One of the most often repeated and widely spread buzzwords in the arenas of personal, business and spiritual development is the word ‘success.’
And indeed, ask the average entrepreneur, career-climber or student of life’s mysteries about their prime motivation to seek out personal improvement methodologies, and they’ll tell you they’re doing it to manifest ‘success’ in life.
But then what is ‘success’ really? What does it entail? What makes you ‘successful,’ and what would make you a ‘failure?’
Do you even know? For real?
“That’s easy…” you might say… “We all know what ‘success’ is, right?”
Well, contrary to what you might be inclined to think, it’s really not always that obvious. In fact, it’s a crucially important topic to consider and have a clear concept of, for multiple reasons:
- On one hand, it’s necessary for the sake of getting crystal-clear on what we want out of life, and thus what to focus our energies on… But that’s not all:
- On the other hand, it’s also a prerequisite to our inner alignment; without a clear concept of what ‘success’ is for us, we can’t make sure that we’re fully congruent and that we eliminate all chances of (subtle) self-sabotage in the pursuit of our dreams and aspirations.
- But above all, if we don’t have a solid notion of it, we’ll likely (be it perhaps inadvertently) impose unnatural and unnecessary pressure on ourselves, in a way that often paralyzes the very power and potential we seek to exploit with the aim to materialize the ‘success’ we long for.
So make no mistake:
Embodying the lessons you’re about to learn can make all the difference in your life, and put you on the fast track towards the real, genuine and authentic kind of ‘success 2.0’ you’re after, and that may just transcend your wildest imaginations.
So let’s dig into it…
‘Success 1.0:’ A Dead-End Street…
As we begin our exploration, consider this for a moment:
When you think of success, what’s the first image that comes up for you?
For most people it would be some image of what’s collectively decreed to be the ‘material dream,’ which is no surprise:
Our contemporary societies tend to constantly stimulate, entice and exploit our five senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling, thus implicitly urging us to focus predominantly on the more material expressions of what are typically considered the essentials of ‘success.’
Material goods then become the yardsticks to measure the extent to which we’re ‘successful,’ and compare our status relative to others. And this quickly makes us define ‘success’ as our ability to flash more fancy goods, luxury items and money than other people.
And indeed, for reasons that will become clearer as we progress through this article, this notion of ‘success’ is constantly reinforced by a daily bombardment of advertising campaigns that underline this very motivation.
Others, however, don’t necessarily share the concept of ‘success’ as our status on the modern-day ‘monkey rock,’ perhaps out of recognizing the many miserable millionaires and concluding that apparently “money and fame do not necessarily happiness make.”
And whether it’s out of fear, jealousy, guilt, resentment, religious directives, rebellion, or something else, some people actually adhere to an image of ‘doing well in life’ that’s rather the polar opposite, taking the supposed ‘moral high ground’ by opting for a righteous kind of frugality.
Now don’t get me wrong:
- Essentially, there’s nothing inherently wrong at all with either of these types of focus. In fact:
- This is not judgment of anyone’s image of success and a rewarding and fulfilling life. And whether it’s material riches, frugality, or anything in between for that matter, it’s all fine to pursue… provided that one condition is met (<– and you’ll learn what it is in the remainder of this article).
- So instead of a judgment, this is rather an invitation to explore what’s really driving us underneath our superficial pursuits, and to make sure we don’t fool ourselves by (inadvertently) investing our precious energies in ventures that neither empower us, nor bring us the sense of ‘success’ we seek.
Because when we take a moment for some honest introspection, we allow ourselves to discover what our orientations really say, and how we may unconsciously direct our creative energies completely differently from how we consciously think…
In fact, as it turns out, most of us invest our energies in such a way that we inadvertently recreate the very types of circumstances we really seek to get out of.
And this is a subtle trap that goes unnoticed for most people…
The Trap Unseen
To elaborate more on this subtle ‘trap,’ let’s pick one of the most popular objects of focus as a ‘vehicle’ (<– pun intended) for doing so.
The phenomenon of the automobile has almost become an object of total obsession in many branches of personal and spiritual development. Apparently, for some people the epitome of harnessing their creative powers is the ability to ‘attract’ a fancy car.
So have you ever wondered about what happened along the evolution of humankind that made a tin can on wheels such a symbol of advanced personal and spiritual development?
It’s a fascinating topic to explore. Let me tell you a quick story that does a good job of illustrating the point I’m trying to make:
What this little account above illustrates, is the relativity of concepts like ‘success:’ what one person considers to be dignified, could be considered by the next person as pathetic.
As I mentioned before, the trap is not so much in material riches or (righteous) frugality in and of themselves, or anything that lies in between for that matter.
The problem lies somewhere else…
And to see it for the problem that it is (<– so that we can subsequently transcend it), there’s no way around having to get real with ourselves.
We may not always realize it, but most of us mindlessly go along with a way of evaluating the question of whether or not we’re “doing well” in life that’s entirely dictated and imposed by our community and/or direct environment.
We just take whatever concept that is for self-evident, don’t give it any further thought, and mindlessly assume that what’s collectively decreed to be ‘success’ is what we’re supposed to want.
For example, most modern-day governments and societies assess a large deal of their ‘success’ based on the measure of ‘economic growth,’ implying that if the economy doesn’t grow, we’re supposedly in trouble.
That’s because our contemporary economical system thrives on consumption and the constant expansion of it. And the more we’re collectively able to consume, the more we’re considered to be ‘successful.’
As a result (in part), most of us automatically take on this belief by osmosis – and not surprisingly, because pretty much all we ever hear is that we have to buy more stuff… and not just to keep up with the Joneses, but almost as our actual ‘moral responsibility’ to keep the economy going.
But like we’re doing in this article with our overall, individual concept of ‘success,’ have you ever considered what ‘economic growth’ really is?
The term merely implies that there’s more money in circulation than before. That’s all there’s to it. Now think about that some more:
- This means that if we (individuals and governments alike) borrow more money that we don’t have in order to acquire fancy stuff that’s supposed to testify to others of our alleged ‘success,’ we’ve contributed to the growth of the economy.
- Likewise, when the weapons industry sells more of their product, it gives an impulse to economic growth.
- And by the same token, when the turnover in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry increases, this makes yet another contribution to the expansion of the economy.
But ask yourself:
When things like that happen, is that really ‘success?’ Think about it:
- Why do we (governments and individuals alike) need to borrow more money in the first place? Apparently we can’t make it work on our own. Is that ‘success?’
- Why do we need more weapons to start with? Apparently, there’s more fear and chaos in the world and bigger and dirtier wars to fight. Is that ‘success?’
- And why do we need more medicine and treatment in the first place? Apparently, more people are getting ill… Is that ‘success?’
When we get real, that can’t be the essence of what we’re really looking for… neither individually, nor collectively.
But mind you:
That certainly doesn’t mean we should all shift towards the other end of the spectrum and opt for righteous kind of frugality, as if the ‘moral high ground’ and/or ‘being spiritual’ equals being poor, living in a dump, and having no desires and aspirations in life.
That’s an equally ridiculous definition of ‘success.’ After all:
- At present, money is still an important means of energy and value exchange in the world, and is really not the root cause of misery on our planet, just as little as it’s the true source of our power.
- So who benefits if we use our righteousness about money and wealth to disempower ourselves by depriving ourselves of the very empowering instrument that could cause the ‘righteous’ visions and changes we like to see in the world to happen through us?
No one does, so that has as little to do with real ‘success’ as conspicuous materialism or any other pursuit that we don’t essentially agree with and/or that leaves us to feel empty in the end. Surely that can’t be the essence of what we’re really looking for either.
So long story short:
When we get real, what then is the real key when it comes to ‘success?’
The Key To Real Success
There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of money, or being well-known, or having fancy cars and big mansions. Like everything else, these are all just ‘thought fields’ and experience. (<– This is more thoroughly explained in the training PDF that comes with Session 2 of the free Crack Your Egg Introduction Course.)
But so many people get absorbed in pursuing the material ‘dream,’ that they forget about why they’re doing so in the first place.
A friend of mine used to say:
“Most people are so busy trying to make a living, that they forget to make a life.”
Look around, and you’ll see that most of us are ‘human doings’ (or ‘human-not-doings’) more than we are ‘human beings.’ In other words, life lives us, rather than the other way around.
Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with frugality if our preference is to lead a simple(r) life. Nor is there necessarily something amiss in anything that lies in between these two extreme examples.
But getting real forces us to dig deeper into ourselves, and may as such lay bare not only the potential misdirection of our pursuits, but also our deeper, underlying motivations along with it.
And when we do so honestly and genuinely, the crux of the matter reveals itself:
The real problem begins when we allow others (<– people and institutions alike) to impose their (often blindly accepted and equally misdirected) images of ‘success’ on us, and we consider their evaluations the verdict on whether we ‘made it’ in life or not.
So whatever it is you think you want – whether it’s a lot of money, a big mansion, a fancy car, a simple(r) life, a business of your own, making a particular kind of contribution to the world, anything – the real question is:
- Why do you want it?
- What’s the underlying motivation?
If it has anything to do with living up to someone else’s expectation or imposed vision for what we should or are supposed to be or do, then what we think is the ‘success’ we want is merely the ‘success’ we think we’re supposed to want.
And as such, it’s not an uncorrupted expression of our own creativity, but rather a statement in reaction to something or someone else.
And here’s the real crux of the issue:
In the very act of adhering to that image, we implicitly disempower ourselves in multiple ways:
- We put our sense of self-worth at the mercy of other people’s approval or disapproval.
We’ll look to others to confirm on our behalf whether we’re ‘doing well’ or ‘being successful.’
And when we don’t succeed in their terms, we often consider ourselves a ‘failure’ because we don’t meet the externally imposed standard that may have never even really been our own.
- Enough will likely never be enough.
We’ll probably never feel satisfied and ‘successful’ because we’ll keep looking to others for a kind of approval that we can only give ourselves.
And in turn, this goes on to define the entire atmosphere around our implicit orientation. Simply put:
- Don’t expect to “effortlessly attract” it if it’s merely something your father wanted for you.
- Don’t think you’ll “easily manifest” it if it’s only something your family expects of you.
- Don’t assume you’ll “magnetically draw it toward yourself” if you’re merely trying to live up to an image of what your community decrees you’re supposed to be.
- Don’t suppose the path will be laid out for you by some greater power if you actually have to force yourself to commit to certain norms solely because they were imposed on you, or since they’re ‘normal’ in your immediate community.
- Don’t expect a big reward merely because some guru says it’s the right road to travel.
- Don’t count on a comfortable life experience if you constantly have to look outside yourself for confirmation and approval from others about whether you’re “doing well” in life or not.
If we do, we can try as we might by throwing a ton of positive affirmations, visualizations, subliminal messages, ‘success thinking MP3s’ and subtle rationalizations at our minds to try and convince ourselves that they’re really our own desires.
But our whole pursuit fails from the outset, because none of that will cancel out the fundamentally reactive (and thus non-creative) orientation we subcommunicate through the very act of living up to an externally imposed image of what we’re supposed to be and our need for confirmation and approval of others.
Either way, we’ll never be fully congruent; part(s) of us will be misaligned from our own authenticity, and we’ll never be able to fully invest our whole self in it. And so whatever we seek to ‘manifest’ will likely be an exercise in futility, or at best a practice of exhaustion.
Surely, true success (<– ‘Success 2.0’ that is…) must feel differently, right?
Indeed, it does…
Conclusion: What Is ‘Success 2.0?’
In the end, what we really seek is not ‘success’ or ‘happiness’ like many people think, but ultimately boils down to an ongoing sense of genuine, durable fulfillment that comes from being able to live life on our own, authentic terms.
That’s when our restless quest ends. And the only way to experience that on a continuous basis is to have an unyielding sense of inner congruence, rather than a constant need to fill (supposed) holes and alleviate pains and pet peeves.
This kind of success doesn’t require a particular end result… although the end results we think we seek usually do spring from this kind of congruence as a natural by-product.
Neither does it necessarily have to involve a specific activity (<– such as a particular kind of job, a certain form of altruism, or a distinct type of role).
After all, we can express our own passion and unique brand of creativity in many different ways, through many different professions, and many different roles. (<–In fact, the same profession, role, job etc. can be performed in many different ways and with many different underlying values, mentalities, attitudes and motives.)
It’s the fundamental inner congruence that’s essential, which allows us to fully invest all of ourselves in the things we do… whatever they are. This creates an unyielding sense of congruence and fulfillment that Ralph Waldo Emerson meant when he described ‘success’ as follows:
From that state of congruence, we’ll be in charge. That’s when we start to live life, as opposed to letting life live us.
Success, in that sense – ‘Success 2.0’ that is – can only be one thing for you:
What you – and you alone – define it to be.
And here’s how to get there…
Where To Go From Here?
The first step is to stop pursuing and/or adhering to images strictly because your community (<– whatever people and/or institutions that includes) considers that to be an accurate depiction of success.
So whatever images of success you hold in mind now, ask yourself:
- Am I being honest with myself, or am I merely trying to live up to someone else’s expectations? (<– Even if that ‘someone’ is a certain group, institution, supposed ‘higher power,’ etc.)
- Do I agree with these images of success, or is it merely to fill supposed a sense of lack, or to live up to an externally imposed image that I can’t really find, let alone invest myself in?
- Does holding on to them create a constructive atmosphere around myself, or does it create unnatural, artificial, paralyzing pressure?
And from a more practical standpoint, ask yourself:
- What kind of experience makes me feel fulfilled on a durable basis? And:
- What exactly is it that I’m being and/or expressing when I feel totally fulfilled and completely self-expressed?
Make no mistake: this is a deep question and may require some serious contemplation and introspection. Or it may be blatantly obvious for you, like it is for some people.
But whatever comes up for you, find ways to embody that on a more continuous (or at least more regular) basis in all the various roles you have in life.
This way, you will build the inner congruence that’s the basis for the kind of success that’s real, genuine and authentic for you…
And here’s what’s so ironic:
- A true and genuine sense of abundance will result from it. And from this state, it suddenly turns out to be a lot easier to manifest even the kinds of luxurious wealth and resources you may currently (falsely) assume to be the prerequisites of ‘success.’
- The difference will be that your ‘success’ will no longer depend on them, as they’ll longer be obsessions, imaginary and ever-moving finish lines, or supposed end objectives of your pursuits.
- Instead, they’ll be the natural by-products of an authentic sense of ‘congruence,’ ‘success’ and ‘abundance’ that you embody on a continuous basis.
- And you’ll be able to enjoy and ‘summon’ them in a playful fashion as means to self-expression and the fulfillment that comes with it… just not as essentials that are supposed to fill gaps and testify to others of your alleged ‘success.’
This way, you’ll no longer be in pursuit of success and fulfillment anymore. (<– This state of ‘being in pursuit’ will only manifest – and thus perpetuate – a reality of being in pursuit and on the path towards it.)
Instead, you’ll already be there. And from there you’ll allow things to come into being and be drawn into your orbit, rather than remaining stuck in a perpetual chase.
It’s a small difference in perception and attitude, but one with truly profound effects… as you’ll see.
It takes any unnecessary and unnatural pressure off that used to be (self-)imposed, which in turn makes you produce a whole different kind of ‘music,’ and dance to an entirely different kind of ‘tune’…
… a tune that – when given the chance to be heard – will ultimately manifest the true, genuine and authentic success you really seek (even if that includes material riches or a simpler existence).
So do the exercises outlined above, and go make it happen, whatever ‘Success 2.0’ is for you.
And don’t let anyone – including yours truly – distract you or tell you otherwise!
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