On 31st of March, 2020 I was just going about my day when I got approached by Sanela to participate in a very interesting project of hers named I Am Success
A short introduction of Sanela: She comes from Slovenia and for the last seven years has been engaged deeply in personal development. Sanela claims that even though she is not making lots of money (yet :p), she still considers herself to be a successful person ?
Why? Because she has learned how to live a fulfilling positive life. No matter what life throws at her, she is able to look for solutions and look on the bright side of it. Besides this, she considers completing an MA degree in sinology last year as one of her biggest successes in life.
How do I know Sanela? The one thing common between me and Sanela is that we are both proud members of the 5 am club. You can read all about the 5 am club here: https://reasonstolivefor.com/the-5-am-club-summary/
Sanela got in touch with me for the I Am Success project specifically which she has initiated to get in touch with people who consider themselves to be successful. She says that there is no firm definition of success. Is it the career that is making you successful? Do you consider yourself successful because you learned how to live a positive life? Or maybe success for you simply means overcoming a disease or leaving a stressful situation/relationship?
Sanela believes success is so much more than just earning a lot of money. However if that is the definition of success for someone, that is fine as well. The condition for participation for this project which she has titled I Am Success specifically was that if anyone thought they have a story to share which serves as an inspiration to at least one person on this planet, then they were more than welcome to participate.
This is where I step in. I do believe by changing my mindset and lifestyle, I was able to save myself and feel better. Therefore by sharing this learning and experience with others, it might serve as a starting point for others i.e my readers. So I will be answering all questions as specified by her and sharing this here with her permission.
1- Introduce yourself briefly (don’t forget to mention your personality characteristics)
I live in Pakistan in it’s most populous city, Karachi. Academically I have a masters degree in business administration. Currently I am working a 9 to 5 in corporate sales. About my personality, my life’s aim is to make this world better simply because I was here. I try to make people fall in love with themselves and realize their true potential. This is important for me because I, myself, struggled with it for the longest time.
So like Sanela mentioned, if even one person feels good reading this post (or blog), my work here is done. I work better while following a set routine, even in such times of a lock down. The most common activities in my routine include journaling, working out, reading, blogging and learning. These are the things that motivate me and keep me going. You can read all about my current routine in these testing times here: https://reasonstolivefor.com/work-from-home/
2- How do you define success? (What is a success for you?)
Success for me is doing more of what you love. If you spend most of your days doing more of what you love, you are successful in my definition. Now you can love making music, writing, making money, painting, dancing or even working a 9 to 5. Regardless of whatever it is, if you are able to spend most of your time in a day doing this specific thing, to me you are successful.
3- Why do you consider yourself successful?
Having been in a place which felt like a point of no return, and working really hard to pull myself out of it is why I consider myself to be super successful. This is why I consider myself to be a worthy contributor of I Am Success project.
Those sleepless nights
The hard work
Not giving up
Not backing down
Not looking back
Not breaking apart
3.1- In which area(s) of your life are you successful?
Personal life: Got this covered perfectly. Great family check. Great friends check. Managing time well check. Working towards something I love check. Spending most days and most time on being a better person check. Learning check. Growing check.
I don’t hate my work ✔️
Supervisor praises my efforts ✔️
Have a great team ✔️
Culture is not toxic ✔️
I have found people that help me grow ✔️
I am much better at what I do compared to how I was 6 months back ✔️
So I guess the two areas I need to work on are Spirituality and practicing religion better.
3.2- How did you get to that point?
Well this might take thousands of words but I will try to summarize it, don’t want to torture my readers 😀
I recently read that the stages of grief include denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. You can read all about them here in detail: https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/
Anyway, the point is one must go through all of them to come out stronger on the other side. No two people are the same. One might take 5 days in the denial stage, another one might take 5 months. So on and so forth for all other stages. Denial stage for me included questions like why me? I will never make it through, I am not strong enough, I do not know how to handle this.
Anger lead me in developing some unhealthy coping mechanisms including a lot of impulsiveness. Quitting jobs on a day’s notice, fighting with friends and family, overthinking and what not. This anger was much inward than outward. Being angry with myself. I suck. I am a loser. I won’t amount to much. I will never achieve anything substantial. And all that jazz and negative self talk that you can imagine.
Depression. This shit hurt like a bitch. Or even worse. Okay so it was bad initially because I did not know what was going on. Lack of education and awareness you might say. The latter part was knowing what it was and still not being able to cope. So I think the most hard work was done in this stage. Lots of reading, research, podcasts, chats, video calls, audio calls, books, experiences, downfalls, success in between and sleepless nights. Your generic depression package you know.
Bargaining: This is the stage just before acceptance. So it is realizing that we are in this situation, the chose one, so now what? Realizing that it is shit but it is ours to sort. For me it included being in the moment, acknowledging the pain. The time when I would start walking in the park (not run, yet)
About Acceptance, I read something amazing which said it means having more good days than bad ones. There cannot be a better definition for this final stage. I have created my own sixth stage though which I have named rising above and beyond. So once again, in acceptance you have not turned into some sort of a superhero. You are the same person, it is just that you have now understood your triggers so you can cope better. You are better equipped now, you can anticipate when the fall would come and you are prepared to face it not once but multiple times by now. Each fall making you even more stronger.
The things that now help me on a daily basis include journaling, reading, working out, praying, writing, movies and games. I strive to constantly learn new things and new skills so I can keep growing. Personal development is one of my key areas of focus and I work really hard for this.
4- What challenges have you faced on the way?
I think personally the biggest challenge was trying to not pay much attention to what people have to say. See this is easy when these people are other than your immediate friends and family. But in times when I could not understand myself what was going on, I could not expect them to understand either.
4.1- Have you ever felt like giving up? What made you not to give up?
Yes I have. I have given up. Multiple times. So that naturally answers the latter part of the question. Although now I do advocate never giving up but I have done so in the past. I hope I have changes this for good now and I am never ever giving up now. I often give myself some reminders for self love that help me going: https://reasonstolivefor.com/reminders-for-self-love/
4.2- Have you sacrificed anything for the ultimate goal?
Let us first be clear what the ultimate goal is? For me, it is to make this world a better place because I was here and secondly giving people lots of reasons to live for. I have sacrificed my sleep, bad habits, negative thought pattern, unproductive lifestyle, toxic friends and old mindset for the ultimate goal. And I am ready for more sacrifices that I need to make to realize the ultimate goal.
4.3- Who/what had the biggest impact on you on the way?
There is a huge list I can add here. But I would say this includes some really close friends of mine, my parents, Tom Bilyeau, Lilly Singh and Matt Haig with his book Reasons to stay alive. Actually my blog is inspired from Matt’s book only. Reading the book helped me so much that I started to think of those I would help in future from just reading my blog. If I am able to impact only a few, I will consider myself to be super successful.
5- Do you have belief in any higher power (God, Universe etc.)? If yes, what kind of impact did it have/it has on your life in general and on the success area you are talking about here?
Yes, I do. In my darkest phases of life my belief in God got crushed. I was so disappointed in myself and everything around me that i started believing that there was no point in praying about hope or anything that is good. However, God works in mysterious ways. As soon as I started getting better, my belief in God got renewed.
My belief states that if I am a good human being and do not wish ill for others, God will acknowledge this effort of mine and bless me sooner or later. This is why I have got a much relaxed personality not as compared to before. I do not worry as much as I used to and that is the beauty of it.
6- Do you read books? Do you think books can help make someone successful? Please explain your answer.
I used to be the person who would run away from books. Even the ones that I was supposed to read as part of my academics felt like a burden to me. But then when I changed, I realized the importance of reading. I will just add a side note here as well: I enjoy reading a physical book that I can touch and feel. I am not a kindle kind of a guy.
Anyway, coming back to topic, I do believe that books can make you successful. But not just by reading them, but by implementing the learning you get from them. I don’t know if I mentioned this above somewhere but this book named “Reasons to stay alive” by Matt Haig literally changed my life. It made me feel that there is still hope for me and I, too, can do great things in life.
Another life changing book I can recall is the “5 am club” by Robin Sharma. This was a major one. This is actually the core reason why I got in touch with Sanela who seems to be an individual human being herself.
7- Do you think that our bodies/mental health can also have an impact on the level of our success? Please explain why yes/no.
I am a proud advocate of mental health. I believe it is, if not more, then equally important as physical health. And yes it does have an impact on the level of our success. I absolutely don’t mean that people who have mental illnesses cannot be successful. What I am saying is that these illnesses need to addressed by an individual so they can progress in life.
Regardless of what illness you may have, it is important to first accept that you have it. That is actually the very first step. Next is researching as much as you can and understanding what it is in thorough detail. You must reach out for professional help as well if need be. Then slowly and gradually you learn how to live with it. You recognize your triggers and behavior patters and learn how to cope.
The person who overcomes all barriers be it physical or mental and keeps marching towards his goal becomes unstoppable in the act of doing so.
8- What do you think about the human potential and life purpose?
I would love to share something I have learned from Tom Bilyeu, he says that every human being is average and there is no harm in saying that I am average. But at the same time you must know that every average individual has the potential to become extraordinary. This is what I believe about the human potential. We can do whatever we set our mind onto.
About purpose of life, one of my favorite descriptions is “To live is to suffer”. Which is kind of bad news. But the good news is that you get to choose what specific things are worth suffering for and make the entire process an enjoyable one.
9- What kind of advice would you give to the people who are going to watch the video or read the manual book?
Discover yourself. That’s it. It is a long gruesome process I agree but once you do, it will be worth it. If you are lost or confused in life don’t just sit there and play the blame game. Don’t drown in self doubt and negative self talk. There a million ways out there waiting to be tried and tested. If you feel like you have tried everything and nothing works then I would say that is your short-sightedness.
To quote Stephen Hawking: “However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Where there’s life, there’s hope.”
10- Add whatever you want that could help the audience even more
As a conclusion note I would say that I had a great time participating in the I Am Success project so thank you so much Sanela for this initiative. I am sure it will take some time for you to compile all interviews but I would love to share it with my audience once that is done. And if this post helps any of my readers in any way, please let me know about it in comments below.
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