The Lies of Success

I just finished reading an entire chapter in a book about how success doesn’t make you happy.
Bummer, right? It was written by a very successful man who found himself in misery at the height of his success. He wasn’t saying success is bad, he was just saying that if you haven’t dealt with issues in your life, they will follow you and success will only magnify them. My favorite line was, “you will be the same person, only you’ll have more of everything, and that includes pain.” (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis).

True point.

So where do I stand with success really and what do I define success as? After all, the point of this blog is to help you and me succeed at pursuing a rare existence, accomplishing our dreams, being extraordinary, and so on. We definitely all have goals here that we’re trying to succeed in.

One of the big questions to ask yourself is, “WHY am I pursuing the specific goals that I am”?
“What is the root behind this goal that I think will make me happy in the end?” Sometimes our intentions are not as pure, or shall we say, as HEALTHY as we think they are.
I’ve said before that it’s very important that you know yourself well as you embark along this journey and that means that you know not only what things you are good at and dream of doing, but also what your deep rooted flaws are that will continually try to trick you into fulfilling them in wrong ways.

We all have these things… deep seated insecurities left over from years of grade school bully torment that leaves you with the desire to prove to the world how awesome and worthy you really are… a negative parent who is constantly asking you for more so you continually try to give more than perfect….crazy jealousy over that perfect older sibling that leaves you always trying to keep up…friends who are obsessed with all things fun, expensive, and seemingly wonderful that drive you to live the same way. We all have our reasons.

Take a second to ask yourself about yours.

For me, success in extraordinary living means…
…freedom. I’m pursuing time freedom, freedom from enslaving factors (debt, addictions, insecurities,etc), emotional freedom, and many other kinds of freedom, so that I am free to choose how I invest my time, energy, and heart so my life will reflect my true values as closely as possible. My desire to be successful in my quest for freedom is driven by my desire to always be the one who gets to decide what’s best for me and my family throughout different seasons in life, and to be able to choose to use all my resources (time, money, talents, etc) to make that happen.

Yes, there are many moral and noble motives in that, but um, can you say CONTROLLING? Just when I think I’ve beaten the control monster in my life, he shows up in the most unexpected places… the places I thought were pure and secure and free from the uglies. Nope.

Now that we’ve taken the time to identify our inner self’s ulterior motive, we have the choice of whether we’ll face it or not. If we decide to deal with our weaknesses and identity issues now, then we’re free to continue to pursue our definitions of an extraordinary life… and now we can do it with true freedom (ironic since my definition IS freedom!). If we choose not to deal with it, then once we obtain the life we seek, we can only expect misery. I know this is true because I’ve learned in the past that when I feed my control monster, the only thing that it spits back out is bad relationships, anger, frustration, and ultimate sadness… and I’m guessing that your uglies are on the same team as mine with the same rule book, so you’ll probably get the same results.

So our success will only be true success if we deal with our personal issues before achieving it.
Otherwise our success will only make our problems worse,  just like Rob told us. I hate when people say sucky things and then are right.

post 44

“Fame” brings a definition of success

“There are some things success is not.

It’s not fame, it’s not money or power.

Success is….

Waking up in the morning, so excited about what you have to do that you literally fly out of the door.
It’s getting to work with people you love.
Success is connecting with the world and making people feel.
It’s finding a way to bind together people who have nothing in common but a dream.
It’s falling asleep at night knowing you did the best job you could.

Success is…
and friendship…
and success is LOVE.”

OK I didn’t write any of that. It’s a speech from the movie “Fame” and I love it. I have to go work on my own definition of success now and I suggest you do the same.

What’s your definition?