The Tiny Wisdom is a series of comics that illustrate the inner rumblings of Briandito's mind, which largely centers on topics many can relate to, like the transition to adulthood, difficulty sustaining friendships, self-worth, dealing with loss, and more.
"The Tiny Wisdom is a series of comic strips about life," Briandito told BuzzFeed. "I lived in isolation alone from 2020–2021 during the early days of the pandemic. So, I started The Tiny Wisdom as a blog where I poured my thoughts and ideas. Eventually, The Tiny Wisdom evolved [into] the comic strip format that most people are more familiar with right now."
In the first panels, Briandito's faceless main character is approached by their manager, who suggests they "do more" at work if they wish to be promoted. The character takes time to reflect on this, knowing that their manager meant well, while also balancing the idea that they don't necessarily want to be promoted or hold more responsibility in their position than they already do.
It's not an uncommon internal struggle. Within the last few years, Gen X'ers, millennials, and Gen Z'ers have more widely embraced transparency when it comes to pay, hours, and work expectations — and they've likewise debated over whether voluntarily remaining in the same role for years should be seen as stagnancy or liberation.
In an article for LinkedIn News, editor Joseph Milord interviewed a waiter who had worked in the service industry for a decade and appreciated the flexibility their non-managerial position offered, including time to be present for their child's first steps and milestones.
The same sentiments can be found at larger companies, where some workers reported feeling burnt out by the pressure of performing above benchmark in hopes of being graced with a promotion. "I will be just fine if I stay at my pay grade and work at that level," one Reddit user shared when explaining why they did not want to be promoted. "I’m done with giving more than necessary."
"If I get promoted any further, the hours will get longer, the stress will be greater, and for what precisely?" another user, u/SamePhilosophy7947, posed. "This doesn't mean I won't keep growing and learning to keep my skills sharp, and will probably do some sideways moves into other areas to deepen my specialist knowledge. But otherwise I'm unconvinced by society's expectation that you should always seek to climb the corporate ladder. I don't want to look back on my deathbed and see that life took a back seat to my career."
In the center panels of Briandito's comic, his character harps on the same idea. "It's not that I don't have ambitions," they say. "I just don't have any complaints right now. My life is good enough."
"Everyone has a different definition of success," they conclude while celebrating the wins of their friends.
"Success is tailor-made for each person. And that's why you shouldn't compare yourself with other people."
For those who can relate to attaching the idea of success to the accomplishments of others in their lives or on their timelines — or even attaching it to the views of their parents — reading Briandito's strip hit home. "I used to compare my definition of 'success' with my friends before, and my family forced their definition of success on me too," one person commented on the artist's post. "I have ambitions, but it's different from what they expect me to be. And this post makes me more confident about it."
And after reading the comic, many others shared their own thoughts on success, which they've redefined for themselves.
"To me, success is happiness. Many said 'I have to achieve this, I have to achieve that,' and [often], we found ourself not that happy with the achievement," another user wrote. "I found that, if you can find happiness, that would be success to me, and it's universal."
"My definition of success is giving my best at everything I do," someone else shared. "This doesn't only include tangible success like starting a business or winning awards. This also includes maintaining relationships and keeping your loved ones the closest to your heart."
When speaking to Briandito, the 29-year-old told me his idea of success is "about finding yourself." He continued, "Before you set 'where' you want to go, you need to understand 'why' you want to go. People tend to get lost in life because they are following the stream; they do what other people do because that's the norm. But you need to know why you are going in that direction. That's when you truly find your purpose in life and define your own success."
And he knows it's easier said than done. "During the past five years, I saw my friends getting married, buying houses, going on vacations to Europe and the US (as an Indonesian, this is very expensive), and the list goes on," he said. "There were times when I felt like I hadn't accomplished much because I kept on comparing my life to theirs. Because of that, I tried to work harder, hustled, and got burnt out in the process."
He realized "they only show what they want to show on social media. Just like me, they won't publish their problems and struggles online. So it was unrealistic to compare my life to other people's. That is when I started to find my own definition of success."