In his book Considerations Colin Wright addresses a topic that was very important for me to work through as I got through college. About halfway through my college career I began to really examine what I wanted to achieve from college and what I expected my life to be like. I faced quite a bit of anxiety and fear related to the questions of what I would achieve and what I needed to obtain in my life for me to consider myself successful. Eventually I developed enough self-awareness to reflect on the things I assumed I would always have in my life and the things that I thought defined success. Through self-awareness was able to recognize that many of the expectations I had for my life came from other people, particularly my parents, uncles, and shows like Top Gear. I knew that I had to live my life by moving toward things that I actually desired and considered successful, even if I felt as though it would not live up to the standards I had set in my head without consideration. What I learned on my own is beautifully summed up by Colin Wright in just a sentence, “It’s not your responsibility to want the life that others want for you, and it’s not your responsibility to take on the responsibilities that don’t sync with how you want to live.”
What I eventually learned was that I could not let the expectations for my life that others had for me dictate how I lived. I would never be happy if I tried to always live my life in a way that was impressive to others. I would always be competing against my peers, family members, and society if was trying to please someone else and live a life that they determined to be successful. By deciding that I would not be tethered to their expectations, I no longer felt a responsibility to obtain a certain level of wealth or drive certain vehicles which would display that level of wealth and success wherever I went.
It is a difficult process to begin to understand that it is not our responsibility to live our lives in a way that makes others happy with us, or to achieve a certain expected level of success. It is our responsibility to focus on growth and being the best version of ourselves possible, as long as that version of ourselves truly aligns with our inner self. We must develop a sense of self awareness to understand what is and what is not in alignment with who we are at our core, so that we can live a life that is responsible to ourselves and not others.