We believe we want success because we have heard that message so many times in our lives – everywhere, all the time. Success, success, success – this word is like a mantra of the modern world. And if the idea could be personified, I imagine this one would be a small, angry tyrant demanding its rights and privileges, stomping over all the other things in life as less important, maiming some souls and putting covers over their mouths so they can’t speak nor voice their objections. The tyrant doesn’t care if you like long walks, lazy cups of coffee, it doesn’t care if you are tired or sleepy or if you are perfectly okay where you are and you don’t actually need more of anything than you have – the tyrant is merciless.
So how do you deal with this tyrant? Do you fight him? Do you avoid him? Do you hide from him? No, that way the tyrant only secretly gains strength. Because what you resist, persists, it pushes back with the same force; it keeps grinning at you as if to say – well, you know you want this, you cannot pretend otherwise no matter how hard you try. You can also spend your life chasing future hopes and dreams and feeling exhausted and unfulfilled in the process, – or you can actually bring this issue to the light of awareness by raising and answering some questions about it. I suggest you tackle it from different perspectives to see what this really means for you.
A good question to ask would be – okay, so why do I want to achieve success? Is it the money thing? What would I do with the money? What do I believe it would bring me? Peace, happiness, freedom, fulfilment? And can I be absolutely sure that these would come with it? Do I want fame or recognition? Notice all the other empty and egoic reasons such as these and cross them over – because I assume you want to get real. Is there some fear behind this desire for success? What is it? Do I really want to live that kind of life and sacrifice this moment now – for some non-existent future then?
Another thing you can do is to simply close your eyes and explore bodily sensations and emotions that come with a sentence such as – I want to be successful. How does it feel? Where do you feel it in your body? Notice how dependent you are on something outside yourself; it is as if there is an invisible string pulling your energy out toward some future goal. Notice that hypnosis of thoughts that doesn’t allow you to fully appreciate the immediate reality around you implying thus that it is not good enough or that you are not good enough. Also experience the sensations and emotions in the body when you compare yourself to those others who are supposedly more successful than you are. Let these emotions be. Give them space to exist within your being. It might be uncomfortable, but acknowledge them and feel them fully. After you do this, you may actually notice that they dissipate and dissolve into the nothingness out of which they arose.
And what if we really don’t want success but the idea of it sounds attractive because let’s get real, nothing will ever be the way our mind imagines it. There is reality and there is fantasy, and thoughts are pure fantasy. It could be that success is just a foreign idea that has been implanted in our minds so early on that now we don’t have a clue that it doesn’t belong to our original Self. And then we spend time chasing it wondering why we are feeling so dissatisfied, so disconnected from ourselves. So how about simply pausing and listening: What do I want now? Or better yet, what wants to be born or come spontaneously by itself (not by force or exertion) from this body/mind? And not a week from now, or a year or five years from now – but just now? It is like we want to skip this now and avoid looking into the deeper reality of our being, hoping that these feelings of ‘not enough and not there yet’ will disappear when we catch this elusive thing called success. However, nothing outside of ourselves will resolve those feelings of inadequacy and lack – only our earnest looking and processing, and once we do that – this deeper reality of our being is where our treasure lies hidden together with our own authentic voice, for as long as I am doing exactly the same thing as everybody else does – I don’t get to discover what is it that I want to do from the essence of who I am.
And last but not least, I have to mention the sobering quote from Byron Katie where she says how she is always successful no matter what she is doing. She first points out that there are only three things we do in life – we sit, we stand, we lie down, and then on top of that there is a story of what is happening. So she concludes – I know how to sit, how to stand and how to lie down so I am always successful – and so we are. We are always successful at being our beautiful, messy selves.