It’s been almost 5 months since I joined Stripe and I was recently looking at some of the culture guiding principles. I really love these and a lot of them are things I’ve lived by long before I had heard of Stripe, see optimism, urgency and focus.

However, the one principle that really resonated with me was “we haven’t won yet”. Stripe is worth 35 billion dollars and processes billions of dollars in payments all over the world. However, we still realize that there’s so much left to do. Complacency is a thing to totally and completely avoid. There’s always a focus on how to keep getting better.

I’ve been thinking on these lines since I was in college. It wasn’t in these exact words. But “we haven’t won yet” is a really nice way to phrase it. No matter what happens, there’s always room to grow, always ways to improve. And if you’re not growing, what you’re doing is probably not what you should be doing.

This is very easy to say, but I’ve found that it’s much much harder to actually live. When you’re in school or in college, growth is very easy to measure. You’re working towards graduation! Getting to graduation is not exactly an easy task. However, growth is still well defined. It gets harder to figure out after you’ve graduated.

I haven’t been able to figure out how I really want to grow so far, however I do realize that being directionless for a long time won’t be good for me. The default in life in all things seems to be mediocrity and I do not want to feel mediocre. The first step here is to figure out the direction that I want to go now. And then start working to get there.

But, living by “We haven’t won yet” every moment of your life isn’t sustainable either. I believe in fleeting moments of celebration to cherish steps you’ve taken to get closer to winning. Without those fleeting moments, I’m not sure if “winning” would even be worth it. There’s a delicate balance here, it’s been hard for me to figure out. However, one thing I have figured out definitely, I haven’t won yet.