What makes a successful day, a successful effort and a successful life? Ultimately, defining success remains individualized. Another person’s success may be defined as failure by someone else. To live an authentic life, your goals must originate from your own personal dreams and desires. To live a life that only serves another person’s dreams is not a real life. For some, it can take a large percentage of a life to finally figure out what you really want. Sadly, some people never figure out what they want and squander their entire existence. Even more tragic, is the person who lives a life enslaved by alcohol, drugs or other addictions.
From a very early age, adults commented on how “mature” I was. My third grade teacher declared I would be the first female president, not because I was full of proclamations but because I was a determined child. I think I have always been “in focus” and well defined. I am flexible and agile, I like to try new things but I have opinions. My opinions aren’t rigid and fixed. I am thrilled to keep learning and exploring, opening myself to new things and new ideas. But….I have my own ideas. I think of it like a Codex. I have a construct from where I build, a box of what makes ME who I am. You can’t build or define (or redefine) yourself using my Codex. You should have your own Codex. When we’re kids, we build from our parents Codex and then later we borrow from friends or teachers or books or pop culture. Eventually, the rudimentary components that assemble to make the core basics of who I am become defined. My box got defined really early, earlier than most of my peers. Don’t ask me why. And don’t ask me to admit how long it took me to realize that few people are like me. I am the outlier. I just assumed everyone had their building blocks figured out a long time ago. It’s strange to encounter people who are my peers that are still “out of focus”. It is this focus that differentiates me.
Two days ago someone said to me, “I thought I was a very determined person, maybe the most determined person. Then, I met you. You beat me hands down.” I liked this. It made me feel good. It is solely and absolutely because of that persistent, doggedly determination that I have accomplished all that I have, often against seemingly insurmountable odds, odds to which most people would have long ago surrendered. Maybe I could save myself heartache and heart break if I could learn to quit. Except, I think all problems are solvable. Like every math theorem, there IS eventually a solution. The solution takes time, reworking, collaboration, patience and the willingness to fail….over and over and over. Despite lamenting a deep fear of looking foolish, I apparently lack the fear of failure. Or, I am still idealistic or naive enough to not perceive that what I am doing is repeatedly FAILING. In my mind, I am just making a different twist of the Rubik’s cube, trying a different combination. I have the faith of an innocent; I just keep trying.
This is the character trait that truly defines me. No one can ever call me a quitter. If I want something and it is within my capacity to achieve, I will get there. And I did get there. And it will be a reality, my reality, my new home.