“Feels so close it’s like I can just reach / I can feel my dreams (Closer to my dreams) / I’m moving closer to my dreams / I’m moving (Higher and higher) higher and higher / (Higher and higher) / Moving higher…” –Goapele, “Closer”
Two weeks ago, I ventured on a relaxing two-week journey across the world to London, Berlin and all throughout Italy. Two years ago you couldn’t convince me this was at all possible because two years and two months ago, I ventured on a grueling journey to publish my very first book. Both journeys were admirable—only, one received more praise than the other. As I sat on the plane and moved higher and higher to 30,000 feet in the air, it hit me: A funny thing about success is that when you’re struggling for the dream, you’re relatable, but when you reach the dream your relatability becomes debatable.
Hide your yachts, hide your receipts and hide your vacation photos. It seems that if you publicly celebrate success, you’re an a**hole. I’m all for private pleasures over public swagger, but it’s often the transparency of one’s success that inspires others to reach their own. The people who swear they know me best can’t even pronounce my name right, and the people who know me most think I’ve changed now that I have a little limelight. I’ve managed to conquer my dream of publishing and even made it on AuthorHouse’s bestsellers list. But I can’t seem to conquer people’s twisted opinion of success.
Success is as simple as this: If you’ve earned it, you deserve it. You don’t have to go throwing success in people’s faces, but you don’t have to feel ashamed about it either. Success isn’t an easy feat to acquire. Even “overnight successes” are years of unseen and unheard hard work in the making. Respect it.
Dream-killers, this is for you: What’s understood doesn’t have to be explained, but you don’t understand success, so let me explain. Being upset that someone “changed” is often a sign that you’re still in the same place. Young Money artist, Drake said it best, “First place is often the worst place / Whenever I walk in they makin’ the worst face.” When he says, “they” he’s referring to you. Don’t confuse growing with changing. Everyone is capable of conquering goals, including you. Jealousy is an excuse for complacency. Wake up and start living your own dreams.
Dreamers, this is for you: Do your best until you reach your success. And once you reach your goal, don’t let anybody call you an a**hole. Never feel guilty for living the life you’ve worked hard for. Enjoy life, but give back to the world. Matthew 6:3-4 states: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” To whom much is given, much is expected.
This post isn’t written to boast … it’s meant to inspire so that you can live life like it’s meant to be lived before you retire. My dream paved the way for me to live out more dreams. I wasn’t in Italy back-packin’ it – I was sipping wine seat-backin’ it. And I deserved to because I endured a lot in order to get in the position to do so. I’m able to rock my suits tailored because smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors. My success didn’t come without sweat. I don’t have a Black Card and I’m not a baller, I just work hard. I’m not an a**hole. I’m just a soul whose intentions are good … Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.
– Enitan Bereola, II
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Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up, Guide to Ladies’ Etiquette from a Gentleman’s Perspective. Find him at his new website bereolaesque-online.com, or @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as his Facebook fan page.