I’ve just finished interning for the past ten weeks at a global Investment Bank. It’s been an enjoyable experience. I’ve made some good friends and I had an amazing manager and good people guiding me through the process. It challenged me to step out and be more confident. The internship taught me to see myself as a brand and gave me an understanding to how I could package myself in a way that will allow me to stand out.
On the first day of the internship we were greeted with a speech from one of the senior members of the business. He spoke about his journey to the firm and his time at the bank. He reminded us of the importance of being likeable, embracing humility and having a relentless attitude for development.The latter of the three things I mentioned will be the focus of this post. A question was posed by a fellow intern as to what separates us from respective competitors in the industry and the answer provided was in regards to our relentless attitude for development.
This analogy was provided which provided so much clarity and food for thought:
Imagine you’ve trained consistently all year and you’ve just dropped your tennis racket as you’ve clinched championship point on centre court at Wimbledon. You’re the new champion at Wimbledon. But this isn’t new to you. For the past 5 years you’ve won Wimbledon. Fast forward to Monday morning; you’ve received the trophy and the celebrations have come to an end; as the last glass of champagne begins to lose its fizz. Your alarm starts ringing. It’s 6am and it’s time to wake up. What will be the reason that will wake you up? How do you remain consistent while you’re number one? What will get you out of bed, make your protein shake and get on the treadmill? Once you find that out. You will be unstoppable.
Maintaining a level of dedication and consistency while at the top of your game, field or industry requires a deep set discipline. A ‘why’ that is far greater than any pleasure procrastination could ever overcome. I’ve learnt that when we see life as a zero sum game – a series of wins and losses – it can make the journey a lot more difficult. The image of climbing to the top of the mountain and being annoyed with the landscape that is now before their eyes. A stunning view but one that shows a vast array of mountain peaks which in the mind of this trekker means more climbing. I must admit that In many ways I’ve seen life like that – at times experiences and opportunities that I am more than blessed to have have become burdensome to me. When previously I would be grateful for the opportunity and seize the opportunity with both hands with a keen expectation to exhaust any learning potential the situation would afford me.
So what is the cure? How do we regain the hunger that we had when we was preparing for our first Wimbledon tournament? How do we go back to the mindset that was with us when we was scheming at the foot of the mountain? From speaking with people who have had similar feelings and have been in similar circumstances. It seems to point back to one word: gratitude. In the rat race of this world it can be rather difficult to cultivate gratitude. Social media has proved effective in allowing us around the clock access to anyone’s life. From the people closest to us to people we have never met before in life – we are unduly provided with a running timeline of their lives. With ease we can find out what they are doing during the day and what they are thinking in the late hours of the night. While this may have it’s benefits it can be heavily toxic. Insecurities, inadequacy and anxiety largely result from constant comparison.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Speaking with a friend she reminded me of the importance to unplug from life. Over the past few days I’ve decided to do that and it’s been absolutely amazing. Reconnecting with family. Being spontaneous and going out with friends. Living your best life. As much as we try to escape this simple cliche, happiness is derived from the simple things in life. It’s watching your little baby cousin laugh hysterically at the same video she’s seen for the 10th time in 5 minutes. It’s speaking with your mum about her fondest childhood memories. It’s walking home with your little sister performing a duet of Jordin Spark and Chris Brown’s No Air (it wasn’t too bad if I must say so myself).
“I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” – Nelson Mandela
So while my summer internship has come to an end and I’ve begun preparing for my next Wimbledon final. I’m enjoying the view that comes at the top of this mountain. I’m soaking it in. I’m enjoying the little things that life has to offer. I’m intentionally living my best life.