Strengths and Drawbacks in Pursuit of Success
Personal and Fueled from Within
Success means a different thing to different people. Viewed in extremes, to a Tibetan monk it may be achieving the level of unconditional love and peace that will enable him to love even his Chinese oppressors. To a hopeful in Hollywood it may be a major role in a movie.
An ordinary dude of my type sees himself successful because of all this harmony, love, understanding, and respect in his family life. The list goes on, but a typical western idea of success has everything to do with a financial abundance. Something to do with that much idolized and cherished American Dream.
However, no matter what we may see as our personal way of succeeding in life, it will heavily rely on certain personality traits that we may either already possess, or we have to cultivate in ourselves.
It All Starts with a Dream
Before we take a look at those less talked about qualities that contribute to a success, let's remind ourselves about those "standard" ones. It goes without saying - we've got to have something for which there is a decent demand on the market of our pursuit.
Whether it's a talent, a know-how, or an inheritance that allows us to make good investments by employing others with talents and know-hows -- we have to have it. That American Dream doesn't mean being a dreamer, so daydreaming alone won't do.
However, combined with a solid base mentioned above, dreaming is not only welcome for the fruition of success, but it's crucial. Someone said "Dreams die first", meaning that when we stop dreaming, we are a sort of cutting off the life supply to ourselves by removing the purpose of existing. We have to envision something that is "not here as yet" to keep us going in life.
Brain Muscle as a Must
Another part of those "standard qualities" is closely referring to our "brain muscle". Here we are talking about our confidence, our will to succeed, a good self-esteem, clearing all tendencies of procrastination, persistence, an affinity to organization and planning, and probably some other qualities that don't come to mind at the moment.
The path of success is not sprinkled with daisies but involves mobilization of that personal strength without which it makes no sense moving any further from that daydreaming phase. All chances are that we'll have to deal with a strong competition of those already "in business" and those aspiring like ourselves.
The Pleasure Principle at Work
From my observation, what appears to be of an utmost importance in a pursuit of just about any venture is a capacity for enjoyment. Let me tell you right here and now that I don't see as a "success" a billionaire who is also a professional miserable sourpuss. To avoid some obscenities, I'll leave it to your imagination -- what he can do with all those billions as far as I am concerned.
"The best of life is free" is not merely a consolation-proverb made up by a loser, but one of the most important signposts on the road to success. Happiness, health, peace, love, and harmony are those free and crucial factors.
Let's face it, just about anything that we "want" involves that "pleasure principle" in life, because one way or another, we just have to feel good in the process and at the completion of our life objectives, no matter what they may be.
A Perverse Spinout of Money
It may not look like that at the first glance, but so much of that greed and craving for power stems from that gloomy realization that big money has not bought us that feeling of satisfaction, happiness and peace that we hoped to achieve.
I am talking about a state of emotional glutting, of depreciation of all those things that we could easily have, and now there is no "appetite" left for any of it. So it perverts itself into a need to have power over others and to be celebrated for a "greatness" that we can't see in ourselves -- not without them.
The power may come in form a political position or from an amassing of filthy riches which will command attention of those already in power, giving us a status of that "grey eminence ruling behind the throne".
Our Body Is Our Castle
So far we have been looking at the importance of something that I am calling "emotional climate", including happiness, peace, harmony, love, and health. Was it Abraham Lincoln who once said something like: "We are not happy because we have succeeded in life, but the opposite is true -- we have been successful because of being happy".
Now, that happiness won't come from an emotional generator that is all biochemically screwed up by a bad life style -- like not enough sleep, bad eating habits, alcohol and drugs, easy women, and alike.
Those are really rare individuals who have that much of a brain power as to override all their neglecting of body and maintain a high voltage health, zest for life, optimism, calm disposition, and flexibility necessary to deal with ups and downs of the success.
Past Is a Poor Motivator
Many folks don't succeed in life for no other reason but because they keep their past defeats as a propelling drive, having that burning need to show all those witnesses of their failures "what metal they are really made of".
It's an ill-fated motivation doomed to breed yet another failure. So, we have to be clear about our possibly ulterior motivation to succeed. We can't walk through life backwards, fixated at our past that is to give us enough fuel to endure something that's not supported by a genuine drive of a playful and creative life instinct in us.
Was it a father who always put down our abilities, whom we want to impress? Is it a competitive and successful sibling or a friend who may be "secretly laughing at our mediocre life achievements"? It's important that we eliminate these possibilities from our drive to succeed.
Success Is Not about Changing Others' Mind
As you can see, rather than using a pep-talk that should "fill the batteries of your ambition", I am focusing more on the possible drawbacks. I prefer leaving it to you and your heart to figure out why you deserve to be successful.
By avoiding those drawbacks you are clearing the way to your healthy impetus toward succeeding. While we were at "impressing others", there are a couple of more examples to be mentioned. One has in its scenario a woman who may have dumped you for a more successful dude, and now you are brainstorming how to "make her regret it" -- by outdoing that dude.
Of course, you would rather just kill the bastard, but you doubt that she would be visiting you in the prison -- so it has to be a plan-b. Well, another thing to clear from possible list of ill-fated motivations.
Being Our Own Boss - and Suffering
There are so many people out there in all lines of businesses who started it merely because they "didn't want to work for someone else". I have seen enough of those who looked like they dreamed about getting back to exactly that -- "punching-in and punching-out", free of all those headaches that really turned out not to be worth it --money-wise and time consuming.
Just "working for themselves" is a passing ambition, and it should never be enough of a motivation to anybody. The reward has to be worthy the effort, otherwise we are bound to turn into those tired human specimens who always look like they would rather be somewhere else and do something else.
Life is too precious for such experiments. More often than not, such folks don't know how to get out of that situation, stubbornly continuing, maybe just to avoid embarrassment of the failure. Between the two evils they are opting for the one which is costing them less pride, while continuing to ruin their happiness and possibly health as well in the process.
Success We Don't Share - Only Benefits of It
Another trap in our motivation is so easily recognizable at all those self-pushers who lack the feeling of being loved and respected -- so they use the "noble" excuse of "doing it all for the future of their kids".
In reality, they may be catering to the secret social ambitions of their wives, somehow seeing that as the much missing visa to every part of her apparently selective heart. The problem is now with the family serving as a thermostat for his stamina and emotional motivation.
Namely, since he is "doing it all just for them", every little sign of their lack of appreciation is a painful blow to those noble intentions. So, let's make sure that our ambition includes the family as those with whom we share the rewards of success -- but doesn't make them a primary reason for our efforts.
It's our baby, our dream, and every step of the way we've got to keep it that way, giving ourselves all self-loving and self-respecting support, independent of the family. In other words, they may join our dream -- but they should not be dreaming it for us.
When Just Dreaming Is Enough
Well, let's end this little list of pitfalls by mentioning those dreams that are doomed from their very start to be self-perpetuating and self-sufficient, a kind of revving the car while staying parked.
Some folks just like to talk a lot about their "intentions", but there is nothing really wrong about finding this kind of pleasure that doesn't insist on a commitment.
People have different ideas about success, and to some of them just getting that sweet feeling of it is enough, a kind of escape, or even a sort of entertainment. I've seen folks who thrive on the stories depicting lives of celebrities, presidents, even inventors in a couple of cases.
As long as it stays at that -- not turning into a major frustration over personal failures -- it's fine. And also, folks with that fixation on dreaming should never "give it a shot" by investing their life savings into it. They are much better off by staying in their dreamland.
Success Begins with Smartness
In the preceding paragraphs I have described certain attitudes that may serve as motivation for our pursuing a success. Just as important as those personal strengths may be, so is an awareness of possible self-created pitfalls hidden within our ulterior ambitions.
It's so easy to overlook them and deceive ourselves with some more plausible motivations. By being honest to ourselves, we can avoid so much future headaches and disappointments. Sometimes it's prudent to lower our standards a bit, and go for something where we can invest our full heart.
"Biting more than we could chew" is not just a poetical part of Sinatra's song "My way". It may turn into our gloomy reality which is very far from what our idea of success was initially. So, let's be smart before we decide to be successful -- that smartness may be the first step of our true success, whether "success" means some great achievements or satisfaction with what we already have..