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

Success! by Lauren Kennedy

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.


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.

Entry filed under: Mind Over Matter. Tags: , , , , , .

Business Is No Exception Why Not?

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Our life is an evolving creation, shaped by our choices, colored by our desires, and lightened or darkened by our intentions.
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