Define Success?

I’ve been meaning to write a portion of this blog for a while now…but just haven’t found the time to do so…

Recently, my buddy and I were sitting around a bonfire discussing our views on life, success, etc. and he brought up a poster he’d read at a local restaurant over lunch one day that’s really changed his views toward success in life and such. We shared very similar opinions on it and it’s a topic that’s come up for discussion a lot in my life that few people seem to see eye to eye with me on.

Here is the story…

A Little Story

The businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.” “Millions, señor? Then what?” The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

-Author Unknown

A lot of people I’ve spoken with…many my own family members…have always disagreed with my way of life. They feel that I’m too smart to be doing what I’m doing and that in order to be successful in life, I need to go back to college and get a degree, find a new job that pays more and offers benefits in my degree field, build a nice career for myself, and then retire. But what have I really accomplished during that time? If I go back to school now, assuming I even make it to the age of 60, I will have wasted approximately half of my life just preparing myself to begin a career, at which point I will then spend at least 20 years establishing that career, since nobody can afford to retire by the age of 50, add in another 15 or so, before I’ll be able to afford retirement (provided I ever do), and then at age 65, finally retire and live a little. That’s IF I make it to age 65. Truthfully, I don’t see that happening. And let’s say I choose to follow their recommendations and I die of a heart attack at the age of 35. What have I accomplished then? Not a whole lot…I was too busy building up my future to get anything done RIGHT NOW. With my plan, I may work until the day I die (or can’t work anymore), but I’ll enjoy nearly every day of my life without too many regrets.

Cancer runs pretty heavily in our family…odds are I’m going to die well before I reach retirement age. I’m not going to beat around the bush on the subject, I really do have the odds against me there. Considering I’m not a big fan of doctors…chances are also good I will never know if I have cancer until it’s far too late. I prefer it that way anyway. After seeing what my mom went through in her battle, I want to go when it’s my time to go. I don’t want my family and friends to see me withering away.

I love my job I’m working now…I know, I know…I bitch a lot about how swamped I am, but that’s just because I’m stressed out learning a LOT of new things all at once. But that’s just it…I love learning new skills (plus you gotta admit, it’s a good resume booster). I hate formal education with a passion and think college is one of the biggest scams out there, but I love learning things in fields I’m interested in at my own pace. That’s the main reason for my stress…I’m being forced to learn at a faster pace than I’m comfortable with, but once I’ve got the hang of it, it’ll be cake. If I’m not learning, I’m not living. Many people are under the impression my late night computer habits involve porn and Facebook…but interestingly enough, porn is more of a morning habit. Errr…I mean…I actually spend a great deal of my free time on the computer researching various topics. In many cases it’s politics, but I’ll click on damn near anything that catches my attention and read about it. Currently I’ve been spending a lot of time researching land contracts and how to prepare them as that’s an important element in my job currently.

So what do I define as success in my life?

Success is keeping my head above water (and paying off my debts) while still having time to enjoy my hobbies. Success is working a job I enjoy, marrying the girl I love, eventually moving into a comfortable home and raising a family, and making enough money that I get to spoil my children just enough for them to enjoy growing up while still having an appreciation for what they have. Success is keeping my friends close and helping anyone who needs it. Tonight I received a text message from my ex that made me feel really good. It was a simple text message, but it made me feel like being supportive of my friends and those needing help really does mean something to them. Sometimes that reminder is something I need…especially on days when I’m feeling down and feel like a total failure at life.

The message read:

“Hey. Graduation was tonight and I just wanted to thank you for supporting me through my schooling. You kept me going when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Being able to help someone reach their goals, that is success. And I strive to do so any chance I get for anyone. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger who just needs a little encouragement.

Something else I want to touch on…don’t worry, I’m not suicidal…this may come off that way, but it’s not.

As I mentioned above…I don’t go to doctors. Granted, so far there isn’t really anything worthy of me having checked out anyway aside from what I’m fairly certain is chronic bronchitis that I’ve been dealing with for about 5 years now, but if I actually do end up with cancer, there’s that possibility that I could seem to have the flu and just up and die one day. I know people who have had that happen. Even people who go to doctors have had it happen that way so don’t go trying to convince me to get a bunch of tests done. If I die, I just want something published online somewhere a couple things. Call it a budget, non-legal Living Will & Testament or something…mainly, my pets. To whoever reads this…just make sure my reptiles all end up taken care of…I have plenty of reptile loving friends on my facebook who would be happy to take them. And my dog Heidi…she’s too good of a dog to give to just anybody and I hope somebody close to me can provide her with a good home. As far as my few possessions…I’ll be dead…do whatever with that shit. lol

Ummm…I’ve started getting active in bullying awareness type stuff. My friend is working hard to raise awareness about bullies around here and I’m trying to help her out some. I’d like to get more active in that. Seeing as how I was bullied all throughout my childhood, I just feel like there’s a lot of good I could do for children in the same situation today. We shall see.

The IRS hijacked my bank account. Gotta love them. I can’t wait until terrorists target them. I don’t know how nobody has snapped on them yet, or maybe they have and they just have REAAAAALLY good security. I dunno. Either way, they suck.

I’m tired and gonna go to bed now. I had more to talk about but good enough. Good night.

Random good song…