Success is a Responsibility

Success for some people is not an opportunity, but a responsibility. I have told my team this story and I have written about it before. However, I would like to talk about it again and make it very clear. I am fighting for more than just money and myself. I am fighting for an ideal.

I was a nerd when I was much younger and I still am a nerd to date. I have not changed. I have sympathy for my nerd-like people, because we go through a lot of isolation and pretend in a world that values shallow and social ideals. We tend to care about the abstract, logical, imaginative side of things and not many can understand that side, nor do they see it as a interesting. They may acknowledge the importance but they see no need to know or engage in it. This is realm that nerds tend to thrive in and we live in it every day.

I remember when we went for a hike to Mount Suswa. It was 37km hike which was longer than it should have been. My legs were swollen and I was just done with the gig, I need a warm bath and a massage for real. As we walked towards Suswa town, I could see a group of kids playing football in the distance and they seems to be having a great time. However, a bit further away from the pitch, there was a lone kid that was in the sand. He had all manner of buckets, sticks and stones. He was hard at work, focus on something crucial, deep in his own world. I turned to the person I was walking, pointed at the kid and exclaimed that that was a future engineer. The person looked at the kid and dismissed him as a nerd. I heard that I said nothing. I was quite disappointed in the answer but I was not surprised. Most people in the world would not see what I saw. I saw a future engineer. But most importantly, I saw myself in that boy. I am the boy in the sand.

I have a responsibility to the younger self, who struggled to navigate a world that did not see what he saw. His imagination run wild but it was seen as unserious, unfocused and unimportant. I was shunned to stop these things as they were seen as not contributing to the world around me. I had to do the extra world of actually giving a shit about what normal people cared about. Clothes, relationships, sports and just banter to kill the time. In my eyes, all these things were not very interesting and I still find them uninteresting. I would not go out of my way to look for these things. I have other things to think about like world history, the future of innovation, being a great founder, writing an amazing essay and so on. What most people find interesting, I find irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Because of these bold claims of mine, I have to prove that they are worth something. If what I think about is truly important, then they must ultimately make me successful. The world cares about producing value and those who produce value are put on a pedestal and treated with respect, money, influence and so on. I work to become successful because of all the nerd-like kids who are ridiculed, dismissed, shunned and even discouraged from being who they are. In a shallow world, these kids need a guiding light to navigate and look towards for hope. In a world full of irrelevance, they need empowerment to think about the relevant and execute on them as such.

To me, success is not an opportunity, it is a responsibility.