In a general regard, I think that having pride in what one does is one of the more difficult achievements on my list. I think this mainly comes from the fact that many people work simply to support a lifestyle or to cater to a social norm of contributing or earning one’s place. It’s essentially throwing 40 hours over five days to enable the freedom of weekends and weeknights which “make up” for the time chained to the desk. Not really an ideal way to be in my own personal opinion.

For me however, I get an immense amount of pride in investing my time and energy into activities that I then show off to others as an example of my successes and achievements. Oftentimes it relates to work, but it also includes convincing a pretty girl to date me or finding an extra touch of speed on the soccer field. It could in fact be something as simple as figuring out how to work all of the appliances in a kitchen, but I really was focusing on external oriented factors here – specifically making my family and friends proud to be associated with me.

I think that the concept of respect amongst friends is an odd one, but it’s something I value very much amongst my friends. The odd part to me is that I can’t have a friendship without a degree of respect, but I think that there are those who only surround themselves with people who fear them or revere them, both of which are poor substitutes for respect. To be feared is, I would think, the preferred relationship a dictator, whether benevolent or not, wants with his citizens. It’s something that lasts until someone is willing to stand up and point out that the situation is a house of cards at best and a complete facade otherwise. Clearly someone is oftentimes many someones as the situation in Iran, Myanmar and elsewhere have demonstrated, but nonetheless dictatorships are often about boosting ego more than establishing true understanding and development of the parties involved.

What then about reverence? I can’t find a striking difference between this and fear except that it’s much quicker to disappear. It takes much less for reverence to replaced by indifference than for fear to be replaced by courage. That said, the insincerity of both seem to make this paradigm much more circular in nature than linear.

I personally find that being across the circle from both of these substitutes as allowed me to have what I would call true friends, and honest relationships. When I allowed myself to be revered, it often ended with a realization that things couldn’t be as they seemed because, as the adage goes, if it feels too good to be true, then it probably is.

The reason I want to focus on the external here is because I feel like if I set as a goal for myself working, innovating, creating at a standard at which my friends and family will be proud, then how could I not be proud of myself given the framework in which I build these relationships? It allows me to have an external barometer which is better calibrated than my own intuition as to whether I can hold my head up high and say that I have achieved. It’s truly a badge of honor to allow others to lead that charge for you.

In 5 years I want my brother to say that he’s proud that not only am I his brother, but that I’m a person who improves { “human interaction”, “communication”, “problem solving” } through a commitment to excellence. He won’t make it easy, but that’s what makes the journey to get there fun.