"Rather than letting others define what success is, define it yourself"
What does it mean to be successful?
Is it about getting a well paid job?
Or is it about getting married and having kids?
Or is it about gaining fame and respect from people?
This article is about how the confusions about success can bring out suffering states of mind.
Success In Depth
If you let other people define your success, then you will never be happy.
To the mind, Success usually revolves around Ideas about what will make the self "more lovable."
These days, the ideas of success usually revolves around doing things that can make other people "admire / respect" us more. Thus the beliefs we have about what will make us more loved by others will influence the way in which we define what success is.
Importance Of Addressing Success
When we live with our eyes turned outwards it is easy to let other people define what success is. Because when we look outwards and see what things other people are doing that are making other people adore and respect them we can come to the belief that doing these things can make us more lovable in the same way.
Thus our eyes can make us believe that success is about having a well paid job or having a certain appearance or fame. But realize that when we are led by our eyes rather than our heart we can end up on a Path towards Suffering. When we let other people define what success is we can live a life of meeting people's expectations and forget to question what can really make us happy and content on the inside. So when we focus so much on creating "success" on the outside we can forget to create success / inner fulfilment on the inside.
Path Of Creator
Success In Relation To The Path Of Creator
The journey begins first with realizing the importance of defining one's own success rather than defining it through other people's beliefs.
However, there is an ingrained habit in us which are always measuring the value of our success by the quality of the reactions we get from other people. I.e. in how much our parents show respect to us, by how our friends see us i.e. by the loudness of the claps that the world is giving us.
However, when we are constantly looking outwards for the applause we can forget to realize that there is also an audience inside which is ourselves. Just how much are we applauding and encouraging ourselves when we have done something great? or when we fail? If we never truly address the audience from within then we will never be truly happy.
So to attain greater happiness in our lives requires us to develop self-love for ourselves. Thus when we criticise ourselves when we do not get a loud enough applause from others we are creating even more suffering through self-judgement.
Ultimately, we will all realize that it is pointless in trying to please the audience out there in the world because we can never be able to please everyone. Everyone is simply inherently different and some will like us for who we are and some will not.
However, we can change and transform the ways in which we see ourselves. We can transform the audience from within so that we can appreciate ourselves and see success in whatever we do whether or not we do greatly or whether or not we fail miserably.
Thus the journey is about learning to accept The Self even when it fails. It is also a journey of self-discovery to find what goals one truly wants, i.e. what is a successful life for me? Is it to be a great father? Is it to be a great artist? Is it to help people? and so forth rather than following what other people are doing.
By simply addressing the negativities we have towards ourselves from within we can naturally gain clarity and reconnect ourselves with our deeper desires. Thus focus the work on transforming on the negative states of the mind and naturally you will come to know what you truly want on the outside. And what is success to the soul will always be the development of happiness from within.
At The Idea Level
Various Negative Ideas can create fears of judgement in the mind. This can push one to allow others to define success for them.
A Possible Negative Mental Declaration
"It is not ok to fail"
--->I reject myself and others when I am/they fail
= There will be fear when I appear to fail because it is not ok.
See Catalyst - Failing for more details
Seeing Success In A Different Light
Here is a Catalyst in which one can use to gain clarity into what Success really means to oneself.
To gain clarity it is necessary to first let go of the fears of being judged by others. And this can be done by redefining one's belief of what success is. This is done by simply seeing success as the attempt of trying to achieve a goal whether it is done "perfectly" or "imperfectly" or whether people will applaud or not.
The wisdom to be learnt here is that as long as one has tried its best then the outcome does not matter because what is important is the journey that the Self has gone through. Because there are things we cannot control i.e. in how people will react to us, luck may even not be on our side, whether we may get sick underperform or whether we not be in the best state of mind because of a lack of sleep etc. In everything we do there will always be factors that are outside of our control which can undermine our achievements.
To develop Self-Acceptance is to forgive and love oneself no matter what the outcome is. As long as we have tried our best we simply give ourselves an applause for trying even if we do end up failing. That is how Self-Acceptance / Self-Forgiveness / Self-Compassion is developed.
Develop Experienced Knowledge
Do things which will make you care about other people's judgement of your performance. For instance this can be expressing your opinions at work, this can be showing off your creativity, this can be personal goals such as exercising or making new friends etc. No matter the result, simply applaud yourself for your efforts and observe the inner resistance to develop greater knowing of why you cannot simply accept yourself as is.
The Creator's MeditationLink here
Every time you find yourself criticising yourself in your meditating practice "i.e. when you are meditating incorrectly such as straying off into a wandering thought" simply forgive and love yourself for what happened and pull yourself back with a greater determination than before and persist with a Still Mind. This is how we "applaud" ourselves at the deeper level of the Mind - by facing self-criticism with Stillness.
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