Okay To Want Success?
Recently I was asked to approach The Shower Team with the question, “Is it ok to want success?” Actually, there was a whole busload of questions related to that one: “How can I rediscover what energizes and enthuses me, and re-find my joy, which has been profoundly absent for years! How can I tap my joy and creativity, know and achieve my fondest desires, and do something to help the world at the same time in a way that feels good to me? How can I break free from these thought traps and self imposed limitations? How can I identify what I really really want, and reclaim my spontaneity, and mental health in the process. How can I get back to the place where I feel that life is delicious, exciting and joyful again?”
In this list of questions that you have posed here there is really one that we are hearing and that is, “How do I feel better about the life that I’m living and live my life so that the living of it feels good to me?”
The best and the simplest answer to these questions within your question is to decide that feeling better—feeling good—feeling “excited and joyful” and “reclaiming your spontaneity” and tapping into your joy and creativity and achieving your fondest desires—deciding that all that matters more to you than anything else.
This is both the easiest and the most difficult thing for most of you to hear, much less do. It is the easiest thing to do because it requires so little from you. Really, all it asks of you is that you make a choice to care more about how you feel than anything else.
It is the most difficult thing for most of you to do because most of you have so effectively trained yourselves to believe that making that choice is the most selfish, most self-centered, least noble, least caring and generally least respectable thing that you can do. It is quite the conundrum. The one thing that any and all of you could do to ensure the joyful life you all say you want—and the one thing that any and all of you can actually do to “make the world a better place”—that lofty ambition that you all seem to hold as the highest objective any human can have—is the one thing that none of you really believe is the right thing to do.
You insist upon your deeply ingrained belief that only by putting everyone and everything ahead of what you most desire, can you achieve a life that is worthy of joy or fulfillment or satisfaction. You insist that you must please everyone but yourselves in order to please yourselves. It’s by far one of your screwiest notions—and one of the ways that you most consistently deprive yourselves of the thing you all say you want most.
You want joy but you believe you must seek it for others and not for yourself. You want satisfaction but you believe you must try to offer it to others rather than to yourself. You want success but you believe you must support others in their efforts to succeed first and foremost—and then hope that somehow along the way of putting others’ desires first, you will eek out a bit of joy or success or satisfaction for yourselves.
You have the hardest time believing that your world could actually thrive beyond your wildest dreams if everyone on your planet decided that nothing mattered more to each and every one of you than to feel as good as possible about the life that you’re living. And yet we promise you, that such a world would come closer to the “paradise” . . . the ‘heaven on Earth’ that you all like to talk about so much, than anything you’ve seen.
“Is it okay to want success?” you ask—and in the very asking of such a question you poignantly illustrate why success is so elusive for so many of you. You’ve learned so well that it’s only okay to really want it for others. You’ve learned so well that it can’t possibly be a good thing to want it for yourself—to choose it for yourself . . . much less to make it your number one priority.
Until you can find your way to an understanding of the way that your own joy serves not only you, but everyone around you . . . serves not only your immediate circle of influence but your entire planet . . . until you can recognize the gift that you give to others by living your own life as joyfully, as spontaneously, as creatively, as abundantly, as successfully as you possibly can . . . you will continue to wonder if it’s okay for you to have what your heart most desires . . . and you will continue to hold yourself from the fullest expression of those desires.
Our question to you is, who does this serve? Why deprive not only yourself of this joy, this success, this glorious expansion of yourself . . . but also those who will surely benefit along with you?
So . . . what I’m hearing is that, my success might actually be good for others? My joy might even serve others? Dare I say, that my choosing to be happy, might actually be the best way for me to benefit others?
Blasphemy? It’s not the first time I’ve been called a heretic. At the very least, it’s a radically different notion of what being a ‘successful’ human being means. My friend who asked these questions and I are, no doubt, not the only ones struggling to get a grip on some of this. Believing that choosing my joy above all else is the best choice I can make surely is easier said than done. If nothing else, it might prove to be quite the spin on the usual story our lives seem to be telling. It also might have the makings of one heck of a surprise happy ending.