From The Inside Out


I suppose at the core of this idea will be what your definition of success is. Rather than argue that point, I will simply expound on what MINE IS. You may agree, in whole, in part, or not at all. But it is MY definition and my point will stand in light of MY definition, not any other. I am sure that my definition is not at all the norm. But perhaps it should be. Perhaps you may adopt it to some degree after a bit of thought. You can do anything you wish and argue about YOUR success. But not with me. If you wish to vie for success in my world there is one way to do it. I'll make it clear so you know where you stand and there will be no confusion or frustration from uncertain expectations.

 

If only life were so clear-cut as this! Let me explain what I mean when I use the phrase "from the inside out". It means that in my opinion the success that people can see from the outside like trophies, or prizes, or records, or titles, or win/loss tallies have little OR NOTHING to do with real victory. The success that I'm talking about is on the inside. NOBODY BUT YOU EVEN KNOWS IT'S THERE! It is personal and it has only self-relevance. A big house and an expensive car and lots of money are trappings. People who don't understand real success have to settle for these instead. It's the best they can get. No wonder they are NEVER SATISFIED! They can never have enough, be enough, or do enough. It's a lie that they've swallowed that is just a big HAMSTER WHEEL (as my good friend calls it). Round and round you go. This is no new concept. The Hindus reasoned it out some 6,000 years or more ago.They called it Samsara and it had to do with Dharma and Karma and Waking Up but that is another story.

 

My point is that not just we modern workaholics have been duped by the false promise of reward that results from misplacing true success for a weak substitute. SATISFACTION NEVER COMES FROM EXTERNAL REWARDS. Therein lies the rub. If you don't understand what success REALLY IS you can never know how to get it. So then, ...if it's not what people say it is, and its not what we thought it was, and its nothing we can see...WHAT THE HECK IS IT?!?!

 

My definition of success has to do with INTERNAL REWARD. Success to me is defined by things like PERSONAL GROWTH, SELF-DISCOVERY, SELF DISCIPLINE, SELF-KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE WORLD WORKS AND ONE'S PLACE IN IT, SELF-ESTEEM, SELF-WORTHINESS, CLARITY OF MORALS AND SOLIDIFIED ETHICS, STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, INCREASED KINDNESS AND COMPASSION (which is worth saying twice), INCREASED KINDNESS AND COMPASSION, AND SELF-SERVING to name a few. I would not be surprised if you noticed that many of the things I mentioned having to do with real success had the prefix "self" attached.

 

That is no coincidence!

 

These things may have some external consequences (like being kinder) but the effect is foremost an internal event. Since they are "internal" rewards, they are by nature dealing primarily with one's self. There may be one item in that list that at first blush does not seem to coincide with the rest. Possibly you balked at the term "self-serving". I will try to clarify what I mean. When one has some real success and experiences PERSONAL GROWTH of some variety, one's "self" is thereby "served". One is made bigger, one has expanded, one is wisened. In a sense, one has "taken care of one's self". Let me be explicit and emphasize that this is not to be confused with SELFISHNESS.

 

In this paradigm I see selfishness as when a person satisfies their need AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER. Self service is rather when a person satisfies their need by TAKING CARE OF THEMSELVES. And this occurs at NO COST to another. Truly if you can NOT take care of yourself, then someone else MUST! So what I mean by self-serving is akin to the self reliance Thoreau wrote about eloquently in WALDEN. By the way, it comes highly recommended by me! Take care of yourself, for crying out loud, man! When one can accomplish that, it is a success in my book. The point I want to bring to light here is that you may pursue many disparate things in life. But in the end all/be all of true victory, the money will be spent, the stuff will cease to entertain, the pleasures will dull, and the great triumphs will be utterly forgotten no matter how diligently you try to keep them bright...

 

Soooo....where I am taking this is to ask you to clearly define what you believe success to be. I am suggesting that if your version is too heavily weighted on external rewards then there will quite likely be loads of disappointment and frustration ahead for you no matter how high you climb. But if you can grasp that the deep satisfaction and fulfillment that we all seek is sitting BELOW THE SURFACE, yet well within reach, if only we begin to look for the internal growth and development that can accompany any worthwhile endeavor instead of focusing on the outcome, you're on your way!

 

Worthwhile because the pursuit of anything IS where the real rewards lie. Not in their completion and possession, but in the challenge and personal application needed to get there. I know it sounds trite, but it is the journey, not the destination. See past the cliche and embrace the wisdom of that maxim. HAVING a college degree is no match in reward to EARNING one. All of the growth occurs in the earning.

 

Once you've got it, nothing about you changes. Sure it opens doors, but that just sets the stage for ANOTHER JOURNEY. BECOMING IS PARAMOUNT TO BEING. HAVING IS SUBORDINATE TO GETTING. To him who has ears...let him hear. Process over product. I hope you understand. If you miss this you will be baffled when you see people "win" and feel nothing. Shouldn't they be ecstatic? Why is this so often a true occurrence? I submit because winning the prize has little to do with success. And that even a loss on the scoreboard can result in tremendous personal achievement...if one's vision of success is clear...and internal.

 

Real successes happen TO YOU on your way to a goal. THEY. ARE. NOT. THE. GOAL. You are.

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