We all have hopes, wants and dreams. We long to one day become truly successful and to finally "make it". We want to finally become noticed and recognized for doing something great. To stand on that world stage and take a bow while thinking, "Man I am freaking awesome". Sometimes success can become the only thing we think about, talk about, and focus on. I know I've been there. The reality is, obsessing over 'how to get that next job', 'whose style should I replicate', or 'how can I strategically build my career', can actually be the thing that keeps success from ever coming.
Success is like Happiness
Despite what overly energetic motivational speakers may tell you, you can't simply make yourself be happy. Your emotions come and go and sometimes you will feel happy and sometimes you will feel like ish. That's just a fact of life. You can't force happiness. It just doesn't work that way. If you seek happiness by trying to make yourself feel happy, you won't feel much, and in fact you will probably feel pretty miserable. (Go ask the drug addict a few blocks over how forced happiness is doing for him.) No es bueno homie. Happiness isn't a switch that can be turned on or off, it is a byproduct of something else, of something bigger than yourself. Success is the same.
Success can't be forced. The more you focus on it, dwell on it, seek it, and try and build it, the more you will discover that it is always out of reach and that you are consistently unsatisfied and unhappy with your achievements. The moment you let go of the illusion that you can force success if you only try hard enough, something amazing will start to happen. When people begin to live passionately and consciously and stop worrying about achieving something in the future, almost as if magic success starts to come their way. In the moments that you simply open yourself up to enjoying life's journey, embracing whatever comes your way, you will discover happiness. In these moments success becomes a gift, not an accomplishment. Are you feeling these zen vibes?
Don't Aim At Success
Victor Frankl, a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, went through more heartache and pain than many of us can even imagine. He later wrote about his experiences and what he gained from facing such difficulty. He wrote,
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
It all boils down to a simple concept. You want to be more creative? Help others cultivate their creativity! You want love from people? Love people! You want more money? Help others make some freaking money! You want more opportunities in your career? Help others to become noticed and given opportunity.
You want success? Help others become successful. Spend each day doing what you love and truly living a passionate and conscious life and the rest will work itself out. By finding a purpose or a cause greater than yourself you will also find success.
As creatives we have been given talents and abilities to make a HUGE difference in the world. When we dedicate ourselves to something big and use our talents for good success will become the unintended byproduct. It's karma fools.