Recently I was having a chat with a couple of friends over a nice branch at an Eritrean-themed restaurant in Westlands. Allow me to dwell on this restaurant for a minute. I had Tsahli Tibsi (pan-fried goat meat) and a side of sauteed potatoes with steamed vegetables. The goat meat came in a traditional Eritrean pot and was well cooked with a dash of spiciness from afar. Ayayay! Take me back.

I should’ve taken a better picture lol. Forgive me as I had not foreseen myself posting it here.

You see, besides exploring fancy restaurants with these ladies, I enjoy their company so much because most of our conversations are usually geared towards financial growth and success. This time, we found ourselves recognizing the growth and success that some of our peers have been able to achieve at the same age as us, and some even younger. Sometimes such conversations stir some fear in me; fear that I may not be moving at the right pace, fear that I am stagnating or I am not on the right path to success. But then again, is there really a right path?

Pressure to succeed and become wealthy has become more evident in the internet age and with growing exposure to information. Social media doesn’t make it easier for us because that is where every rich person resides. That is where every 21-year-old is driving a flashy car, going to fancy restaurants and really expensive holidays, and getting into stable relationships. LinkedIn can be even more depressing when you feel that your career is on the standstill. What we fail to see in these posts is the journey to success; what they had to endure to get there and how much time it took. We, the consumers feel the pressure to be like them without considering other underlying factors.

In our chat, we realized that we downplay our achievements because we are mostly focused on the bigger goal — success. We forget that there is a path to success and we have to live it to get there. By doing this, we tend to either try to do too many things at once and fail to achieve any; or lose confidence in the capabilities that we once were so certain about. The more we focus on what we haven’t achieved, the lesser the effort we put into what we are supposed to do to achieve our goals.

Our conversation led us to the conclusion that we ought to slow down and take a step at a time. Success takes patience, commitment, and consistency. We all agreed that there are a few pointers to work on as we strive to achieve our goals in life;

Take note of your achievements — take a look back, see where you were a few years ago and where you are now. It doesn’t have to be financial growth, it could be personal. Maybe you were shy in the past and now you voice your opinion in front of several people. That is an achievement. Maybe you say fewer words of self-doubt, you appreciate yourself and others more, you run, you go on hikes, you eat healthier, you know yourself better; all these are positive changes. And it is an achievement.

Recognize your strengths; I once did a course on building my brand. One of the key things I learnt from that course was that people know how you brand yourself better than you do. How you perceive yourself may be completely different from how other people see you. Ask people what they think about you- the positive things. This may seem self-absorbed but it is a way to build your brand and confidence. When we downplay ourselves and our achievements, we fail to note the positive things that other people see in us. Seeing yourself in the eye of another may help you realize a lot more about yourself than you know.

Commitment, Consistency, and Patience: When a toddler is learning how to walk, they first start by crawling, then they try to stand, then they try to take a few steps. They fall, get up, clumsily walk to the nearest support and repeat the process until they are able to walk. They do not give up. We shouldn’t either.

Success takes a while, slow down!



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@rrietwrites is a cybersecurity researcher who also enjoys conversations on personal finance, lifestyle, mental health and human psychology