Obertraun, Austria, view of Hallstatt Lake against the Alps and winter sky.

A few months back, I “celebrated” the milestone of having 500 followers on my Instagram. Yup, the apostrophes are there, because I was doing what “influencers” are doing, except that I am nowhere near an A-list influencer.

It was like the time when I finally bade goodbye to being a zero fighter after training for weeks in BMT at the chin-up bar. Those who could do 20-a-shot would be rolling eyeballs, but I celebrated with my fellow zero fighters anyway.


My account – if you haven’t visited yet, you can find the link at the side bar – is made up of photos I took while travelling, pretentious food I ate, and of course, my handsome face.

The posts, as of late, garnered only about 150 likes max, which was good, considering that the post that inspired me to start growing my follower base was only liked by 50+ people as of now.

For a year of effort, it seemed like my progress has been damn slow. After all, I’m a latecomer to the scene and I (admittedly) do not have a very compelling business case. I just hope to find people who can appreciate how I view my world.

Just last week, another account re-grammed my post and it sparked me to go look for other posts that were re-grammed. Unfortunately, only 1 other account who reposted my photo credited me and that was my only other reference.

It was posted some time in August 2016, and the original post garnered about 80 likes.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw my photo, posted in another account, clocking 1900+ likes!

Yep, almost 20 folds in terms of popularity!

Just as I started doubting my quality of work, I found that it was even more well-received in another place. It was like having a pair of twins, separated at birth, each living their own lives. One received my constant attention but yet did not achieve much, and the other, neglected by me, yet was adored by many.

This sounds like a pat on the back (oh… when you are lacking one from others, don’t be tough on yourself then), but it did jolt me into some thoughtful discussion with my mind.

Just years ago, I decided to leave Singapore Prison Service, in order to search for the purpose in life I wanted. Yes, my career then was smooth sailing, and it was really great to have people look up to me for guidance and mentoring. However, that was not the sort of success I was looking for; that may sound selfish, but I would not want to die and leave this world knowing that I have not found the kind of self-actualisation I wanted.

I moved out, and started searching for ways to define my own identity. I even took up Process Facilitation to build a better, well-rounded and professional work identity.

Yet, I still feel I have not achieved what I left my comfort zone for.

The anecdote on my Instagram photo that led 2 lives reminded me that, perhaps… my definition of success is still somewhere out there, waiting for me to discover it.

If you are reading this, take heart that if you feel you have not found the kind of success you yearn for, look for it. Do not expect others to hand it to you, because your success may just be around the corner, waiting for you to discover it!

Leave a Reply