I want success. I dream of it daily. I affirm it to myself every morning and every night, and frequently throughout my day. I advise others to go after their own ideal for success.
What is success? Typically, we conjure images of expensive cars and luxurious vacations; often, they are images that we don’t even really want; they are the images that we have accepted as success. We apply them to our lives and modify them to our tastes so that the expensive car is no longer the Ferrari, but now it is a 40 foot custom RV. In any case, we are still believing that “success” means “things.”
I like things. I like things a lot. I’m 33 years old and I still write a long Christmas list, even if nobody reads it. The things, however, are meaningless. I know this. I am who I am with or without them. They are symbolic of my persona, and my persona is not my essence, it is a morphing thing, it is only a mask, a buffer to the rest of the world. My essence is the truth. My essence is what, when considering success, conjures images of love and playfulness, of reverie.
Try all you want to become a man (or woman) of success. It will likely happen if you try often and with clear focus. However, if you are merely seeking those images, then you will be just another example of how money doesn’t buy you everything.
Try to become a person of value, and it won’t matter to you if you have success or not. Becoming a person of value means that first, you are of value to your own existence, and second, you are of value to the existence of others. Being a person of value may mean having those images of success, but if it does not, you will find that it truly does not matter to you.
Here is an idea that many people don’t seem to like: no matter who, no matter what, every person acts out of selfishness. Mother Teresa acted out of selfishness. Of course, this requires a broader definition of selfishness as we typically see it. Call it “conscious selfishness.” When Mother Teresa helped countless people, she did so out of the deep yearning that came from within. It was the best way that she found to serve her passion.
Go about your life in conscious selfishness and you will live a life of value, a life of passion. Through conscious selfishness, you will find that it may suit your highest values more if you choose not to argue with your mate, or if you choose to help others in need. It all depends on what your highest values are, and that becomes more clear the more you express your conscious selfishness.
It may seem absurd that to become a person of value, you must become consciously selfish, but this only means that you are still hung up on the term “selfish.” Get over that. You are selfish. The more hung up on the term you are, the more selfish you are. You may act and behave un-selfishly, but truthfully, you are only doing so to suit your personal need, perhaps of being viewed as unselfish. In the end, you’re still selfish.
Forget the notion of being a martyr in order to be of value. Isn’t it possible that in order to be of the highest value to people you care about, it requires that you are wealthy, healthy and really, really happy? How valuable are you if you’re miserable? Don’t worry that being of value will require you to sign your life away to handing out blankets to the homeless. Just let your passion guide you, even if you’re uncertain what it is.
Go about your life like a downstream, easeful, and play with the turns and currents. See what happens when you make choices that are meant to serve your highest values, not just the temporary want. Imagine yourself choosing behaviors that serve your ultimate happiness.
Don’t worry about success. It will come if it’s in line with your passion. Consider only how your passion is of service, is of value, whether just to you or to the whole world, and all that you most want will fall into place in perfect time.