects. But sometimes the need to “stay hungry” can be taken to an extreme and as a result, you are never quite full.
Moments of success are seen only as stepping-stones to bigger things. And while this can-do attitude has led great human beings to do great things, it can sometimes devalue what has already been accomplished, or distract from what is right in front of your eyes. You can run the risk of chronic dissatisfaction.
This is the FOMO. The double-edged sword from being scrappy, motivated and having exacting standards, or at least a blurry vision of what you’d like your life to look like. And so, you keep searching and wondering. You continue to race to the finish line and hyper-analyze the choices you’ve made. Perhaps that is why Steve Jobs also advised students to “stay foolish”.
Without the foolishness, there is no fun in the success. There is no exhale of relief, no high fives or “WE DID IT!” Jobs said that you “cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards… Believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart.” Once you reach a milestone, throw a party–a foolish, Steve Jobs-approved party. Throw a party just because! Just by believing the dots will connect, good will come.
In those moments of crunching out a late night paper, stay appreciative. Know that these things will take you somewhere. Don’t discount what you have. Appreciate the grind and the bright spots as they come.
Try as we might to decode the system, we don’t know how the future will unfold. We have to trust ourselves and keep doing the things that interest us. Instead of worrying I won’t have the weekly brain space to properly deliver the funnies/the truths, I should just write. If you like doing something, you should give it a try and leave your self-inflicted pressure at the door.
There is beauty in staying motivated and looking ahead, and there is ugliness in failing to celebrate your own victories–big or small. With our jobs, friends, lovers and more, life is unpredictable. Without stopping to smell the roses, you will straight up miss the garden.