When Life Changes, Success Puts on Different Clothes

when life changes

“I didn’t know where I was going until I got there.”

When we were kids, life was so fun and fresh. Maybe it’s because we dived straight into adventure. Because we didn’t think of success or failure in the way we think now.

I’ve always been passionate about creativity. When I was a kid I would draw all over the wardrobe doors, they were pure white just like a blank canvas. Back then we lived in a very small apartment with only one bedroom, and the only wardrobe in our home. Yet my mother didn’t stop me from drawing. She would even encourage me with kind words and compliments, and from time to time she would wash clean the wardrobe doors.

In high school, I developed a passion for the arts. However, I also started to notice that there are things that “I needed to do” in order to succeed in life, and on the other had things I wanted to do. I was studying really hard, and aiming for a very successful career in information science and programming. I even went to national competitions for Math and Physics and had really good results. The problem was, I felt really empty inside. Although everybody was vigorously supporting me to continue on the “path of success”, I felt miserable, and my heart was aching for something more meaningful. I wanted to do art. Deep down I knew, I’m not this person everybody thinks I am. I was thirsty for self-discovery.

We moved to a bigger apartment. I devoted myself to martial arts training. It was really beautiful and refreshing. I felt enthusiastic again. I met new friends, some of them are still some of my best friends. My grades and performance at school slightly lowered, but I was okay. I fell in love with my new passion and became fascinated with this different way of life. After 5 years of training, the passion was still burning and I dreamed of being a professional martial arts teacher. I started putting in even more effort, but instead of more progress, I started to face frustrations. It was a period of emotional turbulence for me. My personal relationships were pushing me to my limits. My pursuits and failures felt painful.

Going to the other extreme, and completely dedicating myself to my passions, wasn’t working as well as I thought it would. There were moments of euphoria, and lot’s of self-discovery that I treasure, but eventually, it became too much. I was realizing that just a strong desire will not bring me across the river. I had to do the work. I had to row. I had to go every step of the way. Although I earned my Aikido black belt after 5 years of training, I started to realize that I was very far from being a professional instructor.

I guess especially when we’re young, we are running to meet our goals very quickly, not really having the patience or grit. We get disappointed very easily. We take everything personally and get offended very easily.

My final years at college were a mess. I was late with my exams and didn’t manage to graduate in time with my generation. I was trying to pursue a different career in Animation and Design, which was so different from the programming career that I was always supposed to pursue. I even tried music for a while. I composed and produced 5 original songs, music, and lyrics and did a few gigs, but it wasn’t enough. Creative breakthroughs gave me much fulfillment, but I was running out of money. I was stuck in a vacuum between finding a job and finishing my degree but not doing good progress at any of those two.

One day, a former high-school professor met me on the street. He remembered that I was one of the top students in my class during my high school years and was sad to hear I’m not doing so well anymore. He helped me find my first job as a game developer. After starting work, my life started to improve. I got my college degree. I met a girl I’m still happily in love with. I got a small salary raise and started a blog.

If I look back, I can see that my goals and dreams have dramatically changed over the years. I have achieved many things and have many yet to achieve, but that is not the full story. There are so many little moments in between those big goals that are so full of life. This is where most of us miss out. I often remind myself, that although some dreams may die out, you can always have your passion reborn again. Maybe it will be in a completely new form. Maybe it will come to you like something you never did before, but it’s the same underlying quality.

“Success means different things at different times and circumstances. Don’t get attached to ideas.”

To finish off, I would like to share with you some core values that remained with me all the time, and I believe they add value to a person’s life. Here is a shortlist:

  1. Keep learning.
  2. Polish your skills or develop new ones.
  3. Engage with people.
  4. Find smarter and/or better ways to solve old problems or repetitive chores.
  5. Don’t run away from difficulties.
  6. Learn to relax and let go.
  7. Find people you can be deeply honest with.

Do you have your own core values that have stayed with you for a very long time?

15 thoughts on “When Life Changes, Success Puts on Different Clothes”

  1. Hi Filip…your story is amazing and sounds so much like my own and that of my son. Both of us are creatives…trying to find a way to find fulfillment doing what we love. My son spent years owning a Crossfit gym and getting certifications to train others. But he wanted to work in an art-related field. Finally, he went back to school and got a degree in design. He now has his dream job in Seattle in motion graphics and 3-D and I’ve never heard him so happy. I liked what you said about sometimes dreams will die out but we always have our passion reborn again. There have been times I have felt zero inspiration and wonder if I’ll ever make art again. Then…when I start to let go of some unnecessary things in my life, it is kindled once more. I’m learning to enjoy the journey instead of focus on the destination. Thanks for your great post!

  2. Love your post and reflections on values that guide you. My top values include, Be Willing to Adapt to Changes. Being resilient, getting stronger and being true to myself. Surrounding myself with people who love and support me with honesty is also incredibly important. Thank you!!

    1. Great! I feel that becoming more and more authentic, more true in what we do, greatly enriches life. Ultimately strength is to be able to accept reality and cope with it. To find happiness and fulfillment amongst the hardship and trouble. Thank you for the great comment!

  3. Hello Filip.. you did a great job putting this article together. In as much as its inspiring, it also teaches us lessons of life. Am just smiling here linking your story to that of my big brother.

  4. Hi Filip, nice story! It is great that you were able to follow your heart. I agree that the less we can take things personally the better we can progress. I have also found it very useful to have people in my life that I can be honest with. Engaging with people and not running away from difficulties can feel difficult in the moment but it is a source of immense freedom.

  5. Hi Filip!

    Your story of struggle and success is beautiful! The road to self-discovery is wrought with bumps at times. But I am glad things are looking up for you now :)

    The core values that I like to carry with myself is that happy people are more successful & if we need to fake it till we make it. I have found spirituality in my life & it’s the most beautiful thing that has happened to me. I am a Motivational Speaker by profession and this is what I encourage my audiences to believe in too – faking happiness till they actually make it. I believe that one of the best ways to have a great life is to have a rule book and not deviate from it as much as we can.

    Great article!

  6. Hello Filip!
    I really enjoyed connecting with your story. Because no matter our age, we are wanting to fall in love with our life yes?
    I am amazed that now as someone in her sixties I am loving every moment of my life. So much has changed.

    After an extended illness, I had the choice to listen t my inner heart song or just stay in the definition of an invalid. I fought hard to get out of my own way so that I could step into the life I really wanted. Without listening to the opinions of others.

    And now here I am. I have my own blog, and my world is just lovely.

    And I talk to people all the time about stepping into our inner truth through meditation and seeing our path through conscious choices.
    When we decide to step into our power, life as you said, changes by the nano second. And it is so exhilarating, isn’t it?

    So don’t wait gather this moment and be your own hero.
    Great article.
    In peace and gratitude, ariel

  7. Great article, the element of nostalgia, which we all yearn for and the gentle reminder of the importance of embracing change.
    We humans, being the creatures of habit we are, often struggle with change. With the exception of the change agents, those people adapt quickly though may miss part of the experience of the moment. It would be so wonderful if we could simply accept change as part of life and gracefully transition.
    You have certainly offered a great lens through which to view circumstances, sometimes we find what we need in our quest for what we think we want.
    I look forward to reading future blogs.

    Lynda-Lee Saunier

  8. Great post, your experience teaches us a lot and thanks for sharing your story inspiring and motivates us.

    Keep sharing more posts thanks.

  9. Fillip,

    I love this story. Despite all of your trials, you were stilling willing to try new things. You didn’t give up, you persevered!! I am glad you have something that fulfills you. You story is inspired since I have bee going through the exact same things myself. To her that you made it across the revering means there is hope for us all!

    Thanks for your post,


  10. Hi Fillip.
    Yours is a truly inspiring story and has a lot to teach evrybody.
    I also firmly believe that Life and happiness is a journey and not a destination and we must learn to savour every event in life rather than waiting for the outcome. This dictum has drastically improved my living experience. Even during difficult phases of my life, I feel much more in control over my reactions and consequently, able to think and handle any situation in more rational way than how I used to, when I wasn’t aware of this reality. Ofcourse, I follow a lot of other methods like meditation, positive thinking etc. to have a joyfull living experience as I can.


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