I read Quora questions and their answers regularly and I bookmark a lot of them.
So in the spirit of redistributing and having an easier access to my favorite stories over there, I decided to publish them on a daily basis here with, maybe, a couple of personal notes at the end.
The following question and answer were the best I glanced over for the day.
Contrary to what people might think from looking at me from a distance, I’m not hungry for success. At least, not in the way that word is formally defined.
What I am hungry for is mastery.
I want to be better tomorrow than I was today.
What I’m hungry for, constantly, is that magic moment when you’re practicing your craft and something happens, something appears, some plateau is broken through that is nothing more than the result of weeks and months and years of deliberate work.
What I am hungry for is being able to look back at myself a year, two years, five years, ten years ago, and see how much I have grown. How much I have learned. How much I have developed and changed and reinvented myself.
If I had wanted “success,” which society tends to quietly define through the acquisition of objects and titles, I would have just followed the path in front of me. My dad is a surgeon. I come from a town of extremely successful doctors, lawyers, CEOs, bankers, traders, etc. If I had picked any of the socially-applauded-for career paths, I would have gone to the best schools, had the best internships, been given the best job, and walked my way right up the ladder into some high-paying gig prompted everyone to say the words, “Wow, look at him, he’s so successful.“
I don’t care about that. I’ve never cared about that.
Instead, I studied what I wanted to study in school: creative writing.
I invested all of my time into things that interested me, that I genuinely wanted to get good at (for various reasons): competitive gaming, music, bodybuilding, digital marketing.
I went my own way.
I paid my own bills.
Right out of college, I moved into a tiny studio apartment and spent all, all, ALL of my time investing in myself and the things I wanted to master.
The entire way, the vast majority of people looked from the outside and asked questions with undertones of judgment: “What are you going to do with a degree in creative writing? That’s not a very realistic career path.”
And then here’s the interesting part…
As soon as all that time investing in myself paid off, and I did become “successful” at this thing nobody really thought would ever become something special, do you know what people then said?
“You work that hard because you just want to be successful.”
I did what I loved back before anyone gave it an ounce of approval.
I did what I loved before anyone was willing to pay me to do it.
I did what I loved before anyone thought it was a good idea, or thought what I was doing was “cool” or “interesting” or “successful.
I did what I loved because I was hungry for mastery.
I did it for myself.
And that’s the difference between someone who climbs their way up the ladder someone else tells them to climb, only to reach the top and realize they never wanted it in the first place, and the person who picks their own ladder, and every day sees life from the most amazing view.
Don’t be hungry for success. It’s fleeting.
Be hungry to master yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this answer as much as I did.
If you don’t use Quora, feel free to leave a comment down below about this answer.