Yesterday I spoke with Wayne Dyer on a podcast. The guy has sold over 100 million books, he’s just like JK Rowling only times five. And instead of being about a boy magician, all his books are about how people can find their own self-reliance in a world that tries every day to imprison them.
There was one thing he said about success that really stuck with me. We spoke for about an hour, and while he was in Hawaii, relaxing and looking at the beautiful ocean, I was in the middle of a damn blizzard here. And while we where at it, I thought of telling him that the situation I was in sucked, in comparison to his – enjoying life to fullest while I was in a human freezer, but it was after all, the situation we where in.
Anyways we kept on talking, and he told me there were three ways people typically find success. Where success is not necessarily “financial” or the achievement of a specific and mythical goal. No, success is an ongoing theme of motivation and improvement in one’s life. An ongoing theme of peace and appreciation for the current moment (“we are always right now”) rather than always chasing for happiness in some far off distant moment beyond the horizon. So he laid down the three common ways of finding success, here they are.
SUCCESS THROUGH SUFFERING
We all have periods of our life in the past where we’ve hit a ditch. Where things seem so bad they couldn’t possibly get any worse. Now I’ve written about some of my own moments a bunch of time – when I was dead broke after building businesses and making millions. When I lost my house. When I lost my marriage. And on it goes. During those times I didn’t see any good that could come out of any of it. I was beaten. I was broken.
You see Wayne said that some people go through life saying, “Why me?” or “Why does this always happen to me?” Or they use these periods of suffering to develop excuses why they can’t move further in life now. This is bullshit! Other people, he said, learn to appreciate these past moments and say, “if not for the lessons I learned when I was suffering, I wouldn’t be here right now, enjoying the life I have right this very second.” That is the first path to success (or “enlightenment” as he said but I think “success” is a good word as well as long as you take away the pure monetary connotations that word is sometimes conflated with).
SUCCESS THROUGH OUTCOME
Every obstacle can either block us from continuing on the path, or can be a way we can learn to grow by moving past the obstacle.The good thing is: we get to CHOOSE. Every step of the way, we get to choose if we let obstacles stop us or if we use them to learn, to develop skill-sets to move around the obstacles, and to develop a mindset that obstacles are to be welcomed as opportunities for growth and learning.
Let me hit you up with an example: Today it snowed like there was no tomorrow in the Northeast and I had important meetings in the city to attend. But due to the freaking blizzard I had to cancel them all. Instead, I got to read, rest, write this post, write other posts and work on rewrites for my next book. Things move on. Not that I am so glad I don’t blame the weather, and curse the snow, and hate the cold, sometimes I do. I wish I were in Hawaii. But I’m not, life moves on.
SUCCESS THROUGH PURPOSE
You don’t have to know what your purpose is, and it’s not like it’s written on some tablet 500,000 years ago: my purpose is to write a bunch of blogs and fail miserably at some businesses, tough luck. We have to start living life as if there is a higher purpose guiding you. Your brain, which is a tiny part of who we are, doesn’t have to know what your purpose is. Think of the brain as a raft, and we are on top of the raft guiding it through both stormy weathers and calm.
Knowing that our preparation, and here is where I will bring in the daily practice I often write about: physical health, emotional health (being ONLY around people who you love, who you respect, who respect you), mental health (constantly working on your idea muscle), and spiritual health (ABG – always be grateful) – this will be a guarantee that you will ride out your purpose in this life.
I have no plan. But I know that today I will follow my own guidelines to have a peaceful and purposeful life. If I follow my daily practice I trust that no matter what happens, I will ride through it safely and come out better on the other side.