I recently launched a new Instagram account specifically for BrianBandas.com and I began looking around and perusing the accounts of various success-oriented accounts. Lots of inspirational quotes and photos of Lambourghini’s.
I’ll tell you what frustrated me, and what I think is missing.
Meaning. Substance. And struggle. In short, authenticity.
The pain is missing. The confusion, the angst, the worry, the fear, the not-having-all-the-answers. The fight against the world and against self that inevitably follows those who follow the road less travelled.
The meaning is missing, too. The depth. Something more than I-wanna-have-more-than-you-and-do-what-I-want-and-make-sure-people-are-jealous.
I saw a meme yesterday (I flinch hearing myself use that word) that began, “Do you want to have more money than everyone else?…”
And you know what I thought? I thought, “No.”
I don’t want to have more than everyone else. I’m not the kid at the table at the birthday party who wants to make sure that his piece of cake is the biggest.
That’s stupid. It’s short-sighted, has no depth to it, and carries no meaning for me. The quality of my life won’t hinge on how it compares to others.
There’s no point to comparing in that way. Benchmarks are good, sure, but basing my assessment of my own value and success on what others are doing is a doomed endeavor. I don’t want any part of it. I want to look around and think, “This is awesome. I love these people! I love birthday parties! And we get to eat cake!”
I want to choose gratitude.
Not to mention this little reality: there can only be one richest guy in the world. ONE. So the other 7.3 billion people should be miserable then?
Not me. I refuse.
By the same token, I do compare sometimes. I do feel frustrated that I haven’t accomplished more, and I get caught up in wondering how much younger people have outdone me so. I screw up and fall into these traps, because I’m human.
And it’s that very angst, that anguish that ambitious people feel, that I see as the other significant void. No one is willing to say, “I want it as bad as you, and I’ve done some cool stuff, but I don’t quite know everything yet. I’m still kinda insecure.”
Why won’t we say that? Because we’re scared that if we say that, then our prospective readers/clients/followers/whatever will leave us for the guy who pretends he doesn’t feel that way.
Well, guess what? I’m still scared sometimes. I tend to imagine the worst because I’m not completely in control.
Phone vibrates = text message from a tenant = roof probably caved in = financial disaster and tenants move out and I can’t find more = I ultimately fail in providing for my family long-term = I am a failure.
That’s a long way to travel in a nanosecond when I hear my phone vibrate. Turns out it wasn’t even a text from a tenant. It was my business partner proposing we get a beer tomorrow. So maybe I’m not a failure for at least one more night.
I don’t see anyone admitting this vulnerability. Admitting that they’ve figured a few things out but that many other important things are still a mystery.
I don’t want to pretend I’m perfect, or all-powerful and the guru of life, when I’m not. The fact that I’m not doesn’t mean that I have nothing to offer.
I also don’t want to pretend I’m an island-hopping jet-setter with a garage full of imported sports cars—or even that I want that—when in reality I have a paid off Corolla and a decent house that I like a lot down in Franklin, TN. It has 3 bedrooms, which is how many we need.
We put limits on how often we eat out, and lived without cable for a good 4 years. Unbridled self-indulgence isn’t the ultimate motivation.
It’s not the possibility of piling up stuff and showing it off on Instagram that gets me excited about working hard and doing excellent things.
It’s the possibility of becoming an exceptional version of Brian Bandas, a version of me that isn’t automatic, a version that must come through the refining fire and will be a blessing to my wife and children and those who cross my path.
That’s what I think is missing. And that’s who I’ll try to be. A flawed, excited, grateful and ambitious, ever-growing version of myself. Enjoy.