Sunday, August 17, 2008

What would you do if you actually succeeded?

Oh my!

I don't often think of succeeding in things! I tend to WANT success but sabotage it at every opportunity.

Why would that be?

There's that famous speech written for Nelson Mandela years ago that says something along the lines of "We fear our success".

I know I do!

I don't "get" success. Success spawns responsibility I think. It makes you have to live up to a standard and quite frankly, I don't do ANYTHING I'm expected or obliged to do by imposition.

So - I self sabotage a lot. In my thinking, my attitudes and my desires.

I do not ever trust my intuition and second-guess it with rational thought superimposed over the top of the intuitive knowledge and get exactly the opposite of what I wanted or intended every time. I just do not believe I'm entitled to success I guess!

It is likely its a heap more complicated than that even. Success is HARD. It is! Just look at those shiny, beautiful actors and actresses that strut the worlds red carpets. Look at the sleek lines of any marathon runner or elite athlete and think about how hard they had to work to achieve that success.

Success means having to sacrifice a lot in order to get to where you want to go. It means having to slog it out on the coldest of winters and the hottest of summers and still you plod on indefatigably never ever letting yourself doubt you will get what you want in the end!

That's a really tough gig.

I tend to think success is something you just get handed to you without a lot of effort. That its a lottery of sorts that doesn't come with hard work, blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of committment to the long haul process of achievement.

If I believe something hard enough I turn on a switch inside my head that suggests ever so subtly, that I'm being an idiot to want/believe/or hope for such a thing!

Its like I have this inner core of extreme cynic within that refuses to allow any chance for tasting success.

When I was a child, my mum used to occasionally purchase sweet biscuits - or even better, cooking chocolate pieces and put them into the pantry. We kids would plead once or twice for a handful to indulge ourselves on after school but the answer was usually the same "No! They're just for looking at!".

I think I've approached success from this angle ever since. Success is something you can only look at like those choc bits in the pantry - but it is not for tasting or having because you don't really deserve or need it.

How foolish!

How indefensible it is of me to deny myself the ability to taste and want success! Success is equal to and as equitable as Failure!

Now there's a statement worthy of debate.

How can Success be equal to Failure?

They are part of the same coin, just one face lands up and the other lands down. The odds on which will be which are most likely out of our control on the day. The fact is...both success AND failure travel in the same direction just as when a coin thrown or rolled along the ground, both faces - each very different and polar to the other - travel in the same direction.

I tend to bet on failure being the one with the most odds counting towards it. Stupid of me really. Success is likely to have pretty similar odds. Unless the coin is weighted and you're cheating... you get either failure or you get success.

The thing is...I understand and accept and even welcome failure! Failure seems so familiar and friendly as to be like a good pair of jeans you know you can just fit into even on "fat" days! Success always feels like its alien and uncomfortable somehow, like new leather shoes that are a bit pinchy on the little toe.

Its just perspective!

I CAN switch the two around to make success into the Jeans and the Failure into those new shoes.

But...will I?

If I succeed and get what I want - am I prepared to follow through with the consequences?

Ah! the rubber hits the road doesn't it? Success can be every bit as painful and as shockingly hard to manage as failure. Failure can be easy - you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, have a wee cry and start all over again. Success though - what the hell do you DO afterwards?

I obviously need some success experience to find out yeah?

Addendum: I came back after letting this post sit for a bit. I do feel as if I'm onto something with this idea of success and failure being two faces of the same coin in a way! But something bothered me about that too like I hadn't really dived deep enough into the conundrum of why I tend to view failure as my lot rather than accepting both as equal and available outcomes.

Then I realised what it was I was aiming for here.

No Expectations!

THAT is what I need to cultivate when I set goals, or dream visions or have aspirations for something I want and desire!

I need to develop the high-wire act of having no expectations on the outcome! Accepting either success or failure is what is at stake not craving one at the expense of the other or expecting one over the other.

The key then to any plan is to plan to succeed sure... but ... to actually develop within the character and soul of ones being an attitude of having No Expectations on the actual outcome. Then you can't be disappointed and nor can Success ruin you! You simply win or lose and it doesn't matter what comes afterwards because you'll adjust when you get there.

No Expectations!

Yeah! I know it ... can I do it? Let's try shall we?


Steve said...

you ARE already successful. Start there and appreciate it. A sperm and an egg, nine months of gestation and a birth. YOU MADE IT! The greatest gift has been given to you, life. Noting else compares... climb the highest mountain... sing the winning song...nah. In success it al starts with appreciation.

Living Villages Cohousing said...

Hi Michelle
How do you know when you have succeeded. Are we expecting too much to think we can recognize success?

I prefer to not recognize failure.