We talk about success as though itís an event or a thing. We refer to people wearing "the badges of success", and carrying around (or wearing or driving) the latest status symbol.
But success is not a thing Ė it is a way of being in the world.
You can have all the riches in the world, and still feel like a failure if you aren't following your life's true purpose. This is a special kind of stress.
Or you might have nothing but the clothes you stand in and feel like the biggest success in the world... if you are following your heart. And that is a very special kind of 'Bliss'.
Day after day you may struggle through your to-do list or Objectives Project Plan, cross off most of the big items, and maybe even feel like you have had a successful day.
But are you barking up the wrong tree? A successfully completed task doesnít mean a thing if it isnít taking you nearer your true life goals by following your heart.
So what does it mean to follow the heart?
One way of looking at this is to ask yourself "Where do I get approval from? Is it from inside of me, or from others?"
"Where do I find satisfaction? Do I find it in things and other people, or in the silence I find inside myself?"
These are difficult questions. It may be that you cannot even think of a time when you experienced silence within. That may be because you are too busy chasing after things that make too much noise!
There is nothing 'deadly serious' in the act of looking for inner silence. In fact, it leads to more fun, not less. More delight, not more depression or burn-out. And it leads to more success. Because the strength you take from inner silence restores the ability to see what is truly valuable. Friendship, love, compassion and commitment to something bigger than oneself.
Imagine yourself on your death-bed, if that isnít too depressing! What will you look back on as the successes in your life? When was the point at which you redefined success and failure, and realised that the only real yardstick is within you?
Success is not an event. Success is an attitude.
Let Victor Frankl have the last word on success. Frankl was a great psychotherapist who forged his theories and practice under the most extreme form of stress: as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps.
"Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensueÖ as the unattained side effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself."