We wish to fulfill our desires and to be successful persons.
We are keen to show our capacities, uniqueness and accomplishments to demonstrate how valuable we are.
Who am I trying to convince? And to what end?
Am I trying to prove myself worthy?
Am I struggling to gain others’ and our own approval?
Am I trying to prove myself worthy so as to gain self and outside acceptance as a consequence of believing I am not good enough?
Do I believe that I am not good enough unless I achieve something outside of myself?
This sense of being unworthy and lacking, this struggle to become somebody, this unstoppable wanting, this craving to show off visible and tangible results so as to feel worthy of anyone’s approval is a source of constant insecurity and stress.
It can be overcome.
We gain self-acceptance regardless of our external achievements once we look within and we start to discover that we are already endowed with the necessary qualities to fully accept ourselves as we are, as well as to create value for other people.
Let’s start from the basics:
What is “success” really? How do I define it?
Is it my material achievements?
If it is, do I remember any material achievement that provided me with a lasting sense of fulfillment?
Was I instead caught once again in the trap of cultivating the next desire, craving the next accomplishment?
Am I aware that I could become the president of my country, the most famous celebrity, the richest man in town or the top athlete in the world…and yet still feel incomplete and in need to prove one more thing?
Am I aware that if we measure success as the ratio between number of desires entertained and number of desires fulfilled, every single person in the world is a failure, including the most powerful, famous, or richest one?
Trying to feel successful by fulfilling desires and achieving becomes an endless spin around the wheel of becoming better and more. What my teacher refers to as, “pain to get it, pain to sustain it, tremendous pain in loss.”
Therefore, a successful person is a person with a steady sense of success, that doesn’t go away and doesn’t depend on people’s ever-changing opinion, or on results that in the best case bring but an ephemeral sense of fulfillment.
A successful person is one who feels permanently complete, not lacking anything to be happy, happy without having to achieve, with no more binding wants, no other needs than what he or she already has and is.
Happy for no reason. Happy for being alive and having the chance to live and to make a long set of right choices.
Where does such a person draw a permanent sense of fulfillment?
How did they achieve to feel that without winning a gold medal, an Oscar or the Pulitzer Prize?
They might have achieved something within themselves.
What is it? It is an understanding.
It the understanding that my complete and successful sense of being is 100% disconnected from attainments, positive results or people’s approval, all of which gives a temporary sense of security but nothing more. It is the understanding that success is enjoying the privilege of being able to desire and to act to fulfill our desires, to make our choices, and to be aware that results always depend on uncontrollable external hidden factors. It is accepting all results with equanimity and dispassion, from the understanding that achieving a goal doesn’t make me more and that non-achieving doesn’t make me less. It is the understanding that my value as a person only depends on what makes each of us happy: the capacity to enjoy ourselves, give love and create value.
Still, our family, spouse and friends feel sorry if we “fail” and advise us on how to be (financially or socially) successful. Today, coaches work to improve our results and make our dream-goals come true. But by so doing they all act from a mistaken assumption: once you’ll achieve your goals, once you’ll be there, then you’ll be happy.
They don’t understand the nature of happiness. They forget that they themselves aren’t permanently happy when they attain their goals; so they will prescribe a medicine that will benefit you as it benefited them, only temporarily and never permanently.
We are grasping the nature of an unwavering sense of success when we consider the limited human capacities of knowledge, skill and action that prevent all of us to control the results of our actions and thus to fulfill all our desires.
We are living from an inner sense of success when we step back only to appreciate the human capacity to wish, to make choices and to enjoy the path to act to fulfill our desires.
We are successful anytime we can reflect upon the objective value of our desire, removing the higher subject value we were giving it, realizing that such a wish is something we can do without and still be equally happy.
We are successful anytime we drop any expectation that the things desired should happen as we wish and we simply focus on doing at the best of our capacities the right thing to be done in that situation whatever the result; when we manage all kind of unexpected results without feeling diminished; when we remain unaffected both by the positive and the negative results of our actions.
We feel successful when we achieve to disassociate material achievements from happiness and failure to achieve from my failure as a person and a reason for sorrow.
Our mind is successful when it lets go of a confused notion of “desire”, which puts together instead of differentiating between desires that are but unnecessary luxuries (almost all of them!) from desires that are my only real needs (food, drink, shelter and basic security); when we realize that once the basic needs are covered, all the others are indulgences we can be happy with and we can completely happy without.
We live successfully when we enjoy what we have and who we are.
we live successfully when we understand that we have inside all the ingredients that we are searching outside, through achievements: the capacity to feel worthy and adequate despite adverse events and desires unfulfilled; the ability to love and generate value for other people anytime.
Success stays within us once we do understand that everything that we used to consider the source and the object of our success – awards, reputation, career, money, people approval – are but painkillers of my unresolved sense of self-acceptance; a sense of self-acceptance that I can work from within walking the path of self-knowledge with the right teacher and the right means of knowledge.