The Myth of Success
Success is the pinnacle, it’s what we crave.
I believe success is broken—an outdated pursuit that has been the result of more dissatisfaction, confusion, disillusionment and emptiness than we may truly ever understand.
We spend out lives justifying our vigilant pursuit of success while secretly hanging on to the fantasy that when we catch it, we’ll live happily ever after.
Fast forward: A man standing surrounded by piles of stuff, evidence of his enormous success—slowly scanning the room searching for that mysterious “thing” which is missing.
The some-thing missing is a feeling that was believed to be one with the success. Where is that good feeling?
When you looked into your future, envisioning your success it was assumed that satisfaction, pride and self-confidence would come with it as sure as water comes with ice.
Yet, instead of lasting fulfillment the success breads the need for more of the same—as if no deposits have been made—like a slice of cake leads you to crave more. So you are compelled to forge on, over the next peak to see if it doesn’t hold the view—and the feeling—you were searching for.
For most people the “piles of success” never reach such astounding levels as to provoke this reflection. Yet, we’re in the same boat—striving for the finish line, the success that will give it all meaning and justify the price you’re paying.
Yes, you read that right.
Are you kidding? Success can’t suck…
Ah, but when you arrive at the destination of your dreams, that you’ve slaved your life away for, only to discover the part that you most desired is absent, that sucks!
The inherent problem with success is that it’s externally driven.
Success is by definition “other defined.” It’s publicly recognized and endorsed achievement. It’s the applause for the athlete’s winning shot, the approval for the straight-A student, the award for the business making the most money.
Success is what you and I are supposed to do, it’s what works, what gets ahead in this world. Success is life porn.
Don’t get me wrong, success isn’t wrong or bad. In fact, I am certain it’s served us well to strive during the recovery from the great depression or after the WWII. These were times of where rugged independence was necessary and shaping the world.
But then I’d suggest an entire generation of “boomers,” simply picked up the belief that success was it, the gold medal for life, ran with it as an absolute truth.
The New Measure of Significance
If not success, what?
I give you, “Satisfaction!”
Where success is the what, the things, Satisfaction is the experience of, the feelings.
Success exists in and for others, satisfaction is personal. Satisfaction is as fulfilling as success can be fleeting. Success can be sold or traded, Satisfaction is indivisible from you—always with you.
Where success was the measure, I contend that “Satisfaction” is the gauge of a new generation—a generation searching less for the “thing” and more for the experience and meaning.
As Success becomes increasingly empty, requiring more and more success; satisfaction is compounding. The more you get, the more you have. It may fade but never evaporates.
Satisfaction is not in the size of the achievement or the magnitude but in the art of doing—it’s in giving your all, doing your best, investing of yourself. You can’t get satisfaction from winning the lottery, nor I imagine, from Wall Street slight of hand that makes you millions, while costing others millions.
Success can be addictive, satisfaction strengthening and freeing. For Satisfaction affirms you are enough, sound and capable. It’s about you. While success is about the stuff you are worth, have, or collected. Built in to this value proposition is the belief that you’re never enough—only that you have lots of stuff.
Success can be found flexing in less than your underwear in hopes of winning approval. Satisfaction is an intense, deeply cleansing, soul shaking workout; a 40 mile hill climb on your bike that pushed you to new limits, a run that pushed you beyond.
One of the most telling differences is that satisfaction can be found in quiet moments, alone. And of course, satisfaction can be found in success—it’s just not necessarily present.
As you may have already captured, Satisfaction is what was missing from the man standing amidst his piles of success.
How’d you end up with this “pile of success” sans the satisfaction in the first place?
Simple. When you set out to get what you wanted—what you thought you wanted, you did what 99.9% of us do; defined the success and attached the satisfaction as a given; squashing the two together flat as a pancake.
Then you promptly set course, full speed ahead, for Success. Not knowing that the “stuff” could even came without the “sauce.”
What’s the Satisfaction Solution?
I’m a huge fan of success—go for it, win, achieve, succeed. But do so with your eyes wide open.
Untangle Success and Satisfaction before you’re any further down the road.
Seek satisfaction, nurture it and it you. Strengthen your focus and intention to bring satisfaction into your life and watch success take care of itself.
Ignore what others believe is right or wrong for you. Satisfaction effortlessly arises when you’re aligned with your passion, purpose and ability.
You needn’t end global warming or secure world peace to feel the flow of satisfaction. It could be you enjoy engaging with people, changing or improving lives. It all pays the same when you’re rating it on your satisfaction and joy, the currency of your life.
Sure, not every career will pay the same. Some rich in satisfaction may be low in status but when you focus on what you love, your expression of joy you will become a shining light attracting all you desire in life. And all people, the wealthy and not, are drawn to the brightest, most illuminating spirits.
Do what brings you joy and your spirit soars, success naturally follows.
Satisfaction is the good feeling—aim for that good feeling and let the piles of success flow.
Here’s to your most satisfying life.