Not Everyone Wants to Be a CEO (And That’s Okay)
My best friend and I were getting lunch at a Vegan restaurant in Kyoto when James Bay’s song came on the stereo and the conversation topic took a turn to the future – something that commonly happens lately, what with the impending doom of the scary life post-graduation.
At one point, I started talking about my ambition. I like to do this because verbalizing my dreams makes them seem less like a distant, unimaginable future and more an accomplishment that I have a higher likelihood of achieving so long as I follow each step required to reach that goal.
In our discussion, I grew restless and frustrated because it feels to me like there are people within my closest circle that are at a loss with where they want to go in life and there seems to be nothing I can do to help them. You see, I have always had such a high hope for the people around me to be just as driven, perhaps even more.
Before you commend me on this, I will tell you honestly that it is not as noble as you think. I like to be surrounded by hardworking people because I need it. Because their passion motivates and inspires mine, and I like to think that you cannot condemn me on this because past experience has told us that people hike Mt. Everest as a group rather than on their own.
So when I find one person or two within my closest ring not doing their best when I know they can, when I have tried to encourage them to reach for the sky, and they choose to live a comfortable life, it fills me with frustration and constant questions of – why? Why waste such potentials? Why let the world hold them back? Why do they spend their time day by day without clear sets of goals?
My best friend answered it for me, “Maybe they don’t want to. Not everyone wants to be a boss or a CEO. It’s because people like that exist that people like you get to be the CEO.”
I think I was so caught up in my own bubble that I had never considered such a thought. I genuinely believed that it was ordinary for people to strive for leadership positions. I have seen people I worked with do it. I have witnessed my friends, from closest to simply acquittances, professing their desire to be a president of an organization, a leader for a specific team, and reaching out to me for support.
I have been living in this bubble for the past six years now that I failed to consider not everyone wants to lead. For them, there are better things to do in life, and dedicating their time to upward social mobility is never one of them. This is not something to break my heart over, because people have different aspirations and I need to respect that.
The train ride home gave me a long time to think and reassess my mindset. I should have known better to assume that at this point in life, everybody should aim for what I’m aiming for. It does not mean they won’t ever, in the future. It just means that at this moment, there are more important things to worry about. For some people, it takes more time to figure out what they wish to become in life, and for others, it is easier to decide now with the capital they already have. My best friend’s right. Not everyone wishes to be a CEO, and that is okay.
I have to be okay with that and continue to focus on what’s ahead of me.
My heart will heal.