How do you define success?
I want you to take a minute to clear your mind of any success stereotypes you might have and think about your answer again: what is success for you?
If you're like me you might not be certain of what that could be. You look around and see people in pursuit of things that don't really matter to you.
The more I think about it the more the word seems to have less meaning. The modern meaning seems to have more to do with superficial values than actual accomplishment of purpose.
Do we pursue goals because we want to or we have been told what we must do? Having a fancy phone or car is unfortunately associated with some level of success. But what was done to acquire that object?
We spend so much time pursuing external happiness. I wonder why we don't we spend more time understanding what is important to us as individuals.
We are programmed to go to school, get a job and buy a house or something along those lines. But we never stop to question why we do anything. In fact, we learn not to question.
What if we were to teach our children to slow down and understand their feelings? I am sure they would be much happier if we did.
Knowing oneself more deeply is the path to finding purpose, to unlocking true passion and to being happy.
Seeking a degree, a job and a house without ever bothering to ask why we do any of it is the path that leads us back to the start. Which is trying to understand oneself.
If you have found yourself in the position where you have agreed to do what everybody has told you and have reached what society calls success, but you lack any sense of fulfillment and have begun to question what it was all for then you know fulfillment cannot be found that way.
There is nothing wrong with getting a degree, finding a job and buying a house but wouldn't doing it all with purpose be the better option? Those accomplishments should be side effects of understanding yourself better and finding purpose. Our method is backwards.
As long as you are in an environment where people seek fulfillment outside themselves so will you. And obviously your efforts will be in vain.
When I get the degree, the promotion, the house I will be happy we say. Unfortunately happiness will never come if you've been pursuing something else. And we continue to believe that someday it will if we work hard enough.
So how can you live a life of purpose? You might have to start questioning what got you to your current position.
The people with which we spend our waking hours have a direct impact on our beliefs. For example, people who have lived abroad are generally changed by the experience.
Think about what do you see and hear in your day to day. It's an important fact to observe because what continually enters your mind will ultimately influence you.
There are ideas you acquire in your everyday life that are keeping you from reaching the next level. What you feed your brain will either propel you forward or hold you back.
You can slowly work at making changes to your life so that the quality of the information going in is propelling you forward. Wouldn't you agree?
If you are immersed in negative thoughts you are going to think in the same negative way. A negative work environment, for example, will slowly dim your light.
I would suggest writing a list of daily experiences that aren't helping you grow and work on making the list shorter.
What if you stopped looking at social media and started writing a journal? What if you replaced Netflix with reading?
If there is positive change to the information entering your mind you will reap the benefits. But unfortunately there are instances where we can't just change the channel. You can't unsee or unhear what happens right in front of you.
For example, have you ever examined your commute? Depending where you live you might not relate, but if you live in the city you know how difficult it can be.
There are unpleasant situations in cars, on bikes, on the subway, etc. And when we manage to stay calm externally we still absorb much of the stress. Imagine what years of this can do.
Commuting takes more than it gives and for many it's a significant part of their life. And it appears to be a necessary evil.
I know you can't immediately change the fact you need to commute. But you need to be cognisant that it's part of the things that have their toll.
As you grow aware of the stressors in your life you also grow towards finding solutions.
Commuting is a great example because it seems inescapable. We believe it's a fact of life and we don't question it. And it's not the only thing we don't question. Yet we can break free from any paradigm when we allow ourselves the freedom to think liberally.
To break free from any paradigm suffice to imagine life without the need for it. When you do you allow yourself to imagine the alternative.
For example, what you would be doing if you if you believed you didn't have to make money?
If you believed you didn't have to make money you would shed social norms you believe to be true. You would be liberated from ideas you have given much importance to.
Work might not make sense anymore unless you were never doing it for the money.
I am not suggesting you live without money or work. I am merely recommending you imagine life without the need for it. You might have a perspective shift and understand what your true priorities are.
What could your life look like if it wasn't influenced by anything or anyone? Where would you be?
You might not have the answer yet but I truly believe that free from certain ideologies we become better. Our ideologies are impediments to living a better life and they are inherited from everything that surrounds us.
I'm not suggesting you make any drastic change but your environment is heavily influencing your every decision. You are being driven by things that are not yourself. Like money.
Money is central to our way of life. Money, unfortunately, becomes the ultimate goal. Even if you're not obsessed by it you have much to gain by decreasing the importance you are giving it.
Money can be keeping you chained to something that is keeping you from your best self. Have you ever considered that giving it less importance could be the key to living a better life?
Money will not bring you fulfillment but living a life of purpose can get you more money. I hope you don't think too poorly of that ethical bribe but money can be, and should only be, a side effect of finding purpose. Otherwise you will be sent back to the start.
We work for money but how does work make you feel? Does the work you do and the environment you work in make you feel great? Would you consider taking a job that gives you more time for yourself? We often don't because it might mean having less money or we believe it's a bad career move.
Isn't it crazy that those things influence the decisions we make! I've heard that phrase so many times: it's a bad career move. What does that even mean? I think bad career moves are usually the right ones because we would only make them if we are driven from within. They also force us to become better because since we can't rely on the career and can only rely on ourselves.
There is a bigger question here: it's about finding passion. Passion can be found in many things as long as you are fighting for something. Passion does not occur spontaneously. You must work at developing passion and it can be developed in more than one field. You were born to do many things.
As long as anything you are doing isn't coming from you, you will never feel the passion. Work at expressing yourself in whatever way you think could work. Don't let yourself be influenced by anything because you wouldn't want to be anything but yourself.
There is much keeping us from being from ourselves, but I would argue that technology is today's biggest distraction. Because of it our minds never power down.
How often do you give your mind a rest? Are you constantly being flooded with information? Is your life one where you get little sleep, have a stressful job and have a host of kids activities to make it to? After you've done it all are you watching Netflix or looking at your Facebook feed?
Great realisations come to us in periods of calm. If you create spaces where you can be at ease you are also creating opportunity for you to advance.
Your mind needs a rest. Your biggest breakthroughs will never come if you keep suppressing them.
But how can you break free when people depend on you? You've built this life and you can't expect your family to suddenly live off the grid because you want to find yourself.
It won't happen overnight and you might need to start with the small things. Like turning phone notifications off.
Believe me, it's harder than it sounds. Your notifications might stay off for a few days but you'll turn them back on. Should you be letting others decide when you should look at your phone?
Changing your environment doesn't mean moving far away. Nor does it require burning bridges. But it does require persistent changes over time and that's what makes it so hard.
The biggest impediment you have to attaining true success are the ideas that are running your life. You believe things to be true when they aren't. When you let that happen you are no longer the primary decision maker in your life.
Success will come if you are true to your Self. Reduce the outside influence and you will automatically be on the right path. Be persistent and you will reach your goals and attain a sense of fulfillment.
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