What is it with 30, or any arbitrary number we can think of, that makes us want to rush to succeed?
I asked this because this is a common crisis as soon as we step out of the comfort of our schools and take a step into the real world.
Many of us, millennials and gen Z’s, are in a rush to succeed. We want to attain many things and reach higher heights before we hit 30 or even younger. We want to be “successful” at a young age because that is what we think society expects from us.
What is it with that number, anyway? Thirty.
Is it the magic number that will determine our success or failure? Or just a gauge between ourselves compared to our peers thinking, “I know I am smarter than them, but why am I still here in a low-paying job while they are going on vacations abroad?”
Or maybe we are so disillusioned by the outliers’ accomplishments like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/Meta), Bobby Murphy (Snapchat), or even our local CongTV, who became very successful at a young age. If they can, why can’t I, right?
There is even a 30 under 30 category in Forbes Magazine, listing thirty successful people younger than 30 years old.
I’m not saying we should aim low or settle for mediocrity, but before we try to strive for something that will challenge our limits, we should first know our ‘why.’
Why do we want to be successful as early as possible? Is it out of passion, pride, childhood dreams, or goals larger than ourselves?
Why are we rushing to succeed?
Early in my career as a working professional, I also fell into the rat race and strived to climb the proverbial corporate ladder.
I wanted to get promoted every year, increase my salary, and hold a higher position. Because at the back of my mind, I want to do more, buy more, and be more.
Looking in hindsight, I was selfish. I wanted to accomplish many things, maybe a bit for my family, but ultimately for myself.
But once I finally found my vocation, everything changed. I was able to see things through a different set of lenses and escape the rat race with my heart and mind intact.
There is another thing people think has a deadline at 30 — marriage.
I was once told to find a wife by 30. I asked, “why?”. She answered, “so you will have a companion when you grow old.” In which I retorted, “if I get married just for companionship, I might as well get a dog instead.”
So as the cliche goes, age is just a number. Like many young successful people, there are also late bloomers that may take longer.
Life is not a sprint; it is not even a marathon. As a runner, I wouldn’t compare life to a race running toward a finish line. Instead, I will liken life to an endurance run. The finish line is the end of the allotted time. You will run until your lungs, legs, and heart all tire out and get exhausted.
You will get sore, bruised, and you will consume your everything, but if you endure until the end, it will be all worth it.
Learn to slow things down. Try to walk a little bit slower, breathe a little bit longer, look a little bit closer, and love a little bit deeper.
Life is a journey so take one step at a time. There is no need to hurry. Run slow and live life.
Because in the end, God’s timing is perfect; never early, never late.
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