Success

I want to be a person who doesn’t care about success.

Success is such an incentive for so many of our actions, but definitions of success hinge on fleeting concerns with which the world supplies us. We are told something matters, and so it does. It matters externally, and yet we strive to adhere to this external standard with the notion that it may make us happy if we meet it.

Most of these ideas of success revolve around the concept of control: of being able to control one’s own fate and steering it in the desired direction. Success conjures up images of responsibility and hard work, of unceasing effort and a refusal to accept one’s limitations as the farthest extent that one can go to achieve the pinnacle of all their hopes and dreams (or what they have been told should be their hopes and dreams).

Somehow this doesn’t provide fulfilment. Whether or not we are successful in our attempts to find success, there is no ultimate end of success, at which point we can stand and applaud ourselves for having reached the goal and earned everything we are supposed to want and now finally have. We can hold as much success as can fit in our hands and still feel a calling of failure. There is no amount of success which guarantees that we will feel that we are good enough and that we couldn’t have done more or done better, despite what we express to those around us or what they express to us.

At moments when I’ve felt successful, I’ve enjoyed the feelings of happiness and satisfaction that so often accompany the word. But the feelings are insufficient to ensure peace, incapable of providing true joy and don’t seem to invoke life with a sense of meaning. Success is nice, but it is hollow as a goal; as a reason for doing things and as an aspiration and motivation for strength along the journey, it is empty. It directs us on a never-ending path on which we are constantly told we must try harder.

Success may happen, in many ways. And if and when it does, it is a gift. But if we define what is good and true and right merely by terms of earthly success, we may find it and yet it won’t be what we are looking for. I want to try to stop trying so hard. To allow my self to be, instead of attempting to control my own life so strictly that I become separated from it and lose the moments it contains.

I feel that this relates well to writing. If I think about what others will think of my writing while I am writing, I lose confidence in my own work. My creativity becomes blocked and my words lack the freedom and flexibility to go where they would like and to shape themselves into a picture reflecting my unique thoughts and feelings. I need to separate myself from these doubts and perceived worldly voices, and not to create for the sake of creating a final product. Instead, I want to create simply for the joy of creating, to release something real and deep within me.

Success may come from our actions and our efforts, and I think it should be celebrated and appreciated. But I don’t think success is enough. I think that if it is allowed to come on its own time and in its own way, we can focus instead on being: on being present in the moment, on being free to be our selves, and on being carried and guided through life in a way that is not dependent on our own strength and actions.

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