I want the money,
money and the cars,
cars and the clothes,
the hoes,
i suppose,
i just wanna be,
i just wanna be successful.
Successful: Drake feat Trey Songs

Growing up, I had the aspirations of a hero destined to save the world bestowed upon my shoulder by my parents. I did well in school, and my parents stressed the importance of graduating, going to college, and getting a good job. Whenever they spoke about me, they said “he’s going to make it. We have faith”. Teachers were never worried about my development, and had high hopes for me as well. I would come home with a report card that read like this:

A, A, B+, B

I’d show my mother these excellent grades, and instead of the King’s welcome I expected, she scoffed at me, proclaiming in all her Haitian splendor “I don’t send you to school for B’s!” This example helped shaped my vision of success for years to come. Nothing short of the gold medal. Second place is the first loser. No moral victories. The word felt and seemed tangible as a teenager. Now, success seems so ambiguous. I can’t shake the feeling that despite all that I “accomplished”, that I have fallen short of grabbing that brass ring.

I reminisce on my college, and remember that I had a list of goals and aspirations. I didn’t know what profession (exact job) I would get, but I knew that within 5-6 years I wanted to position myself for that next level of success. I wanted to make six figures, have a house, notoriety, maybe even a family. I don’t have the home of my own, I make 5 figures (the norm), I’m singleblackmale, and I’m at a crossroads where I want to go professionally. Yes I graduated college. Yes I have my health. Yes I know I’m lucky to be working when other people can’t get a job to literally save their lives, but something in me always says “not good enough”, “you’re not there yet”, “stop settling for mediocrity”. I guess I’m torn between recognizing the goals I’ve accomplished vs. complacency with those goals, and using those goals as an excuse to say “I made it”.

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I wanted people to recognize my work, not to the point of “stardom”, but having people recognize you seemed to be the pinnacle of success. Now, in 2009, I’m unsure of where I want to go career wise. Through blogging, I rediscovered my love for writing, and I love entertainment, but do I really want to commit to this full-time? Especially in “these rough economic times” you have to be more cognizant of the decisions you make, and right now sticking with my current gig seems prudent, but I don’t see myself doing that forever. I wonder if my current goals and vision of success are unrealistic. Law #47 of the 48 Laws of Power states “Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop”. I ask myself in rebuttal “You know you’re not at a stopping point, but when will you EVER know?” Have I created a “success paradox” where the idea of success is made tangible, yet since its meaning resides in the eye of the beholder, it remains constantly intangible and unreachable? Am I just opening up more questions than answers? (Looking directly at you LOST).

My heart tells me I can’t stop, won’t stop eh eh eh eh, but I just wonder where the limit exist between neurotic aspirations and logical realism. Wherever the final destination to success resides, I hope to reach there someday, and I hope to find satisfaction. SBM fam, my question to you: How do you measure success? Do you have any regrets in the life path you chose? Are you frustrated with your current position in life? Am I over-analyzing?

Streetz Shuttlesworth alias “The Dream Catcher”