I don’t know the success I want, but I do know failure and its horrid emotions

I am a competitive, ambitious, fairly intelligent person on the outside. On the inside, I’m ruled by BPD and its torrent of instability. Further, because my sense of inner self is nearly non-existant, I rely heavily on external events, emotions, and achievements to define me. BPD has served as a constant fog over my true self, a self I am still trying to figure out.

I watched the CNN specials, “John McCain & Barack Obama: Revealed”. In each documentary, the candidates spoke about times in their life when they realized they felt a calling to a higher purpose. The energy, heart, and experience it takes to motivate oneself into a Presidential campaign is enormous, and I imagine both of these men has had their share of struggles, but even in the darkest of moments, never questioned their inner worth.

By virtue of their candidacy, they are successful people. McCain, war hero and statesmen; Obama, Harvard Law Grad, community activist, and elected representative. If I was in their shoes, I would feel pretty good about myself.

BPD’s emotional issues cause me to only feel satisfaction, to feel worth, when I achieve something. In High School, it was getting A’s, running in races, or playing in a regional honor Jazz Band. In the bigger picture of my life, these moments were fleeting. Moreover, every time I did something that made me feel good, I fell into an addictive pattern that naturally set the standard for the next level of “happiness” higher than the previous.

As a result, I naturally burned out, never satisfying myself, never making myself happy.

I have always felt I’ve gotten the short end of the stick on things. To be honest, there have been times when I’ve had genuine success, but no matter what, I yearn for the next level – to be notably sucessful – to be extremely prominent.

For the longest time, this might getting and Ivy League education. In High School, I graduated 4th in class. While this is a nice achievement, especially given the amount of time I dedicated to tons of other school related activities, 4th just doesn’t cut it for the Ivy League. My SAT scores were mediocre, and I was good at – but not a state standout – in my musical, athletic, and other extra-curricular pursuits. To get into these schools you almost have to be Valedectorian and ALL state athletics…Sadly, I just didn’t measure up.

As a result, I have rebelled against myself and my parents over my perception of what post high-school life was supposed to be like. I felt I worked hard enough to earn admission to top schools. Futhermore, if they truly could understand my personal story, they would see that my intentions, feelings, and sacrifice were so that I could go that extra yard. Instead, Christmas day my Senior year of High School, I find out that I am diabetic and go to the hospital. Meanwhile, other high school seniors are sorting out their post-secondary plans, some even planning their first months at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford. If the admissions staff at these institutions knew what I went through to get where I was, they would truly and genuinely offer me admission. Instead, my mediocrity drops me to the bottom of the pile.

As a result, since I did NOT go to an Ivy League school, I was upset and felt as if all my efforts were for not. I felt that I would be climbing the corporate ladder forever, kissing some jerk-off boss’s ass for years while my Ivy League peers skate their way to the board of directors and 7 figures a year.

When I arrived at my school, I thought I’d make the best of things, and continue in the same fashion as I did in High School: work hard in the classroom, study, run on the track team, and continue my musical studies. For some reason, I felt I needed to be considered one of the best at one or all of these pursuits in order to feel good in College.

Sadly, this didn’t really occur. I burned out. I collapsed emotionally. My unrefined and untested social skills were poor. Thus, instead of coming home to a household with people around me constantly (as I grew up), I came to my dorm room faced with the challenges of not only pleasing my inner ego, but also attempting to connect to people: a skill I never worked on in High School because I was busy chasing windmills.

What is success? I always say: It’s a top education, it’s being the best in your class, becoming a corporate CEO, meeting your dream girl and having a wonderful relationship, earning six figures, making a million bucks, running a state high school track record, playing a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, etc. All my ideas of success are benchmarked by what it means to be “elite” in our society.

I don’t quite understand why I feel this way. Perhaps I have an inferiority complex? Perhaps I’m afraid to be the person I really am – who isn’t a world record holder, gold medalist, or perfect SAT? Perhaps my vacant inner self needs these seemingly “larger than life” accomplishments to fill its abyss?

After college I didn’t get a dream job, I didn’t get married, I wasn’t summa cum laude, and I didn’t feel like grad school.

I’ve probably lived a completely different life than I had originally planned. Am I successful? Well day to day, I constantly measure myself and torture myself if I’m not number 1. NOT being the top dog drives me to push harder, to sacrifice more, to be more self critical, to be more harsh on myself when I want time out. In the end, the only thing this really does is tire me out, depress me, and make me bed ridden because I am tired of living a life of chasing a carrot I’ll never reach.

I think the answer to my question will probably take a lifetime to figure out. Maybe I will experience success in a form completely unlike anything I had ever pictured. I honestly hope so.

What would be the ultimate success for me, aside from being cured of BPD and diabetes – which sadly will not happen?

I say that success would be to wake up each morning and feel whole – even in the most treacherous of times. I say that success would be to not be measured by material or quantifiable achievement, but rather by pure, unadulterated happiness.

For now, that idea is still a bit of a pipe dream. I’m still very much addicted to society’s measuring stick of achievement, and in the end, we all know that living by society’s standards aren’t always the best.

My challenge: find happiness that emanates from my inner self without prejudice, feelings of being deprived, or material failure.

I’ve been very down, inactive – work projects are not coming to fruition

After I returned to Costa Rica from a mid-July family reunion in the USA, I thought I’d be more positive, upbeat, and active as the fall busy season for my career in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) heats up.

In fact, I remember stepping off the plane feeling charged up to take on the world by storm. I even downloaded Gloria Estefan’s 80’s hit “Get On Your Feet”, which while definitely epitomizes 1980s pop with its synthesizer sounds, has a good spiritual message that lifts the soul a little bit.

Well, all that began to evaporate about 4 days later. ..

What is my job exactly? Search Engine Optimization is the process of promoting/building a website that will rank on the first page of Google results for important keyword queries that generate leads or customers for a website. For example, if someone types in “Used Cars Los Angeles”, Google will supply them with a list of results. Generally speaking, anything that involves commerce (online or offline) employs Search Engine Optimization, since being placed in the top 10 results will create sales. As a result, the person looking for used cars located in Los Angeles will find a seller from Google’s results, and a transaction is made. People who do Search Enging Optimization create campaigns to get their websites highly ranked in the various Search Engines, because traffic from these search engines creates revenue.

My websites compete in a vastly different market vertical: online gambling. Online gambling is one of the more lucrative verticals online, but it is also very competitive. On top of that, online gambling is under a lot of scrutiny by the USA department of Justice, because a very small minority of gambling website operators engage in illicity activities: money laundering, tax evasion, etc. As a result, most of the USA has banned online gambling in one form or another, despite the fact that there are brick and mortar casinos, sportsbooks, racetracks, and state lotteries in nearly every state of the Union.

Up until returning to Costa Rica, my websites were ranking in the top 15 for football betting related keywords, such as “Online NFL Betting”, “Football betting”, “College football betting” etc. I was looking forward to the start of the NFL season, which is 3 weeks away, because I knew that attaining these rankings in the search engines would mean that my websites would acquire customers looking to place bets. I make money on all losing bets ( or profits to the house ), but if they win, they obviously get to have all their winnings and I am docked money. It’s a commission based system: Website affiliates, like me, will get between 20-35% of any customer losses from clients we acquire. Since search engine traffic is one of the best sources of acquisition for online gamblers, having well placed websites equals more potential gambling customers and more potential profits from losses incurred by the clients.

This is why the gambling niche market is so competitive: If you can acquire a fair number of active gambling clients, you can easily make 1000’s per month.

Caveat Emptor, your website has to maintain its top placement in Google results in order to continue to get new clients. If you’re the 10th or better result, you’re good as gold; but if you’re on page 20, you don’t make a penny ( … who would click through 200 results to find your website? Zilch … )

I woke up one day, now just over a week ago, to find that my highly placed websites had been demoted to 200th or 300th place in Google. I have no clue why this happened, since the Page Rank, a metric used by Google to measure the quality of a given website, was intact and strong. If one’s website gets demoted by hundreds of places, it often means a penalty and loss of Page rank…But, in my case, the sites were demoted by placement, however their Page Rank score was unaffected. This is a contradictory result: If you have high Page Rank, like I do, generally speaking, you’ll be highly placed in Google results. Unfortunately for me, I am now in some sort of Google limbo, where my sites continue to be considered “non-penalized” but also not ranked on page one.

I saw that this happened to a couple other websites, so I know I’m not alone. The real kicker, however, is that it had to happen to me 3 weeks before potential football betting customers would begin to search the web for places to bet. Because my work takes months of effort and calculations, being dropped 3 weeks before the busy season does not allow any time to recover.

At this point, I’m just hoping I’ll get ranked again in time to acquire some customers…

Psychologically, things like this destroy me. I’ve worked on my websites for over 2 years now. They are clean and do not employ shady practices. I’ve also spent a ton of cash and time creating networks, content, and links that bolster the prominence of the sites, which in turn contributes to higher placement in Google. For things to fall through 11th hour like this is absolutely SHITTY and it has put me into a depression.

It’s even more annoying when your sites become ranked behind other webmaster’s websites that are shady, employ dirty ranking tactics, or are completely unmaintained, not up to date, or basically dormant. This really upsets me because I know that for the past several months, these webmasters have done absoluetly NOTHING and their websites get top results, while my websites, which have been nothing but blood, sweat, and tears – not to mention thousands of dollars in investments and hours of hard work, are dropped from the top results for no apparent reason just before the time when top rankings count most.

Furthermore, it embarasses me as a person, because people consider me a search engine opimization expert, but how can someone be considered an expert when their websites are buried on page 20 of the results? In my business, top rankings are what counts. What one did last year, last week, or last month doesn’t mean a thing: Search Engine Opimization is a here and now reality, and if you’re not here and now and making money, you’re no better than the guy who has sat on his ass for the past year doing nothing. Effort means nothing unless it yields quality results.

I realize a lot of my angst comes from BPD in terms of black and white thinking, the need to create a sense of self from external activities, and the need to feel whole despite the fact that I feel totally like crap inside.

This football season was supposed to be where all my work paid off. This was supposed to be the time where I could pat myself on the back and know that the hours of sacrifice and monetary investments would all be worth it.

Now, however, the future looks bleak: perhaps I’ll have to start all over and work towards trying to get better positioned for next year.

There is still a small chance things will work out, but the closer I get to the busy season, the more and more it becomes clear that my efforts, sacrifice, and good intentions will have been all for not.

It is this realization that has kept me in bed 16 hours a day for the past week, where I prefer to let my mind entertain me with random dreams, opposed to living in a reality that is painful, disappointing, and utterly hopeless. Why me?