How does one become content with a normal life if they grew up thinking they were special?

Jane02's picture
Rank: Baboon | 133

My boyfriend (now ex) broke up with me recently after a year because he's moving to Africa for a job (we're both based in London and he grew up here). I knew this was coming and feel very relieved and I wish him all the best. But I can't stop thinking about something he said to me, and the reason why he is moving.

Is this it?

I know he hasn't felt content with his life for many months and I have tried my best to make him happy. He thinks moving is a step closer to him finding the "next big thing" and somehow become rich out of it (which of course is possible).

However, his negative thought process has rubbed off on me and I'm starting to wonder whether I should make some sort of big adjustment to my life because going to work, coming home, same old shit is just... so normal. I always thought "I was special". I know this is very millennial thoughts. But I keep thinking that if I'm not making millions already (I'm 3 years out of university and I make IB $) then I'm a failure. At some point during his break up conversation he looks at me and asks "are you just going to do this?" as if life right now, the way it is, is just not good enough. If you are not taking a private jet then you are a nobody and one should always aspire to become a somebody.

Does anyone feel the same way? How can one feel content if they are not perhaps making millions, have their successful startups, on the Forbes "30 under 30" list etc., but are just normal, make way above average and live healthy / normal lives.

Comments (74)

Jun 8, 2017

Don't worry he is young life will beat him down shortly. 90% of financial successes and I'm not talking about investment bankers have been beat down more times than they have been lifted up. Without the failures there cannot be success, someone said it correctly you learn more from failing than from succeeding.

Jun 9, 2017

@C.R.E. Shervin Thank you! I agree with you 100%, not that I want him to fail, but I want him to grow up and realize that life will knock you down a lot and that just because you are not flying a private jet at 24-25 years old doesn't mean you are a failure. Escaping to another continent, leaving friends, family and girlfriend behind for that little opportunity of making a bit more money and thinking it will bring you more happiness is just so delusional.

Jun 11, 2017

This so much. I used to think that l would just research, prepare, and practice a ton to prevent any form of failure in life because 1. failure f**king hurts and you waste time + energy 2. nothing beats the feeling of winning. However, I slowly realized that it's only when you fail and hit that bottom you learn the most and mature the most.

    • 2
Jun 8, 2017

Buy scratch offs and get rich quick

    • 2
Jun 8, 2017

@geology rocks Or just be grateful and happy for what you have and where you are in life or make a plan on how to improve it. That's what I wish he understood. Money is not everything. I grew up poor and now make a lot more than my parents combined, and I'm convinced this is true. There's a threshold where happiness is not that dependent on how much you make.

    • 1
Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jun 11, 2017

"Money is not everything"

This bothers me the most about libs. The guy wants to make a fortune in his life, is that wrong? The reason you can't understand it is because he has balls where you don't.

    • 1
    • 2
Jun 8, 2017

Everyone is special in their own way, and if you don't think you're special then you need to change your self perception. If you think you're normal, then you'll always be average.

    • 4
    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

@Bronald Trump" Thanks. Agree everyone is special in their own way but I don't necessarily walk around thinking about that all the time - if anything, having met all the awesome / intelligent people through university / IB, I feel rather "okay" vs. extremely special and that has humbled me very much in a good way I think. Feeling that you are oh so special to "just" have an IB job after 3 years of graduating and that you should rather "become rich quick" (referring to my ex) is just a very unhealthy / delusional way of thinking in my opinion. I don't mean to strive to be average, but rather realistic, thankful and take one step at a time and not try to rush success in a desperate way.

Jun 8, 2017

This is some special snowflake shit. Want to make millions? Not going to happen 3 years out of school in IB.

What you consider "normal", others consider lavish and living the life. Always remember that.

If you really aren't happy with your perception of "normal", you'd better start putting a plan together on how you plan to obtain the life you think you want.

    • 6
Jun 8, 2017

@craigmcdermott Thanks - agree. We're both in this industry except but I am convinced this is a fine place to be after 3 years of university and I'm not in a hurry for anything, while he is escaping to a different continent thinking it will bring him closer to the millions.

Jun 8, 2017

Like @C.R.E. Shervin mentioned above, he'll be beat down by reality soon enough. Moving somewhere without a solid plan isn't enough, I truly believe that he'll realize this sooner or later.

    • 1
Jun 8, 2017

Key word here is "escaping", don't know the background facts, nor do I want to, but if I were you I probably would have punched him sqaure in the nose if he had said "are you just going to do this?" to me. Personally, I'm loathe to use this special snowflake/cliche expression but: nobody knows what you want except for you and if he feels the need to put you down to justify his decisions then fuck him, you're better off without him.

Also, piece of advice: This definitely isn't the place to ask for this type of advic

    • 3
Jun 8, 2017

@FaberGrad Thank you so much! I definitely agree - I think he is somehow escaping but it left a mark in me, now I'm also thinking that having an IB $ job, working your ass off, building your future in a big city etc. is NOT ENOUGH and that I have low ambitions compared with him.

It's not?... Thanks. Surely some former junior banker has quit, moved to another continent, thinking it would make them rich quickly etc. I don't know perhaps not but that's essentially what he is doing and I think it's weird.

Jun 8, 2017

Ambition doesn't count for jack shit, its results that count. Underpromise and overdeliver, its the IB mantra. Should you want to be successful ? sure but there are very very few people who manage to do so by dumping everything and going through drastic change. More often than not those who choose to do so a) fail b) cannot perform under their current circumstances (in his case, IB) and therefore choose to "go nuclear" in their approach because they are purely driven by becoming rich rather than with their approach on HOW todo so.

on the WSO point: its not becuase this is something you need to go over with your friends and family who have all the relevant facts at hand to inform you appropriately.

    • 2
Jun 8, 2017

@FaberGrad Thanks so much! I agree with everything you are saying. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. I will be seeking advice from friends and family indeed.

Jun 8, 2017

OP what you and your ex are seeking has nothing to do with money.

    • 1
Jun 8, 2017

@REPE8 Any chance you can elaborate? He is EXTREMELY hungry for money, grew up poor, started banking at BB, now he thinks it's not good enough and he wants to move to make more but not because it's opportunistic, more because he is not content with his life and is struggling recently with his job. He's basically escaping as someone said above.

Jun 8, 2017

Are you sure he wanted to leave because he was not performing?

I was once in a job that I loathed for two years. I struggled at work because of this strong feeling that I had to "escape and move to another country"Again, it's not because I wasn't good at it but because I really did not like what I was doing. Also it'a strong feeling that it's a right choice to leave everything and go. When you have this thinking, staying is actually a convenient and easy choice.

I don't know your entire story but sometimes people struggle at work because they are contemplating of leaving. It's really difficult to do both perform at work and seriously deciding on whether to leave or stay especially your next destination is a different continent like Africa...

Jun 8, 2017

What he means is you're a loser office rat (100K, 50K same shit) and he wants to blaze his own trail. He has a sense of adventure and he demands more of the world. He won't just take this standard finance/life path you're on. Good for him. And good for you too if that's what you want. But is it?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

    • 2
    • 4
Jun 9, 2017

@GoldenCinderblock Thanks. Yes that's essentially what he feels I am - a loser or someone who doesn't want "more" out of life, but I just can't see how I could've "performed" better or "achieved" more having followed the get perfect grades - go to a target university - get a good job after university - route (nothing else makes more sense when you are poor out of university like most people) and frankly it's sad that after all the years that we've both worked very hard - we come to a point at 24/25 years old where none of us are truly content with what we have built - we compare ourselves with the extremely successful / lucky few, and think to ourselves that we could've been there because aren't we special / intelligent / hard working too?

He is not chasing adventure which one might think, he's escaping a competitive market (because he is tired of not feeling special here) to an under-developed country in Africa so he can feel better about himself.

Jun 12, 2017

Well sounds like you don't think highly of what he's doing and he doesn't think highly of what you're doing so this is a good thing. You're both young. Move on.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

Jun 8, 2017

Personal development is a journey, not a destination.

The benchmark on our own success should not be someone else's...for example you mentioned 30 Under 30 or how you should be in a private jet. This type of thinking is toxic and not helpful.

My measure of success is based on this thought every night before I go to bed "Did I improve myself today is whatever aspect I wanted myself to improve on whether it be health, professional etc?" If I say no then I am not content with myself not if I made a millions dollars that day, or ended up in Forbes. Ever since I adopted this style of thinking my level of successful on what others base it on has skyrocketed although I could not care less on their views.

Secondly you are not special sorry, nobody is..instead of going in depth I will leave you with a quote from Richard Bach that sums it up perfectly.
**
"We look at some people as if they were special, gifted, divine. Nobody is special and gifted and divine.
No more than you are, no more than I am. The only difference, the very only one,
is that they have begun to understand what they really are and have begun to practice it."**

    • 2
Jun 9, 2017

@Mikesilverback_investor Thanks for sharing that - I loved the quote! Even took a screenshot on my phone to easily revisit and remind myself.

Jun 8, 2017

swear i thought this was going to be a post by My name is Goldstein

    • 1
Best Response
Jun 9, 2017

Idk I still eat cereal out of the box, 30 under 30 is looking like a bit of a stretch for me

    • 12
Jun 9, 2017
TippyTop11:

Idk I still eat cereal out of the box

I would have fun reading a "things I do that would surprise my co-workers/clients/direct reports" thread. We're all human, after all.

I like Pixar movies.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

I'm pretty sure Adolf Hitler would have made the Forbes 30 under 30 if it existed. No point in getting validation from a loss-making unpopular magazine that's run by an old conservative fogey named Steve. I have a couple of distant uncles mentioned in the Billionaires List, and this was their sage advice for me.

Easy to say such shit when you're a billionaire. Old farts.

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

see more proof I won't be Hilter. I think he was Times man of the year in the 30's for hosting the Olympics and turning around Germany you know before the whole ka-bang.

Jun 9, 2017

Failing magazine, awful list. BAD!

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

beats ice soup

Jun 9, 2017

Just my 2cents about that. What special means to you? making a lot of money? (We) millennials have that stink of being special snowflakes because we all say " I want to make a difference" while really what we mean is that " I wont to work less and make more"
If you think that you want to make a difference find out what difference is that. Find a problem you want to solve and contribute your energy 100% to that. But for me chasing the cheese is not being special. People who got into the "next big thing" where people who fought to make the World a little bit more like how they would like it to be.

    • 2
Jun 9, 2017

I don't think he's after success and money with his new job. I feel like he's more doing it for the off-the-beaten-road experience, which is fine and totally cool.

I'm only 21 (going into my job next month) and I used to feel the same way you do now. But, I think what makes us human is that we each have our own unique definitions of success and contentedness. We each have our own preferences of where we'd like to be on the spectrum of emotions. The interesting thing about our generation, though, is that we have the ability to instantly compare ourselves to all of our peers through Instagram, LinkedIn, Forbes 30 under 30, etc. - which leads to negative mindsets like beating yourself up over possibly not making $1MM at ages 25-30. Just measure your success based on yesterday's version of you.

Anyways, we're all gonna die eventually. A couple thousand years from now, no one will care if you made a few million or made Forbes 30 under 30. None of it really matters, right?

    • 1
    • 1
Jun 9, 2017
Superlative:

I don't think he's after success and money with his new job. I feel like he's more doing it for the off-the-beaten-road experience, which is fine and totally cool.

I'm only 21 (going into my job next month) and I used to feel the same way you do now. But, I think what makes us human is that we each have our own unique definitions of success and contentedness. We each have our own preferences of where we'd like to be on the spectrum of emotions. The interesting thing about our generation, though, is that we have the ability to instantly compare ourselves to all of our peers through Instagram, LinkedIn, Forbes 30 under 30, etc. - which leads to negative mindsets like beating yourself up over possibly not making $1MM at ages 25-30. Just measure your success based on yesterday's version of you.

Anyways, we're all gonna die eventually. A couple thousand years from now, no one will care if you made a few million or made Forbes 30 under 30. None of it really matters, right?

My tombstone will say "I was special".

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

My tombstone will say "Son of Hawaii" like late senator Dan Inouye. Guess it depends on where you grew up and how you're raised regarding what you need to accomplish in life. I find doing a relative value comparison on yourself can be depressing esp living in a Type A city.

Jun 9, 2017

focus on loving yourself first, don't worry about keeping up with the joneses, enjoy life for what it is.

    • 11
Jun 9, 2017

You are not special. You're not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We're all part of the same compost heap. We're all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

    • 2
Jun 9, 2017

A couple points to consider:

1.) I work in a very affluent area, and the majority of people I meet who are "wealthy" are in their high 50's to low 60's. They've had years to accumulate wealth and did it by consistently working hard and saving money.

2.) Those who I've met who "Looked" wealthy in their twenties either came from a wealthy family, or were heavily in debt after liquidating their savings. A very small minority were self made in their twenties and thirties.

3.) Even still, there's no need to feel self conscious for not being like the few who make it big in their thirties... because somewhere in their life they had a very big event which (for whatever reason) hasn't happen to you yet.

There is no guarantee that this "event" will happen for you, but what you can do is put yourself in the best possible position so the likelihood of a similar event happening to you increases. You can increase your odds by starting a business, hanging around wealthy people, being ambitious, learning every day, coming up with innovative ideas and following through with them, (as "cliche" as it may sound) pursuing your dreams...

"I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson

    • 3
Jun 10, 2017

@Keyser Soze 123 - Thanks a lot for this comment. Agree about the "event" scenario, I am trying to expose myself for opportunities that would make that happen.

Jun 9, 2017

Lol, your BF will most likely come back in 5-12month after a total fuck up there, or will end up underperfomming in terms of wealth compared to you. What are you worried about? He is on the fuck up route, not you. Since when being in Africa>BB?

    • 3
Jun 9, 2017

@JoeSixpack Haha, god, I really needed to hear that. Thank you.

Jun 9, 2017

Stop equating personal satisfaction with wealth accumulation. You don't need to be on a private jet to be someone. Be satisfied knowing that you're living better than 99.9% of people who have ever set foot on this planet.

Use the money you have to create memorable experiences with the best people you can find. You'd be amazed at how few people have the opportunity to do that. That is a life well lived.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

@moneyinthebananastand I completely agree with you. I always used to tell him that I want to go on holidays / create memories and experience things together but he was never down for that. Always depressed about his life situation and feeling too inadequate to fully enjoy anything.

Jun 10, 2017

Then it sounds like you're better off without him.

Jun 9, 2017

He just has a different mindset than you. Doesn't mean yours is wrong, or his is right. Besides, you don't just stumble upon millions in your 20's without taking substantial risk, something the majority of people aren't willing to do. Most rich people played the long game and patiently accrued wealth, although many people aren't even patient enough to do that.

Jun 9, 2017

Pretty much like this.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

Wow, I would like to informally apologize for my generation... The worst part is when the kid in the background yells out "Retweet!", and then all the snapping.... shudders

Jun 9, 2017

I see a bunch of this millennial stuff pop up on my suggestions from time to time but struggle to understand (or pay attention).

What is the actual problem?

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jun 12, 2017

They all have vaginas.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

Millennials love to talk about "living big" and "making a difference". However they don't realize that to do those things one has to assume responsibilities and have a clear focus. Quitting everything to explore the world or whatever doesn't exactly fall into any of those two categories. The really special people are the ones that keep going even while it's boring and tiring. Then, when that stage ends, they have two options: a) realizing this is the life they want to lead or b) grab all their savings and do whatever the hell gets them entertained.
You din't specify if you like your job, but if what comes next in that path sounds like something better, keep going. If it doesn't, try to find yourself in other ways, by studying subjects you actually like, taking up a hobby, or getting to know a group of people that care about you (apparently, those are called friends, I haven't still experienced that, but maybe you'll do and enjoy it).
There are two articles I read these days that talk about it. If you want to read them, here it goes (I can't post a link, but here are the titles):
I Love My 9-To-5 Corporate Life, So Stop Shaming Me For Never Traveling (Elite Daily)
Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy (Wait But Why; Huffington Post)

I hope I helped.

"I'm into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly."

    • 2
Jun 9, 2017
itriedtobecreative:

There are two articles I read these days that talk about it. If you want to read them, here it goes (I can't post a link, but here are the titles):
I Love My 9-To-5 Corporate Life, So Stop Shaming Me For Never Traveling (Elite Daily)
Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy (Wait But Why; Huffington Post)

As a millennial, an extreme frustration of mine is the notion that everyone should take significant time to travel and "find themselves." That somehow a lack of travel necessarily leads to a lack of self-identity. It's complete bullshit and leads to posts like these where the bf is completely disillusioned about life and the OP is doubting her unquestionably bright future.

This isn't to suggest that there is no merit to taking personal vacations. But, a surefire way to not accomplish anything for a year is to spend it backpacking around Europe or South America. Those people have nice Instagrams, but nothing else to show for it.

    • 4
Jun 9, 2017

I agree! Also, your 20's and early 30's are, I believe, where the key decisions for your career are made, so it's not really prudent to just quit everything and "enjoy life". Many people probably do that b/c they feel "guilty", like the OP, that they are not living their lives right. Sometimes, a decision like that can disrupt the course quite a bit.

"I'm into, uh, well, murders and executions, mostly."

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

Totally agree. My take on people having to find themselves or their (ever lost/misplaced) passion are people who never faced significant challenges growing up or were cuddled through life.

    • 1
Jun 11, 2017

I'm in total agreeance with this post. All of these idiots that drop everything to go travel in their early to mid twenties will have nothing to show for it when they're older. For some reason our generation doesn't understand what it takes to be successful. The hard, painstaking work is meant to be done in your twenties/early thirties. And then when you're established, you have the rest of your life to have fun. Plus, until you hit the forty mark, if you take care of yourself, you don't age that much. So I have no problem with not traveling until I have achieved the proper success to do so.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

You'll never be happy when you're constantly comparing yourself to others. Modern life, with all the social media, ads, etc. makes this tough.

Set goals about who you really want to be and focus on those. That way, you should achieve some happiness as you progress towards them.

    • 2
Jun 10, 2017

@corpfinguy Thank you.

Oct 16, 2017

Jane, Janet Yellen, Juno,

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

@JuiceIsLoose Thank you so much for replying to my post - I agree with everything you are saying. He definitely thinks more money equals more happiness - I have no clue how leaving family, friends and girlfriend would solve that equation (he's been in love with me for 6 years and he finally got me - only to break up after 1-2 years because of a job offer that would pay him a little more compared with IB). Why did it take me 6 years to go out with him? Always knew he's a prestige-whore and I find that super unattractive. He played it down a bit while we dated but guess it was still there.

I'm doing my best here to try and find a purpose and meaning with all of this - although I grew up with very little money and had to fight to get to where I am, I somehow found myself very astonished my the lack of content and satisfaction at 24 years old when in my book, I had achieved everything I wanted as a young kid. I'm trying to set up new goals to keep me going, continue saving and accumulating wealth and hopefully one day I can feel proud and happy with where I am.

Jun 9, 2017

When I was younger special meant retarded. 'Don't make fun of him because he is special.'. When I was in the military calling someone special was an insult for having a shit attitude or inability to maintain a standard.

The reality is you have a degree that a lot of people have and work in an industry that a lot of people work in. The degree may be difficult for most and the job hard to get into for the majority, but you are far from the only one.

Wealth will come if you make solid decision with your personal finances and invest throughout your career. You can also become wealthy by bringing business to your employer, companies tend to award revenue drivers very well. Wealth may also come if you start your own business and are fortunate enough to be successful. Even people who start/run successful companies end up in their own rat race, it is a fact of life. Those that inherit wealth either continue on i the rat race, blow through it or have been fortunate enough to not have to worry for generations. Ultimately, what you do with your time is up to you. How well you so financially is going to be a mix of creativity, hard work and luck.

    • 3
Jun 9, 2017

The only two people I know that tried anything similar got bitchslapped hard by life and by their 30s they had the tough job of starting from scratch after a couple of years of severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Then again, if you don't try, certainly you can't win.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

I had a coworker who had a few phone interviews in another state and moved there prior to landing a job. To the best of my knowledge he still looking or has not updated his linked in.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017
Ehmerica:

I had a coworker who had a few phone interviews in another state and moved there prior to landing a job. To the best of my knowledge he still looking or has not updated his linked in.

Bad idea as there's plenty of research showing employers are biased against the unemployed.

Though what's rare in the OP's story is that her bf is allegedly from a working class background. To make it to IB from working class in the UK, a country with low social mobility, it requires a lot of social awareness from very early days, which most of the poor lack due to lack of environmental connections, and he clearly had that if he made it and so did she.

Then all of a sudden he makes a jump in the dark you'd expect from a rich brat too used to his family's safety nets. A working class achiever is generally risk averse and contempt with his achievements.

Either he's a genius or he's nuts.

    • 1
Jun 9, 2017

Human nature always forces us to consider the question ("Is the grass greener on the other side?"). In most cases, it is simply an illusion. Take the good in your life, take some risks, enjoy what you have and do something different if you are unhappy.

Jun 9, 2017
Comment
Jun 11, 2017
Jun 11, 2017
Jun 11, 2017
Comment

GoldenCinderblock: "I keep spending all my money on exotic fish so my armor sucks. Is it possible to romance multiple females? I got with the blue chick so far but I am also interested in the electronic chick and the face mask chick."