Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Success

I'm watching OWN. In particular, Oprah presents Master Class: Jay-Z. I guess what Oprah said about creating a network that inspires people is really working out because as Jay-Z talks about life, and more specifically successes and failures, I can't help but to think about my own life.

As you may know, I'm jobless at the moment. The idea of only getting out of something what you put in is kinda getting on my nerves, because I honestly don't want to put a whole lot into this job search thing. Am I lazy? Umm... Well, let's put it like this. Since I started 5th grade at The Potomac School in McLean, VA, I have been working my BUTT off. I'm talking blood, sweat and tears. I've been on this path of notch schools, top competing dance companies, being pushed to do public speaking engagements in front of political figures at the age of 16, forcing my brain to figure out calculus 2 math that I know I was never going to get and then going to tutoring sessions on my break so as to not 'give up'... My childhood and teenage years were hard. Very hard. I was always struggling to persevere. At this point in my life, I don't won't to be forced. I don't want to push until blood, sweat and tears fall. I want something more natural.

I was pushed at the right time though. During a person's informative years, s/he should be pushed. That kind of forced direction builds a foundation that I am thankful for. I'm glad that I have the skills and knowledge that I have. I wouldn't be who I am without those tools.

But anyway, Jay-Z's master class made me realize what I've been struggling with... The fact of the matter is that I am jobless, and if I tune into what I've heard all my life, being jobless directly contradicts the idea not wanting to push. To be honest, I don't even want 'that' job that I've been educated to do. But since I have no choice (or do I?), is the only way I'll get a job that fits me if I exert myself vigorously? Jay-Z said that when he was writing rhymes at the kitchen table, it came easy to him. So since his mother told him that you get out of life what you put in, he believed that nothing would come from rhyming. It was too easy. He wasn't putting much into it, so a rap career wasn't feasible. It was too natural. Now, that's what I'd like to touch into. And I say that with all passions of passion. Meditating on that concept... I think that's why I find Jay-Z to be an extraordinary man. Not only did he have the intelligence to let his natural talents work for him, but he stays true to himself in the game of push and shove. But look at Jay. He's not a lazy man. He works. He creates. He thinks. He has drive. So maybe it's true. You can only be successful if you put in work. Maybe laziness is not an option. But is that what I am?!

"Failure is a great teacher, and if you're open to it, every mistake has a lesson." - Oprah
"I've learned more from failures than successes." - Jay-Z
"The worst thing you can do is be as successful as someone else. That's draining." - Jay-Z
"You can have success, but to maintain success is another thing." - Jay-Z

These quotes are getting me to thinking... What are my failures? I don't think I can itemize them, but what I can do is say that anytime I haven't been passionate about something, it hasn't worked so well for me. Oprah said that the point she really liked was when Jay-Z spoke about "learning from his failures and no longer chasing success, but following his truth." She pointed out how that's a lesson for all of us. Find your own truth and follow it. I love that. And as of today, that is my mission. To find my own truth and follow it.

My success isn't the same as my husbands. He feels success with a promotion, not to mention that men feel successful when they are able to take care of their families. My success isn't the same as a mom who once said that her children are her success. I don't have children, so I wouldn't know anything about that. But the thing that those people have is that specific feeling of success. I know I'm successful because of my blessings. My family, this roof over my head, the ability to be jobless and still be comfortable. In that way, I feel successful. I didn't ignore counsel and marry a man who didn't love Jehovah. I didn't drop out of school and run away like I once thought of doing. I avoided drugs, stealing and stripping. Hence, I'm successful. But I still don't have that defined success that I'm looking for. What I need now is depth of clarity. Jay's master class advises us to follow our own instincts for what is true to us individually. So what is true to me?

What am I passionate about? Ummmmmm. *crickets* If I were to ask someone else, they would say music, dance, writing, photography... But my thing is if I were really passionate about those things, wouldn't I do them more often? Or maybe (here we go again), I'm just lazy. Ugh. I'm learning that there's a fine line between laziness and being true to who you are. So it looks as if I have an action item. Walk that fine line, and find my balance. To be continued...

I think Jay's quote sums it up the best for me. "Be true to yourself. It sounds like a simple thing to do but it's not. You have all these pressures to succeed and then to stay there. I'm trying to find that truth and tap into something really important, as well as have fun. It's not always about the responsibility of being great every single second. Sometimes I just wanna be silly. Sometimes I just want to be wrong. Sometimes I wanna be provocative and push buttons." - Jay-Z


Jenn Will said...

Super insightful. Really made me think. I think all of us A type high achieving kids have these issues of defining our success, and comparing it to others, etc.

Thats the thing about parenting, our parents were absolutely correct in the way they raised us, allowing us to be A type and push ourselves harder then 6th grade required. But what does it mean for our adult selves. They didn't know, it was best for us then, who knew it would screw us up later. lol

j.a.c. said...

Ooh. Great point. Blame it on my parents! Do you know that my parents said they are going to give us the bill for my education because I'm now a housewife? Talk about pressure. Yep, I'm definitely blaming them. Thanks Jenn!

T.C. said...

i agree with Jenn...that's why as an adult you just have to find what makes you tick...even if you look at Jay Z...the things that made him tick in the late 90s don't today...things change and that means so will our passions or our need to be passionate about things...they change...look at our parents...for example your mom's success was you girls, now it will be her ministry...success and passions change as we grow...and its ok to have a little down time in between time because we are all human, we aren't robots and we all have moments so enjoy your down time because soon you will be up and at em again working hard and fulfilling another life goal

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