When I was young, I was told to tried to get good in school, get a good grade, be the best student, get a prestige degree, work with big or foreign company, earn decent salary, and moving up the ladder.

When I grow up, and after graduated from university, I still believe in that narrative. What I did was committed to working, thinking working hard with dedication will bring me success. After four years, It bring me a little success: I worked in a foreign (US) company, with a decent title, with a decent salary, but then I realize what I was missing are freedom and happiness.

I made a hard decision, that was to resign from that prestige job I have, to try to find something else. I was intent to find another company after that, but I was thinking was let give myself a little break, try to find any other possible path to pursuit.

I tried to read several books, listen to podcast, try to find what is the real path to success that bring satisfaction and happiness. A quote from Naval is pretty resonate with me: "The old way of making money was to get a degree, work as a professional for fourty years, then retire". So, what I was doing and believe in doing is the old way of making money and bring wealth. Not just me, but I feel like almost everybody is following this path.

Now, let rethink this narrative of success. Is it still relevent? Is there any other way? What should we do at this moment, to find new way of finding wealth and happiness?

The cliches narrative of success

Why we all being told to follow this narrative

Living in asian country, we all have high expectation from our family, they want us to do well in school, be a nice kid. Education is the highest priority, kid who is not do well in school often treat as a disgrace to the family. Having a child that do good in school, get a prestige profession, work in big company is the things that our parents pround of. Also, this is the way that help the kid who just graduated living and sustain in the society, since most of them don't have enough capital and experience to start any other path.

How do you feel about this path

If you are grow up and follow this path, how do you feel right now? In term of your income, freedom and happiness?

We all need to trade of something. When I was a kid, I spent more time studying than playing. When I grow up, I spent more time working than socializing and spend time for myself. I believe that hard work will pay off, I treated myself as a beginner that need to work harder than other in order to achieve anything thing great in live. But at this very moment, I felt unfulfilled. That job did not bring much wealth as I expected, hard work help me go far but did not far enough. I dedicated all my time for work hoping at the end of the day, I can feel peace and find time to enjoy life, but none of it is feasible for me.

If I go back to work as I am usually do, I did not find any satisfaction and any changes for the current situation.

The pros and cons

But, let take a moment to see the pros and cons of this path.

The pros: We can just get started as a junior at any company, earn a starter salary, then move up the ladder. Usually, that process is not easy but we all get through it anyway. When working as an employee, we get to stop at 5PM and go home, spend that time however we want. No matter what happened, at the end of the month, we get the agreed salary.

The cons: our valued is limited by how our employer perceived us. If we can not get the raise that we want, chances are we have to jump company. Even though we might get high salary, but we always on the edge of replacement, and if we see in the long-term, looking ahead ten years, twenty years in far future, it is still hard to use that money we earn to provide for ourself. For example, buy a house, or by a car.

The new way of success

Wealth is the thing you want. Wealth is assets that earn while you sleep; it’s the factory of robots cranking out things. Wealth is the computer program running at night that’s serving other customers. My definition of wealth is oriented toward businesses and assets that can earn while you sleep. You want wealth because it buys you freedom. - Naval
You are not going to get rich renting out your time. You must own equity, a piece of the business to gain your financial freedom. - Naval

What is the new way of success

What I think of the new way of success is to ditch the idea of working as an employee, but to build your business, or own an equity in the business, cultivate the multiple stream of income.

What success look like to you

I happened to read "The Art of Power" and "Almanack of Naval Ravikant". What success look like to me are:

  • I have ability to present at the moment. Meaning if I go out with my friend, my mind present in that moment, instead of getting hook by work that I have to taken care of at work, worried about the next meeting and report that I need to fill.
  • Own a business, or a part of business that can make money at scale. I believe that a business can bring more money than working as an employee, to find and build a business is not easy, but it worth the reward.

What I am trying to do is to transition from employee, move up the career ladder, finding the financial freedom. I have several directions now, what I need to do is to persevere through what I though is the right thing to do, build something for myself, and scale it up. It might not get success at first, and it will be tough, but I believe through tried and error, I will get there eventually.


We all fall into the path of success, as our parents told us and society present us. But each person has their own definition of success. If you are grow up with the believe of working hard, try to get jobs, move up the career path as an employee, you might want to rethink about this cliché. If this path is right for you, and if you feel fulfilled with this path.

Disclaimer: This is my first revision, it might not perfectly describe my though, but I publish it anyway, any feedbacks or critiques are welcome.