Here’s a scenario I want you to imagine: Little 9-year old Akshat (me) learns how to ride a cycle without one training wheel. (C’mon! One training wheel was really a hard deal to get to! Felt like death from a mountain cliff from the other side!) Anyways, I’m sorry I can’t show you a picture of myself riding one, but you’ll just have to let your imagination run.
Whenever [Akshat] went cycling with his friends who were still ganging and riding on both training wheels, he felt like an absolute king. He felt as though there’s no one better than him at what he was doing. He felt no competition, he felt a zero need to improve any further because he was ahead of everyone else and according to the little-naïve brain of his, that was it, he had achieved the impossible. He felt happy.
The week later, he rolled upto a bunch of other kids who played a different sport (you know how there are those groups of kids who only and only stick to football and those set of kids who solely stick to playing cricket? Yeah, he rolled up (with no particular reason or intention) and was moved by what he saw. It’s not that those kids rode bicycles too, all the kids were of the same age as Akshat and his general group. The thing that moved him was all those kids were riding their bicycles without any training wheels. Not one, not 3, all 6-of em. All 6-chaps had no training wheels to their cycles.
Akshat was not happy anymore. He knew deep down (and now, he had clearly realized as he saw), that there was a final level of this whole bicycle thing. He had to learn to ride without any training wheels in order to succeed.
Succeed. Successful. Accomplish. These were the words that came to his mind. The next day, with a pinch of salt, Akshat temporarily changed his sport from cricket to football. It wasn’t because he wanted to get hit by a bigger ball rather than a smaller one- it was for the sole purpose of learning how to ride without any support.
3-weeks down the line, Akshat was just as good as the 6-new chaps he made friends with. He cycled all day and took his bicycle everywhere he had to go. He then had a sudden realization when he saw the same old group of friends, still riding with one or two training wheels even after a month had gone by. He understood the difference between what being successful at something is, and what being ‘happy’ doing something is- and of course, which one weighs more. Here’s how this connects- just bare with me.
When [Akshat] was able to pull of something that his peers (at the time) couldn’t, he was hit with feelings of attainment of position. In other, or direct words, he felt successful. He felt successful, at what he was doing. That is, riding the bicycle without any training wheels.
He also realized that hanging out with people who do not level up or aren’t naturally motivated to move up the ladder, will always keep him down. Now that I think of it, there was a reason why everyone in the old group was riding with support wheels. And there was certainly a reason why none of his 6-newer friends who always stayed together used support wheels. It’s more than 100% absolute truth that you are the sum or average of the people you surround yourselves with.
Successful and happy, are two different cohorts. And it’s in our best interest to have the utmost clarity as to what we pick and when we pick.