Archive for October, 2008

The Illusion of Control

The Illusion of Control – Lauren Kennedy    http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Control. We all want to be in control. Even those of us that are completely out of control, long to achieve it.

Control. Just the thought of it make us feel safer. We like the power and security that we feel when we have it.

We admire individuals who are stoic, in control of their emotions, their speech even and firm, their attitude resolute and definite. And we assume that the words they speak are wiser, their opinions more reliable, and their influence is more dependable.

Control. We want to control other people’s opinions, thoughts, beliefs and actions.
We equate control with self discipline, determination, effectiveness and character. We think it will give us power, respect and self confidence.

Control. From the moment we are born we are admonished to control our anger, control our thoughts, control our tongue, our feelings, our attention. We are judged by how well we control our kids, our composure, our life.

Control. We think it is the solution for our problems and the answer for uncertainty. So we try to control nature, other creatures, other people and other countries.

Control. We think that with enough force we can control the terrorist,  protect our borders from immigrants, eliminate drug addiction, change others’ beliefs, and make it to the top of the heap.

Control. We believe that through control, we can stave off aging, keep our children safe from emotional and physical pain, subdue mother nature, defend ourselves from the unexpected and ensure that our lives proceed according to our own script.

Control. We use our control in an effort to repress our feelings, silence our conscious and ignore that small voice within that could save us from ourselves.

We Love It

Humans have longed to be in control from the beginning.  We craved it. We weren’t satisfied with living care free in paradise. We wanted the  control, too.  So we par took of the forbidden fruit, (there were no apples in the middle east). From the first, we thought we could manage things better than God or the Universe. And we have tried to improve and tightened our methods of control ever since, with dismal results for the environment and our fellow creatures.

Since we first picked up a big stick and discovered we could intimidate, we have used force to control. Now, reacting to our own fear and outrage, we snatch people off the street and hold them without due process, have armed border patrol to keep out the scourge of foreigners, (forgetting that we all are foreigner except the Native Americans.

Control by Intimidation

We have nuclear weapons to intimidate other countries from aggressive action toward us . And they have nuclear weapons to protect themselves from us. We are developing biological weapons as are other countries.  The  viruses that we devoted years to successfully treat, cure and prevent with antibiotics and vaccines, we are now altering genetically to resist those same  vaccines and antibiotics.

These viruses and new ones that we are developing can be set loose on some countries’ citizens because the policies are impeding corporate profits or the current political ambitions.  Our own fears of vulnerability prompt us to react before considering the disastrous results of our actions or from pausing to consider other options. I guess one could argue that mass extermination of some offending country by biological agents is preferable to blowing up the planet.

Control to Avoid Fear and Insecurity

And since we haven’t yet discovered how to control time, we are at least controlling the effects of time on our bodies. We spend millions on resculpting our bodies. Liposuction, building muscles, hair growth, hair removal. We cut off fat, sagging skin and wrinkles. Then we add the appearance of additional flesh on our lips, chest and behinds. We go to great lengths and even greater expense to control our bodies appearance in order to control our image, which in turn controls others’ opinions and judgments.

We over protect our children, making them  ill prepared to cope with life on life’s terms. We do their school papers to ensure they are at the top of the class. We deny any issues or behavioral problems they may have to avoid others’ judging them or us. Or perhaps so we won’t judge them. We rescue them from the consequences of their actions to avoid pain, theirs and ours.

Then we manipulate, shame, threaten, and exhort them to conform to the lifestyle, beliefs, companions and profession that we consider to be the best for them. Never mind what they want. Never taking a moment to reflect on our true motives for our self centered behavior. We want to avoid the pain of them failing or suffering, avoid the inconvenience of emotionally supporting them through the mistakes. More often, we are afraid of how their choices will reflect on us, or we want to live a unfulfilled dream vicariously through them.

Controlling Our Fears

And we control our feelings. We are afraid of being discounted if we are emotional, seen as weak if we admit to fear or insecurity, or considered dangerous and unpredictable if we say we are angry. We don’t seem to realize that feelings don’t control our behavior. Denying or discounting our feelings, plus our assumptions, attitude and perceptions, influence our actions much more intensely.

We have convinced ourselves that control is the answer. And if it doesn’t work, it just means we must find better and more ways to control’

Wrong Answer

But we have been misinformed.  Or perhaps we have just chosen to bury our heads in the sand.

Control isn’t about self discipline, self respect, or determination. It doesn’t solve our problems or neutralize nature. It doesn’t keep us safe or make our lives better. It doesn’t help or protect others or ourselves. Control does not eliminate our feelings but increases their negative affect on our behavior. It doesn’t give us the peace of mind or security that we seek. And it is an illusion that we choose to believe so we can claim surprise, martyrdom, and righteous suffering when things fall down on us.

Control is the result of fear and arrogance.

Arrogance — Our right to dominate, eliminate or abuse any person, creature or the earth without guilt or consequence

Fear – Afraid of not getting what we want, keeping what we have. Afraid of how we will be regarded, afraid of being misused, afraid of loosing control, afraid of failing or succeeding, afraid we can’t cope, afraid of our feelings, afraid of living.

To be clear, control is using any methods that are aggressive, manipulative, dishonest, misleading, intimidating, exhorting, belittling, disrespectful, arrogant and dominating.

Control may bring a temporary illusion of power, as long as we can maintain the status quo. But we will be constantly scrambling to ensure that nothing changes. We will have to be alert to any possible threat to our control: unplanned changes, persons with ideas different from ours, new discoveries that may compromise our power or any other unforeseen situation.

Choose Empowerment not Control

But everything changes. True power is the result of personal empowerment, efficacy, integrity, and acceptance, which has nothing to do with control.

Does control engender respect? No, only fear, outward obedience, and eventually retaliation. We may grab a few thing that we want by control. But we will inevitably want more. So our area of control must increase more and more. Plus we must maintain our control of the things we grabbed up in the first place. No wonder we are stressed.

We Control because We are Afraid

The idea that by controlling our feelings and our surroundings, we can avoid is pain is the biggest lie of all. Bottom line, we control because we are afraid.

Control never resolves the source of our fears. Instead it tries to eliminate them. But our fears reside inside us. When we use control to get what we want, the resistance, equal and opposite in  force will end up controlling us.   And the greater the  suppression or control, the bigger the eminent eruption.

Controlling or resisting our feelings doesn’t make them go away. Neither is it helpful to allow our feelings to control us. But if we try to control, resist, deny, or repress our feelings, they will end up controlling our attitude and behavior. When we manage and explore our emotions, we will then be less likely to react and better able to choose our responses and behaviors. We will be aware of our true motives and intentions.  And we experience more peace of mind.

Control is restrictive, limiting and potentially destructive. It enslaves rather than empowers. It is an unending scramble to control the ever changing flow of life and bend it to our will.

Control is Reactive, Not Proactive

Control demonstrates a lack of imagination, cooperation and self-trust. Control arises from the need to be right, to have things one’s own way and to have power and influence over others. But control is restrictive, limiting and potentially destructive. It enslaves rather than empowers.

Instead of controlling our environment or nature, we must learn to manage it. We may have to change the way we build, where we build, how we get energy, how we manage surplus and lack. We may have to change our mindset to support a better for all approach rather than more and more and more for a few.

We may have to accept that life is about change and growth. It is about our own growth through meeting the unexpected challenges with grace and cooperation instead of fear and domination.

We may have learn to respect and honor character and integrity  rather than image and power.

We may, as the most evolved species, have to take up our responsibility as guardian of the earth and all its creatures, instead of viewing our dominance as  permission to take what we want, destroy what is in our way, ignore the suffering and needs of lower life forms, and dismiss the less powerful populace as insignificant.

We say we value freedom. But control and freedom are mutually exclusive.

For everything that we try to control, there is a more creative and effective method for approaching and resolving the issue.

But so often we choose control instead.

Even the animals learn that control doesn’t work.

Have you ever tried swimming after a ball in the ocean. The harder you swim the faster it floats away. Even the shark swimming to catch a bird floating on the surf realizes that swimming faster doesn’t work and learns to come up from underneath for the catch instead.

We all want to experience freedom, happiness and a sense of belonging and importance. And to a large extent, we have the innate ability to create a life that fulfills those desires.

Can we do it?

The real question is do we want to. We have proven time and again that we can do whatever we set our minds to do. So if we do not, it can only be because we do not care enough to change.

Life is about growth and change. Control allows for neither. Things that do not change, eventually die out. Control is a losing game.

But we can learn to manage the resources of the earth, and manage how and where we live on the earth. We can manage the crops in resourceful ways and irradiate hunger. We can manage our wildlife that is our heritage and our future, giving it the dignity, respect and freedom it deserves.

Acknowledge Our Responsibility

We must embrace our role as protector of the earth and its species. We possess tools more powerful and effective than control: intelligence, imagination passion, empowerment, courage and on good days compassion. With them we can accomplish true growth, better technologies and have the life we desire while still respecting the rights of the earth, its creatures and our fellow humans.

Are We Insane?

We have tried using control for thousands of years. It hasn’t been satisfactory for those being controlled: the earth, its creatures or other humans. And by most measures it has succeeded in resulting in happier, less fearful, more compassionate, wiser, or more enlightened controllers. Can we really expect that doing the same thing will produce different results? That is the definition of insanity.

We consider ourselves the most intelligent creatures on the planet. Will we continue to avoid our responsibilities, blinded by our insanity? We do so at our own peril.

We can choose our future course. We can learn to manage instead of control, to have respect and tolerance rather than to dominant. We can realize that fulfillment and satisfaction is the result of experiencing life rather than controlling it.

Only then will we truly have personal power and experience true freedom.

The choice is ours.

October 27, 2008 at 5:12 am 3 comments

Road Map to Success

Road Map to Success! by Lauren Kennedy http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

You have determined your goal, charted your course and visualized your success. You’re revved up, enthusiastic, and convinced that you finally have discovered the winning formula.  Confident that you have left nothing to chance, you  launch yourself  into action, sights fixed on your target goal. You are totally immersed in  your quest. Absorbed by the desire to succeed, you refuse to allow life’s annoyances to interfere with your plans. Your attention is riveted on your goal, and any distractions are met with annoyance.    You press on, convinced that life’s ultimate trophy, success, is within your grasp.

Then it happens. Once again you are repeatedly charging into obstacle after obstacle, battered and bruised. You become exhausted, drained of energy, unable to force yourself to take another step. May be you are dazed and disoriented from devotedly forging ahead on the latest “Make more money than you can spend,” strategy, only to find yourself overwhelmed and deeper in debt.  This is not the ending you had envisioned.

What, you wonder, are you doing wrong?

You’re not alone.

There is an never ending supply of information and informers. We could research the various strategies for success for a lifetime and still not exhaust the supply. And the ones we did research would contradict one another. It is a true quagmire when you are new to the games without any basic foundation, concepts or guidelines to which you can compare the new information you are receiving.

I discovered first hand the disillusioning affects of doggedly adhering to strategies that aren’t working. I shelled out hundreds for the privledge of getting in on the ultimate business opportunities or advertising campaign. The talented sales personal excelled at repeatedly wearing me  down through manipulation, guaranteeing a substantial return on my investment,   implying that I lacked vision if I resisted, or promising to personally ensure my success.

Business Principles

I have listened in amazement as entrepreneurs confidently proclaimed that adhering to personal principles was unnecessary and unprofitable in business. They rationalized that being dishonest in business matters did not make one dishonest in character. The inference is that if you are a business person, you are not responsible or accountable for your actions or the consequences. This notion has been clearly demonstrated by wall streets expectation that their victims are responsible for footing the bill to bail them out so they can continue conducting business as usual.

It’s Up To You

But no matter. The important thing is to stop and evaluate the choices that we are making. Otherwise,  we become, overwhelmed, over tired, over worked and over committed. We exploded with frustration and then crash and burn. Or we become physically and emotionally exhausted, and fizzle out completely. Confusion, inadequately, and resignation are the result.

But that doesn’t mean that you are at a dead end street. And your dismal results aren’t caused by a lack of ability, commitment, or determination. But you do need a set of guidelines to help you identify truth from fiction, reality from fairy tales, and responsibility from rationalization and justification.

Top that end, I have included some mistaken assumptions and basic guidelines below.

Mistaken Assumption 1.

“You can have it all.” This is an attempt to sanction “You can have your cake and eat it too”. Believe me, I dedicated many years,  determined to find a way to do that. And I ended up just plain hungry. You can have everything, just not at the same time. No matter how efficient you become at multi tasking, excellence demands focus, awareness and complete involvement. Try patting your head and rubbing your stomach. You may pull it off with practice, but it requires total focus, leaving you unable to respond or even notice present circumstances, developing situations, or arising opportunities.

Plus the necessary preoccupation required to stay on top of your multi tasks, steals your awareness away from the present. You go through the motions of living. But when you are distracted by mental gymnastics, you can not experience or enjoy the present, whether that is appreciating a beautiful sunset, feeling the unconditional love when your child hugs you, or enjoying the support and camaraderie of a close friend.

There is no no opening for a creative idea that may be the answer to a difficult situation. Plus rubbing your head and patting your stomach simultaneously is no longer much fun after the novelty wears off.

Mistaken Assumption  2.

“The only limits are the ones that you create.” The truth is that we all, as a condition of being human, have certain physical, emotional and intellectual limitations. Some of these can be minimized with time and effort. But no matter how sincerely a schizophrenic believes he is Napoleon, he will never conquered France. Similarly no matter  how committed I am to  getting by with one hour of sleep a night, my body is going to object, and strongly. Believing that I can fly like a bird will result in even greater physical peril.

OK. So perhaps those are extreme examples. But we suffer in less obvious ways every time we deny our needs.  A few individuals may be evolved to the point of transcending these physical limits, but most of us haven’t reached that level.  We all have our individual sleep, exercise and relaxation requirements. Some of us have certain physical limitations brought on by birth, lifestyle, karma or experience. Some people thrive on stress while others find it debilitating.

Our life circumstances create other limits on our time, energy, and responsibilities. Family, children, especially those with issues or special needs, financial challenges, etc. require additional time and energy.  There is only 24 hours in a day. Therefore, your individual circumstances do  influence how much time and energy you can devote to your goal.

We all have certain limits on our time,  energy and coping abilities. You can push yourself and ignore rather than honor  your physical and emotional needs.  You can neglect some responsibilities and compromise some principles in your determination to achieve your goals. But the pot at the end of the rainbow will not be filled with gold but regret, cynicism, or callousness.

But your dreams have no limits. And you can achieve the essence of whatever you dream.  It is only how you achieve it that is in question. But limits are really challenges. Honestly and courageously met, the result is a giant step toward achieving the essence of your dream.

Here’s an irony about our schizophrenic.

Although he may not convince anyone else that he is Napoleon, his belief and attitude allows him to experience himself as Napoleon. Our motivation for a particular goal or dream is our belief that by achieving it, we will experience: happiness, security, freedom, fill in the blank. That is the essence or our dream or goal.

Mistaken Assumption 3.

Don’t devote time, energy or focus on anything that isn’t furthering your goal, i.e making money.” There are moments when this concept would be a welcome excuse to boot my kids out of my office, tune out my husbands critiques and in depth suggestions, and justify neglecting “lesser” responsibilities. Aware focus, persistence and dedication may be required to achieve your dream. But neglecting  things that aren’t directly contributing to your success creates imbalance in our life. It increases our tendency to live unconsciously – on autopilot, to become obsessive about our goal,  to ignore the important thongs in our life and to miss the journey.

Success becomes more important than relationships or self awareness. Integrity is compromised by the rationalization that the ends justify the means. The goal should never be more important than your life journey. If your actions don’t adhere to your values and principles, you may reach your goal, but you might not like that person you have become when you get there.

Go For It!

Yes, go for you dreams. That is who you are and what you are meant to do. And yes, reach for the moon, you may just get to the stars. Never give up your dream because of obstacles or hardships. But if you keep getting beat up along the way, if you are consistently sliding backwards, if you are becoming less of the person you want to be, here’s a road map that will get you back on the freeway to your goals.

Road Map to the Stars.

Adopt these concepts as the guidelines for your attitude, behaviors and choices and your engines willing be purring again.

There is Abundance enough for all. You own the title to an abundance of it.

Don’t limit your dreams. You wouldn’t have them it you couldn’t achieve them. But be open minded about the path you take and listen and heed your inner guidance showing you the “How”.

Determine why you are striving to reach a particular goal. We choose our goal because of how the goal will make us feel, not because of the goal itself. Anything that fosters that feeling is time well spent. Practice being the person you want to become. Avoid people that encourage negative behavior, demoralize or discourage you. This is not the same as avoiding people who are suffering or in need of support.

Make certain that it is your dream and not someone else’s expectations for you. Your goals should be motivated by desire and passion, not by old guilt, fears, or by the need for approval.

Make it your priority, but not your sole responsibility. You may have to give up some leisure activities for a time. But the things you value and the principles that you hold dear cannot be compromised.

Don’t deny your physical and emotional needs and requirements. It may be tempting to sleep less. We may think we can ignore our needs for relaxation, self care, personal interactions, emotional support. But just like a car that doesn’t get proper maintenance, you will burn out or miss the turn. Don’t become so obsessed with your goal that you forget to refuel.

Choose a direction that is stimulating and empowering.  Make a plan. Chart your course. Anticipate detours but avoid u-turns. Then trust yourself. Don’t second guess yourself every time someone criticizes your choices or suggests that you should try something new. Instead, exhibit the attitude, confidence and bearing that you will have once your goal is realized. But live in the in the present moment.

Proceed with trust and courage. Then expect the impossible.

FYI – If you are struggling to find direction, motivation, courage or empowerment, we have a Life Coaching program that will fit your needs and provide effective methods for developing the characteristics necessary for your success.

October 16, 2008 at 5:54 am 4 comments

Why Not?

Why Not – by Lauren Kennedy http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Many of my articles deal with the aspects of human behavior that cause our own or other people’s pain, suffering, and despair. However, humans have many qualities that are awe inspiring, noble and selfless. I want to focus on those today.

The fact that our species has not only avoided extinction but has thrived is astounding.

Physically, we are the slowest, weakest most defenseless species on the planet. We cannot run, jump, swim  or climb as well as species much smaller than we are. Our strength to body weight is pitiful in comparison to the rest of the animal kingdom. And we have no secret defenses such a camouflage, venom, spines, or odor. Few would have wagered on our survival.

Yes, we do have intelligence. But that alone is not enough to overcome our physical limitations.
It is our imagination, our determination, our cooperation and our willingness to question and say “Why Not?” That has brought us this far.

Why Not?

We first asked ourselves why not stand up on two legs?  And we followed that with our determination to do so. Even  years of evolution after the moment we first stood erect,  walking upright is still a strain on our skeleton. Pregnancy and childbirth are complicated by our upright stance. Our two legged locomotion has allowed us to make the most and best use of our opposible thumbs.  We reap the benefits of our bipedal stance today because we asked Why Not, and then remained determined to continue our upright stance.

Our desire to communicate also overcame the physical limitations of our anatomy. Our voice box is located lower in our throats than other species. That makes us more prone to choking, but we were willing to make the trade off. Chimps, no matter how intelligent can never master vocal communication, because of this limitation. Their voice box remains higher in their throat. But at around the age of two, our voice box descends into its lower position to accommodate our determination to communicate. Once again, because of our quest for Why Not, our form followed our need for function.

To the Ends of the Earth

When resources began to disappear, again we said why not? Why not venture forth and find new lands on which to settle? We had no guarantees that their were better resources elsewhere, nor did we even know if there was an elsewhere to discover. But why not look and see?

When we were being threatened by larger animals or by the tumultuous environment, we said why not risk our own well being to help a fellow human survive. Why not, care for someone who was hurt, injured or less able to help themselves? It afforded us some security in a sometimes hostile environment. And we discovered that although a person may be a burden in one respect, they are often a tremendous asset in surprising ways. Why Not helped us foster compassion, tolerance and respect.

As our settlements grew we said why not let each person specialize in the tasks that they do best. Then we can all trade the products we make, benefit from the best craftsmanship and focus on our individual passions. Why not? It lessened the drudgery of having little choice in tasks. And it paved the way for creativity, cooperation, imagination and passion to blossom.

When our fore fathers decided to liberate the colonies from Britain’s control and begin a new country, they said Why Not have a country governed by the people for the people. It’s never been done, but why not? And while not perfect,  is has the potential to afford its citizens the most freedom. All because some courageous individuals said shoot for an ideal.

During the civil rights era, Martin Luther King Jr. said why not have peaceful protests and peaceful civil disobedience  to gain equal rights and change the constitution. Violent revolution was the norm, but he and millions of followers said why not try to get results through peaceful means.

Many people who took part in the protest  also had to say, why not risk my life and my well being for a cause in which I believe. Why not put my principles before my comfort? Without those people, civil rights would still just be a distant dream. Why not risk all for a dream?

I saw a story about a 12 year old boy who saw the horrific conditions that a bear was enduring in a run down road side “zoo”. He said why not try to spend the time and effort to find the bear a suitable home and also raise the thousands of dollars to transport him there? And as others responded with why not donate money and time to help a fellow creature, the bear found a new home.

Mother Teresa said why not have a center to help the poor and suffering. Why not believe in their individual worth as human beings. Why not believe that the funds and the help will follow. Why not? And follow they did.

Why not go to the moon? Why not find a cure for cancer? Why not strive for peace on earth and good will towards all men and all creatures?

The Beat of Your Soul

Why not has always been viewed by the majority as the course of idealists, madmen and unrealistic fools. But why not is the only battle cry that brings innovation, cooperation, imagination and elevates the consciousness of our species. And more often than not, Why Not combined with determination and perseverance wins the day. Why Not has been the motivation that has instilled the best of our human characteristics.

As life for the developed nations become less a constant challenge for survival, we make up activities to feed our inherent need for excitement and challenge. We climb mountains, jump from cliffs, take part in blood sports. Why not instead satisfy that need for competition and adrenaline by substituting our love of physical challenge for the purpose of challenging ourselves to live with character and principles. Let’s say Why Not to making the changes in our attitudes, perspective, understanding and compassion that would make the world better for all. Why not?

So why not believe that we can have a planet where everyone has enough to eat and drink? Why not help those less fortunate without first judging if they are deserving? Why not learn to live in harmony with the planet, the environment, and the other species and act as guardians of the planet and all its miraculous life forms. Without them we would never have had a place to live on or life to evolve from.

Why not have the courage of our convictions in spite of our fears of the consequences of marching into the unknown and to the rhythm of our own special beat?  Why not trust that by choosing the higher road, we will, in the end, gain far more than we could ever loose. Why not?

WHY NOT?
If you have examples of people that you know or have heard about that have said Why Not and then followed through to make life better for another person, creature or for the planet,  please post your example.

Perhaps your example will help encourage us all to have the courage to say:

Why Not?

October 8, 2008 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

Success!

Success! by Lauren Kennedy http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Success! The ultimate win!

Most everyone desires success. Parents want their children to be a success. But what exactly does that mean? Nine out of ten people I ask say that to them success means having a respectable career, abundant income and the high regard of others. And they also rate success as one of their top three priorities. Seldom do I hear a parent say that their goal for their children is honesty, integrity and compassion.

NO! They want their children to be successful.

Many parents expect their children to excel in all that they do in order to assure that they become successful. The parents often have exceedingly high expectations. They often feel that their children’s performance is a reflection on them, which intensifies the child’s guilt if he/she does not live up to their expectations.  This guilt increases the child’s anxiety and reduces their sense of self trust often resulting in them denying their own dreams.

I can understand parents’ desire for success for their children.  We all want our children to enjoy the best life has to offer. Successful people often seem to get the best breaks and to be above reproach regardless of their culpability.

Success Means Prefered Treatment

White collar criminals tend to serve less prison time and are not regarded with the same distain
as the common criminals although their crimes often involve greater sums of money and effect
many more people.

Some how, our society equates success with sterling character. Many times I have heard a newscaster say in shock and surprise, “No one would expect a crime like this to happen in such an affluent community.” And of course, there are the inherent inequalities that plague the criminal justice system depending on the net worth of the accused.

Character is Found Equality in Rich and Poor

I have had the opportunity to live and mingle with the very rich and the very poor. I have never
noticed any significant difference in the general moral fiber between the two, expect perhaps the
poor tend to be more honest about their transgressions.

Although as a society, we tend to put the elite on a pedestal, as individuals there is the vague realization
that this is a lie. So why do we continue to honor this fairy tale?

Why Success?

I believe it come back to the question “Why do we want success?” The response is typically external items, such as wealth, leisure, prestige, respect, power and influence.

Although money can’t buy you happiness, the truth is that money can and does make life easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable. And it is pretty effective at buying respect, deflecting judgment and providing the freedom to live as one likes. However, once you reach that pinnacle of success, it becomes more difficult to avoid facing the fact that there is still something missing.

Some people continue to avoid facing this truth by setting bigger and better goals. Some people use competition to mask the vague discomfort that arises after the climax of their most recent conquest. But what remains is the compulsive need to achieve more and more to seek that missing something in external conquests, various compulsive recreations, or blaming and criticizing others in order  to fill the emptiness within.

Basic Needs Must Be Met

Our obsession with success is fueled by our  basic human needs that success – career,
abundant income and the high regard of others- seems to represent. Maslow’s pyramid specifies that certain basic human needs must be met in order to have a fulfilling life. Beside the essentials of food,
shelter, clothing, human beings also have psychological needs. People believe that  success
will provide these needs: a sense of belonging and importance; a feeling that one counts and can make a
difference, freedom of expression, creativity and self actualization. Many people believe  that by achieving success, they will be afforded these rights without the risk of judgment, rejection and condemnation for their choices.

Humans also need to have a sense of purpose. Pursuing success artificially fills this need temporarily.
However, once success is achieved, they feel an emptiness unless they have realized a deeper,
more substantial sense of purpose to which they can aspire.

Success!

So what is the point of these observations?

The goal to have a respectable career, abundant income and high regard of others is a wonderful objective. But the assumption that this form of success will result in freedom and fulfillment is a recipe for despair and disappointment, whether or not an individual achieves this goal.

Success that is solely defined by external accomplishments will never result in inner fulfillment, freedom
or satisfaction. Those attributes can only be acquired when we find personal success through Personal Freedom.

And that’s an inside job.

October 5, 2008 at 3:49 am Leave a comment


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