[Unpopular Opinion] Our Accomplishments Aren’t Really Ours

There. I said it. They don’t actually belong to us, or even the teams we work with.

I believe that a large part of our individual accomplishments result from a confluence of factors, brewed together in a perfect storm. Somethings, we can control. Others are a result of pure, blind luck. Don’t believe me? That fine. But just think about this for a moment…

Your Parents

You know, the people that made you then decided to feed you and send you to school. They paid for you to muck around in class, that initial internet subscription and clothes. Imagine if they were like

Yeah, you’d be in a very different situation.

Your First Job

Yeah. That first boss. Was he/she an asshole? Your colleagues. Did one of them mentor you? Did you stumble upon a tough assignment? Did you get fired? Imagine if you didn’t get hired there. What you would have then learnt would be entirely different.

I believe the people we meet today will (at least partially) determine what we do in the future. Therefore, how we connect to them today will determine our futures (at least partially). They affect us long after we leave their lives, and when they re-enter ours, they could make a huge difference in ours. Life is cyclical.


Your Country

A majority of you reading this: You’re from Singapore. So for argument’s sake, let’s say you’re a Singaporean living in Singapore. You’re accessing this article from a mobile device, or your desktop. You’re either sitting on public transport or (lucky you), in a car. Maybe you’re sitting at a cushy chair reading this. Congratulations: You’re living in a country with a functioning telecommunications infrastructure and a (workable) public transport system.

Well, at least until it breaks down again 😉

Now imagine if you were living somewhere else, where Internet is slower and more expensive. As someone who lives and works online, I can tell you: very little would get done in a day, no matter how hard you work.

So, yeah. You’d be in a very different situation.

Our Accomplishments are not ours.

They’re almost everything but ours.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. Giants like our parents, our mentors, people that buy into our ideas and stand by our convictions, people who built systems and infrastructures. Heck, we even stand on the shoulders people who actively go against our initiatives.

Our accomplishments are mostly the result of everyone else’s accomplishments and very partially a result of our hard work. We add ourselves to the sum total of everyone else’s endeavours. Our accomplishments count the most when we add to other’s lives. That’s when people actually give a damn about our accomplishments: When we add value.

So, if we want to own those accomplishments and be happy, then we’d better start thinking about how we can add positively to something. Give value to someone or something, go create something, make someone smile, then OWN that.

Maybe, at the end of all that, you’ll be smiling too.

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