Path to Success
To pave a path to success, to create a success road map, we need to ask, “What does success look like?”
Here’s the answer:
Success is subjective.
Modern society gives us a path to success at birth, with parents, teachers, politicians, and corporations nurturing the way to a vague and generic goal we call “success,” dubiously defined as the attainment of prosperity.
The implication is that we all want the same thing and it’s measured in residential square footage and digits on a bank balance. But how can this be true when we see so many “successful” people having the same problems as those considered not as successful? A-list movie stars in rehab are an example of this.
I’ve personally witnessed multimillionaires having nervous break- downs, addicted to antidepressants, and in some cases I’ve seen their destruction.
Is that a path to success?!
I have built and sold million-dollar companies, lived in million-dollar homes, and at one point in my life I simultaneously owned an Aston Martin car, an airplane, and a thirty-five-foot yacht. At that time I experienced deep unhappiness, not necessarily because I was so “successful,” but rather because, from a personal happiness point of view, I was no better off than when I was not successful.
Is that a path to success?!
Conversely, I’ve shaken hands with people literally living in gutters in Thailand who appeared to be the most intrinsically happy people I’ve ever met. Something is wrong with this picture when framed by the common idea that we all must shoot for this generic path to success and recent surveys perhaps explain why: the level of personal satisfaction increases proportionately with annual income only up to $50–70,000 and then plateaus.
Happiness is our common goal, not success.
Success is incorrectly perceived as a means to that end (for most people, anyway, as you shall see). A person who sets a path to success, surely assumes that the end result is happiness, or what would be the point of the goal?
But even if we are able to rebel against our nurtured programming of striving for success and to strive for happiness instead, we aren’t much better off because it leaves us with the perpetually elusive task of finding happiness, defined as a sense of contentment with life. At least “success” is something one can begin to create a path to, so it’s hardly surprising we default to this goal instead.
Modern medicine attempts to define happiness as something directly proportionate to serotonin levels in the brain, and so considers brain-chemistry-altering drugs, such as antidepressants, to be the solution. Putting the known side effects of drugs to one side, we all sense human happiness to be something more than a pill can provide. To simply cross out the “bitter” in “bittersweet” seems childish, even inhumane, and our gut knows it.
We spend vast mental resources asking what the meaning of life is, as if knowing the answer will make us happy, but the question is never answered. There is only meaning to you and your place in The Universe.
If I were now able to prove to you that the meaning of life is an invisible cat that rests our planet on its head, what could you do with that information (apart from being kinder to cats)? What’s the meaning of a flower?
There is no meaning; it just is.
The only “meaning of life” that has any pointed utility is the kind that’s specific to you, the kind of path to success I will lay out for you and that ultimately contributes to a universal meaning of life. We must stop looking for an external answer to all our problems and instead look in the mirror at what simply is, and let The Universe unfold according to its natural design and the life map it has uncannily built into each of us. There is where you will find this elusive “sense of contentment with life” defined as happiness, the ultimate goal of all humans.
There is your path to success.
To find The Answer, I had to ask the right question. After peaking early as an airline captain at twenty-nine years old, I started businesses, traded financial markets, and invested in real estate. I then passed on my experiences to others through the self-improvement industry, and that’s where I’ve fought on the front lines for the past twenty years. So it’s been most of my life’s work to attempt to define happiness, because teaching something effectively forces one to bottle it into a formula anyone can access.
It’s one thing to teach the principles of happiness, but it’s another to instill the practice. The student often unconsciously rejects an ideological implant because inception of the idea is not organically of the student’s nature.
A great deal of self-improvement material of every subgenre, be it success/happiness/diet/relationships/etc., requires the student to change their nature, effectively asking a leopard to change its spots. No wonder, then, why New Year’s resolutions fade, gym memberships are forsaken, and self-improvement books are enjoyed but forgotten. It’s an attempt to build skyscrapers on sand.
This was a frustrating reality for me, someone who made it his goal in life to help people get what they want. I grew weary of taking horses to water, nay (pardon the pun), of grabbing the horse’s mane and thrusting its snout into the water but not having it drink. Clearly, the horse preferred a different beverage. After this revelation, after I looked in the mirror, I found the answer, and it’s changed my life forever, on all levels, including how I teach the subject of happiness.
Different beverages for different “horses” are the key to creating a path to success. It’s not about about the path to success society wants for you or what has been nurtured into you, it’s about what your specific nature already has mapped out for you, the success road map you were clutching at the second of your conception.
No matter what your parents and teachers said you were and what you would or should become, your optimal success path through life was premade by an indomitable force that, once recognized and energized, automatically and totally overrides nurturing. I’m not talking about some specific fortune-told event, I’m talking about a success road map, a means of navigation with a set range of options best suited to your needs.
Success is subjective, and its definition varies wildly from one individual to the next. The societal map is a round hole, and you are a peg that is one of several shapes, some of them round, but most are not.
Generality has been the roadblock on our path to happiness. “Everyone benefits from meditation.” Some people do. “Everyone wants to be rich and successful.” Some people do. “Every man needs a career.” Some men do. “Everyone needs to be beautiful.” Some people do. “Every woman needs to be a wife/ mother.” Some women do. “Every woman should have a career.” Some women should.
By the same principle, your opinion of what other people’s paths to success should be is as irrelevant, arrogant, and hopeless as society’s because it’s baked into other people’s nature. This principle is why Dale Carnegie was so correct to say, “Nobody wins an argument,” in How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is powerful in the peace it brings you because personal suffering partially ends when you stop arguing with other people’s unchangeable nature, you stop giving piggyback rides to scorpions, and you instead celebrate our invisible diversity.
“Know thyself ” is the most resonant, and ancient piece of advice ever given, the instruction is practically welded into our genes, beckoning us to each heroically embark on the ultimate and inevitable journey within. Don’t change who you are; awaken to it. You can accomplish anything, but there’s only one thing you should, and I will explain how this one thing is encoded into your nature at the links below.