Deep Thoughts

The mystery of “making it”

“This is it, this is the life, I’ve made it… haven’t I?” are the words I said to myself whilst sitting in the first class lounge of Dubai’s airport deciding which smoothie I wanted from the delicious looking buffet. I was half way through a trip to India. Another business trip for my employer at the time to launch an innovative project that I was immensely proud of.

I was 29 years old, in what I thought at the time was the best moment of my life. I was in a job I loved, a relationship where I was loved and things were just all clicking. It was like one of those beautiful Disney movie stories we all know and love. Plus, first class for a guy from a background like mine was the stuff you only saw in those movies.

For all purposes at that time, maybe I had “made it”. Yet, I was conflicted, is this it? Have I made it? What does “making it” actually mean? Is there a criteria I can review? I was no doubt overthinking it.

This of course led me to even more thinking (a blessing and a curse) on what do we mean by making it? Is it a one time stop or can you have these “make it” moments several times over. I like to think these moments come along several times. When goals are accomplished, new goals arise so logically we focus on getting to the next ‘I’ve made it’ moment.

Making it will mean different things to each of us. To some, making it might be getting through a bad bout of poor mental health, to others it might be getting that job or starting a family. Success is personal to everyone but how do you know when you’ve made it? And when we do “make it” – what’s next?

I seem to think I had made it at 29 but of course, I was wrong.

Perhaps, we don’t ever make it. Maybe we just have moments of success and move forward to the next thing. If you think about it, the concept of making it is quite a dangerous one. I mean, what happens after you make it? Is that it? Do you just set up shop and cruise until the end of time? I can imagine this would be chaos for the mind and our health.

Instead of looking at making it in whatever field we are working in. We could work towards milestone moments. A series of significant achievements that signify we are on the right track and make up the body of work we call life.

Essentially, this is what happens anyway if you think about it. Even, if you have “made it” in your view, you still need to do work to stay there and other challenges will always emerge.

So, what are the takeaways for you in this rambling?

  1. Don’t aim to ‘make it’, focus on small goals that will build a greater body of work.
  2. None of us really ‘make it’ in anything. There is always more to learn and do.
  3. Avoid falling into the pitfalls of the ‘I’ve made it to the summit and now life will be great’ thought process. It’s not quite that simple.
  4. Be suspicious of buffet bars in first class lounges, they can be misleading.

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