What makes you happy?

What is your definition of success?

I didn’t realise until now that I do not really have a concrete definition of success. My life has always been revolving around hustling harder and finding a way to escape the 9-5. After listening to ‘The Ground Up Show’ by Matt D’aveila, I realised that I have yet to set a concrete idea on what is my definition of success.

The story of how Steve Wozniak rejected the chance and possibility of becoming one of the richest men really struck me. The podcast tells the story of how Steve was comfortable to become a normal working member of the company and not to be on the executive committee because he realised that that did not fulfil him. His definition of success is to build things and to have fun while doing it and when he was offered a high position, he simply rejected it because it does not fulfil any one of his definitions of success.

Therefore, the question now is, what is my definition of success?

I have always been excited about starting a family and wanting to call the shots as to when I can be home. I also never liked the idea of 9-5 where I am out there slaving for someone else’s dream. I always wanted to work for myself and be proud of my own work. I always wanted to be a creator, a person that brings actual benefit to those around him through the work that he does. I don’t want to live a mundane life. I don’t want finances to be an issue.

Maybe my definitions of success are/what makes me happy:

  1. Create art and design through my skills in the industry. (Be a Creative)
  2. Call the shots as to when and how I go about my day. (Be in control)
  3. Have fun while doing it.

I think those are my guiding light now and I think that as long as whatever I do meet them, I will go ahead with it.

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Execution

It is already Week 5 and the semester is already coming to its midpoint.

Sometimes it feels as if a single day is no longer enough to do a single task. It might be due to procrastination and the many other minor tasks that pull me away from what is important.

But then again, what is important?

Prioritising our activities is very important. To know what should be done first followed by what is next will help us to put a sense of structure into our already chaotic lives.

So what do I need to do?

I need to cover a few lectures today along with slides for my presentation this Thursday. I have somewhat an idea of what to do and what’s left is the execution.

work

I think most of us will have a phase in our lives (phases that come and go) when we feel dumb. Well, today was one of those days.

In a room filled with intelligent colleagues, scientists that are seemingly always on the brink of their own ‘eureka’ moments, I felt dumb. Dumb because I think that I’m inexperienced and less passionate on the topic than they are.

It drives me insane to see how they are so passionate about these scientific discoveries and I’m very intrigued as to how they see the world. Being around them for almost a month now, I cannot seem to see what they see in long days in the lab. Maybe it is the passion for science or maybe it is them trusting that they are just one experiment away from an amazing discovery… who knows.

Regardless, it is just insane how fast they are able to read and digest a scientific paper. As a person who has both the experience of the arts and the science, it really is amazing as to how scientists run their lives, always on the edge of new scientific discoveries and going bonkers when they read a really well-designed experiment.

And that made me realise how incompetent and lazy I am.

As I was walking to school today, a thought struck me. One that really slaps the truth. I think I am always trying to find the easy way out even in the work that I do. I strive to always make do with the bare minimum giving excuses like, “I can get away with it…” and “I think it should be fine, it is my aesthetic anyway…”. I didn’t even bother to learn new techniques and strategies. This is true because looking back, I don’t remember the last time I learnt something about editing photographs nor a new lighting technique and such. Realising that, it might be what is stopping me from being a really good creator/photographer. I might have big dreams but I don’t seem to be willing to put in the work.

I’m unlike those scientists who would read every single paper and really digest every new research that comes their way. They seek expertise and control over the topics that they learnt and read. They seek the best techniques and documenting every single method and nuances in experiments. Unlike them, I fail to do such a thing even in my own interests. I guess I’m setting myself up for failure.

How then will I go forward from this? How then will I make myself into someone that does work and be an expert in it?

This made me question myself as to whether I am really capable to be a freelancer. To be a freelancer one has to have the discipline and the stamina to maintain a high level of rigour and intensity for a very long period of time. That thought in the few paragraphs above really made me wonder…

Sigh. To be honest, am I even cut out for anything? I don’t really know. This is weakness talking. I’m sorry. I think what I can do now is to truly put in the work.

Freelancing

Freelancing.

Freelancing is hard.

After watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8AKY3JdmGg, I realised that I need to have a plan for the ways I am planning to earn my money.

As a photographer that is new to this field, I feel that it is very important for me to have a solid plan. Here are the few ways which I might be jumping into:

  1. Client Work
    • This is definitely the main way as to how I am planning to earn my income. By reaching out to event organisers, wedding planners, and anyone interested in doing shoots. I hope to create a solid foundation for my career.
  2. Reselling
    • I have been reselling things as part of my fundraising efforts to fund my photography equipment. As of late, it has been a bit slow-moving and I’m thinking of reinvigorating it on Facebook through targeted campaigns.
    • I am also thinking of finding new items to resell.

In the future, I hope to fire up my Youtube channel by posting anything and everything related to photography and the new company idea that I have called, ‘sp_ced.out. I hope the idea continues to grow and develop into something that can be profitable in the long run.

For now, I need to hustle.

GO FOR IT.

All of us are capable of doing good work.

But most of us are not willing to do good work.

Why?

Because it is risky.

We would rather be enslaved by ‘The Man’ and do mundane work just because it pays the bills.

But is that wrong?

No. To be honest, I am completely fine with that as long as you’re not complaining about how sh***y your boss is or how long the working hours are. I am completely fine with it because if that is what makes you happy, you should go for it. If stability is what you seek then go for it. If you think that paying the bills and getting a decent honest living is important to you then go for it. However, what I’m annoyed about is whoever that complains about how their 8-6 job restricts their creativity and how it is so inflexible and routined, how they wish to be free and knowing that, they still stayed on.

I’m ticked off at how one does not even attempt to do anything about their circumstances and resort to complaining because it is easier to do so. It is hard, chasing your dreams is hard, being a self-employed creative is hard… but if that excites you and that fulfills you, you should go for it.

A part of your dream

How does one keep a high level of productivity?

In a world where productivity trumps everything, how does one continually maintain a high level of ‘do’?

How is it possible to continuous put in effort into the work that you do day in and day out?

Passion/interest.

If you love the work that you do, if you care about the work that you do, you would do it regardless.

But sometimes work consists of the mundane like keeping tabs on excel sheets and documents, how then can we ‘love’ such work?

I guess the best advice I can give is to pair it with something that makes you feel fulfilled. Excel sheets, documents and paperwork are all part of the foundation that makes your dream a reality. They are the groundwork that you need to do so that you can enjoy the fruits later on. Think about it as things that would put you up for success, things that will help you build your dreams. They are not just paperwork, they are actually a part of your dream.

Therefore, by pairing up these mundane tasks to the things that actually inspire and drive you, you wouldn’t think of it as a hassle anymore. InsyaAllah.

Hustle Smart

it has already been three weeks since the semester ended and I must say that this semester is truly lonely. Most of the time, I am on my own, going about from lab to lecture and then to the library. I see people but most of the time I do not have a decent conversation with them, even with my loved ones.

I think it is also because of my inherent nature to focus on my work this semester. I mean I have been consistent in my work and have been producing things (albeit halfway for most) but I have. I have picked up on several projects which I think is interesting and I’m very much interested in completing. Furthermore, I have started to think more about my start-up that I’m trying to build and my career in the future.

Also, there will be a career fair next week though I’m not sure if I would be going there. I’m quite apprehensive about the whole thing because I’m not planning to ‘work’ for real or work for the corporations that are out there. I’m more interested in working in the small start-ups that will give me ample space to put in my ideas and ways for me to contribute. Regardless, I have to also think of finding that stable income.

There are several things to think about: marriage, career and what’s next.

Marriage is a definite. We’re planning to get hitched within 2-3 years time depending on our finances which is then dependent on having a job that pays well for a short amount of time (2-3 years too) and planning for several adult things like life insurance, housing (BTO), retirement planning and the like.

Next up is Career. Definitely, I will not be working for ‘the man’ but I will be side-hustling whilst working just to maintain a decent pay before I can jump ship. It is going to be hard and that is why I have to start working on my ideas from now on.

What’s next. There are a lot of things to focus on now but I think the most crucial of all is to get this university done and over with a 2nd class honours, minimum. I think that would put me on a safe playing field once I graduate. Furthermore, I don’t think I would be pursuing a PhD or a Masters (well depends) because of the nature of the field that I might be going in. As I’m doing my FYP now, I kind of has a sense of how the day-to-day life in a lab will be like and it is really putting me off. Despite all the boring stuff, it is interesting to learn about all of it but that’s just that, learning. I don’t think I would be interested in following ‘a path’ of continuous research and discovery. A life of troubleshooting is definitely not for me. Kind of numbs the brain after a while in my opinion.

Anyway, that’s that. I think I just have to keep hustling from now on regardless of my emotional situation. I think it is possible.