By Susan Hang
What I’ve come to realize is that even when I became that thing I wanted to be, it was never enough… The chase and idea of being something was always more grand than actually being it. And a few years ago, I began to wonder what this insatiable desire was… What was I really looking for? Why was it that whenever I did what I wanted to do, it was never enough? What I’ve come to realize is that all these things are temporary and have no relevance in my identity. I think when you’re young, it’s easy to think the competition, the drive, and the comparison mold you into who are – or who you’re supposed to be. But let this be a reminder that these external factors do not at all define your identity.
1. Your Career
Your job will be ever changing. What you begin at 22 most likely won’t be the same at 30. Whether you’re a waitress for a hole in the wall restaurant or owner of a startup, these are most likely temporary things you’ll do in your life. Remember that the positions you hold don’t define the kind of person you are.
For instance, someone who is CEO of a large corporation but steals from the company defines who he/she is more than the position they hold. And imagine if you land your “dream job” but end up realizing it was more a of a nightmare than a dream – how would you feel if someone associated that job with your identity? There’s no correlation.
2. Your Education
Were you a Straight A student throughout school? Do you have a bunch of degrees to show off and gloat about? Or did you struggle and maybe even drop out? It doesn’t really matter. Your education says nothing about how useful you are in society. As a matter of fact, several articles have popped up recently about how valedictorians rarely become successful… Let that be a reminder that your education and intellect don’t equate to success. One of my favorite quotes that expresses this strongly is, “intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings”…
3. Your Past
We all make mistakes… We screw up. We screw people over and we mess things up for ourselves constantly – and almost always unintentionally. The best thing you can do is forgive yourself, move on, and course correct along the way. Sure your past says a lot about who you were at the time, but that can always change. Almost everything in life is temporary.
4. Your Appearance
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – this we know, but when everyone looks seemingly impeccable, it’s hard not to wonder why we didn’t hit the gene lottery. Fortunately, we all wrinkle and age. There will always be someone prettier and skinnier. I always joke that at this point in my life, I’m a raisin… and it doesn’t even matter because people will remember you more by the way you make them feel over how you look. A pretty face with a crap attitude is worse than a not so pretty face with a heart of gold.
5. Your Hobbies & Interests
So I think there are two parts to this depending on what your hobbies and interests are… For those of us in the fashion industry, we know that it often gets a bad rap for being superficial and unapproachable. Just because the industry may be crowded with people of that mentality, it doesn’t mean someone who takes a deep interest in it is guilty. I always give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise… While your hobbies and interests can define you, they don’t always…