You have a gift – make it flourish. But that gift is possibly different from your friends’ gifts. Honour those friends, and be inspired by them, but do not lose focus on what you can do best. To make progress in life, find ways to blossom on your gifts.
In secondary school, I was the dean in classroom – the undisputed onwu n’egbu akwukwo [the death that kills books]. (At least, as of today, my grades in SSCE remain all-time in the school history.)
But I was nobody on the football field. The school captain was my friend – he was always playing football and learning new dribbling moves. He was getting better. I decided to also spend more time reading to get better in my own domain.
He was a captain on the pitch. I was captain in the classroom. When our teacher does not make it to school, I take over and teach the class to my classmates. My friend did that many times on the pitch. You must do all necessary to be inspired by the right people but at the same time do not lose focus on what makes you different.
That your friend’s startup raised venture money does not mean you need to leave your banking job to startup a company. Possibly, your gift is running what others have started while your friend is just good on starting things. Unless you have confidence in your vision, you will be rolling around, aimlessly to be like others, and that is a bad thing.
Yes, if you studied chemical engineering and a bank job arrives paying 4x than what a small engineering firm is paying, take the bank job. But have a transition strategy with a path to return to engineering at higher level. Do not allow the bank perks to disorient you because later you would regret it.
With a solid plan, the resources from the bank job can fund a foreign postgraduate degree which will set you ahead by miles. The energy to push harder in whatever you do typically comes when you have passion for that. Mine is electronics and daily I pursue a “vision of innovation in addressing the world’s challenges”. Discover your passion, and accelerate it.
Know what you have got, and build your empire on it, making your fortune there as well. Life is more dynamic than mathematics, there are infinite ways to achieving greatness, your singular job is to figure out the best route for you and remain true to it.
Groupthink is a dangerous phenomenon, and do not fall for the mantra of “no one is indispensable”, actually some people are. You are only dependable when you do what others do, in the same way of course; but if you can do it differently, you find out that no one can take your place, it’s for you to keep. When turbulent times of restructuring and rightsizing arrive, there are those who do not worry, because they know that what they have is always on demand; be one of them.
Your problem begins when you want to do your own thing exactly the way your friend did it, thereby negating the uniqueness of every human; it’s a mistake that takes so much to recover from.
Your priority should be to discover the best version of yourself, and continually reinvent and reimagine it; remaining at the peak of your powers for a very long time.
Do not try to be someone else, there’s more pain over there.