Which way to success?

I am succeeding just by being on this journey – Tama Kieves

We hear in many different quotes about how the journey is more important than the destination (see my explorations on 24th September on this subject). It is often repeated not just because it’s true, but because we need constant reminding of it; that it’s not a race to the end. The end is our passing, so what’s the hurry? You don’t get a final score at any stage and if you took a mental snapshot of your life at any time to see if you were happy with it – kids, relationships, money, health, fame – for example, what would you then do with that information? Would it change your mood to happy or sad? It’s just a story, your own judgement of your own criteria. Whatever power is has is what it gives you.

This ‘quote’, which I read in Tama’s new book, Inspired and Unstoppable (book review to come) speaks to me because I was/am currently on a particular journey to quell the hunger in me. I couldn’t name that hunger exactly. It was a hunger to ‘succeed’ and with all the books I’ve read, I know that I need to define what success means to me if ever I am to get it. But that definition is written in sand with a stick at the water’s edge and has to keep being redefined. Until I finally got it, as Tama did. ‘I am succeeding just by being on this journey’. By allowing myself to follow my DNA, my passion, my heart’s desire – to connect with others – I am succeeding.

Today I would define success as waking up at 5.30am every morning and reading, but then leaping out of bed because I can’t help myself, even if it’s cold and dark, and rushing over to the computer to look up something, or write something or check my stats for the blog (which is only in the last 8 days as I didn’t get any views before then, so thank heaps to the 15 followers!).

Success is waking up and busting to start your day, whatever it is you’re doing. I am going to work of course and by western standards I am no success there, in an entry level job, but it is still a success because I enjoy it.

Tama explains about feeling like a misfit (the tune from ‘There once was an ugly duckling’ keeps going round my head this morning). I think we all feel like a misfit in some way.  I really do! Tama talks about this hunger and energy to do something, which leaves the contented others scratching their heads. I get it. I have this hunger. I see the hunger as a source of joy as I keep enjoying trying to satisfy it, with whatever I am drawn to. You can’t get enjoyment from anything unless you like it so I am glad that I have so many interests. Far more potential for fun. When you are depressed you have no interests.

It’s OK for me to jump from activity to activity, like a crazy person and not finish anything. It’s OK for me to sit for hours doing a jigsaw puzzle, completely hyperfocused and oblivious to distraction. It’s OK to do anything at all! We are all OK. I am succeeding because I am following my own path and accepting it.

How do we not succeed, not be on a journey? We don’t. We are all on one whether we like it on not. So we are a success. We can be successful at acting, singing, being a parent; or successful at losing our money as a gambler, or our looks to anorexia. We succeed at whatever it is that we put our focus on. That part of our lives thrives in some way. The outcome may not always be something you think you want, but you are doing it for a reason, even drugs.

I think Tama was referring to her personal hunger to be rich, famous and recognised but I think she then came to realise that she had already succeeded because she allowed herself to admit her need to herself and others without flinching, and to chase it unabashedly. She accepted herself, which is what I keep coming back to. There is a place for everyone, there is a tribe for everyone and just by turning on your computer each day and seeking out anything new, personal and of interest to you, your journey is proceeding in the direction of your choice.  No one else’s.  It’s a little mirror to your soul.

My taking up blogging recently is both the catalyst and the byproduct of succeeding. It fulfills a need I have always had for seeking connection with others. I am lucky that blogging exists and that I finally found it. Your reading blogs (or any kind of information seeking and learning) is also the catalyst to and the byproduct of your succeeding. You are choosing to enrich your mind on a subject that interests you; you are taking time and allowing yourself to enjoy what works for you, and to clarify and confirm what you probably already know. You are being the authentic you, on your authentic journey.




Needlessly Happy

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

Unknown Author

Today I am a staggeringly rich man. Only I am not a man and I do not have a huge bank account. But according to this quote, I am a billionaire. I am so happy, that as my undiscovered artist friend Leanne Wilkes says ‘Sometimes Stella has so much love that she could hug the world’. Leanne has a beautiful sketch to go with that but I don’t know how to put up pictures so all I can do is link to another image of her cartoon character Stella having the completely opposite day to mine today.


So why today? And how can I capture this feeling, put it in a bottle and take a large spoonful whenever I need it? I am having one of those days where you are so excited that you start ‘spinning’. You know, where you start to walk towards one corner of the room to make a coffee, say, but then you think, ‘Oh I will just wipe down that sticky surface’ and as you go to find a cloth you find yourself turning again to go do something else, until you end up literally turning on the spot with a huge smile on your face? That is the best feeling. You are enthusiastic for everything, even cleaning!! I have so much to do and I really want to do everything. I don’t even know where to start. I realise this is as good as it gets. Life does not get any better than this. Joy is Now. This is all I could ever hope for in life. Having billions and getting to meet Barbara Sher could not even improve on this mood. If I felt like this every day, you’d probably buy me one of those awfully long sleeved, tight fitting white jackets that only do up at the back. I have actually arrived at that fabled destination somehow without passing go and without enjoying the journey along the way, and I wish I had the coordinates on my GPS to work out how on earth this happened!

It doesn’t happen everyday. I don’t take drugs (or smoke or drink) and I have not eaten anything special. In fact I forgot to eat until 11am today which was so unlike me that I can’t ever remember doing that before. Everything seems to be falling into place for me and yet nothing in particular has. I have the same financial obligations, house and garden chores; everything that can stress me when I am in the wrong frame of mind but today it’s not wrong. It’s all right! It’s the opposite of getting out of bed on the wrong side. So I remembered this quote and sought it out on the internet instead of finding a quote in my calendar and forcing myself to examine it for its inherent wisdom.

Therefore today’s post may be a bit different but I am still looking for answers. Capture this feeling, examine it, be able to recreate it, Emma!! I know from experience that feelings are like quick sand. You can cup the sand in your hands, and do things to hold on as long as possible but one by one the grains slip through your fingers and get replaced with new feelings. Life would be boring if they didn’t and we wouldn’t be able to know just how good a good day was unless we referenced it to a bad one. So that’s OK but I can’t help being greedy.

One piece of advice I found when I was looking for answers to my depression a few years ago, was to keep a journal of when you were happy, and not just when you were sad. You had to write out exactly what you were feeling, what had happened to make you so happy, what you had just done that day etc. It was good advice and I still have some of those journal entries. The objective wasn’t to recreate exactly what you had done that day (and today all I did was wake up and read for a bit in bed), though it could certainly help because we all forget what makes us happy. The reason to write it down was to read it again when you were sad to remind yourself that you would be happy again. This too shall pass. And knowing and believing that I wouldn’t always be depressed was the best comfort ever!!  When you are depressed you somehow think ‘this is it, this is all I have to look forward to, more of this’. No wonder people get desperate. I had my ups and downs and still do (the full moon has a lot to answer for) but I observe my moods rather than jump into them. I have not had ‘depression’, nor taken the drugs for them, in 7 years and nor will I need them again now that I ‘self-medicate’ with healthier thinking.

Anyway, I digress. I think the answer for capturing some of that richness, (well happiness really), could be in this quote perhaps.

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

What is the direction, the cause and effect? I am happy as it states because I don’t need anything right now. I need the least and I am therefore ‘rich’. But it also works the other way.  Because I am so happy I then don’t need anything more in my life in order to keep enjoying this happiness.

So how do we make ourselves ‘need the least’ in order to feel rich and happy? I think perhaps I am happiest when I narrow my focus down to my immediate surroundings and activities. Joy is now, here.  I realise for example that I am reading a book in order to be relaxed and happy while I am reading it. I am not reading it to get to the end! There is no special prize for finishing it; in fact I will be sad when I do. By remembering that I get happiness from reading, I enjoy reading it even more.

I feel rich by forgetting or not focusing on the things that I sometimes think I need. I only seem to need an amazing holiday involving hot black stones and Frangipani flowers when I look at a Luxury Travel magazine. I don’t need them today because I can see how happy I am without them and that they could not add anything more to my life.

So what have I learned today from the unknown author?

I have learned that if I take a moment to observe my happy moods and appreciate them while they are here, then in these moments I learn that I truly don’t need anything else in order to be happy. And if I can hang on to that wisdom when I am being tempted by glamorous things I can’t ‘afford’, then I am less likely to think I ‘need’ them in order to be happy.

It is a great mood to learn from yourself in. Get out your pen or computer next time you are happy. It’s a really good investment.