One big question: What makes you feel successful?
Reflect on this question for a couple of minutes and then jot down your response.
If you are like the majority of the population, your response may have included the following:
- Financial abundance
- Healthy and fulfilling relationships and friendships
- A peaceful state of mind
- All of the above
Yet there are numerous people who may have one or all of the above who do not feel truly successful. While these certainly are important aspects of success, the truth is that they are not what people are truly after. There seems to be something else that they are striving for.
The other day, I was watching a documentary on TV about the school that was built by Oprah Winfrey in South Africa. She personally hand-picks girls who come from impoverished backgrounds in nearby villages, who show tremendous potential and an unusual zest for life.
When asked what her main intention is for building the school, Oprah said that she wanted to give these girls access to good education because she believes that is the key to freedom. She believed that getting an education will open the door for more options in their life.
“And that’s what I really want for them – to have options to choose from. To live life on their terms because that’s what true success is about – it’s about having options,” she said.
That comment gave me a breakthrough because I was finally able to understand the essence of success. Genuine success comes from having options to create a life based on our own terms. This explains why the worst punishment (besides death) for breaking the law is locking up a criminal in jail and taking away the privilege of free choice.
Many times, we find ourselves in our own self-perceived “jails” caused by the limitations in our circumstances. We have bills to pay, family obligations, and career pressures to tackle. We get so caught up in day-to-day living that creating a life that we can call our own becomes a luxury.
But whatever restrictions you are facing in your situation, it’s important to know that buried deep within you is a seed of potential that is waiting to grow. The only way to nurture it is by having the courage to believe that you are worthy and capable of having the life that you want. When you nurture this seed by giving these fertile conditions, it will grow in incredible ways.
You must believe that having your ideal life is possible, within your own mind, before you can see it manifest in your reality. Once you do that, your environment will gradually begin to mirror your internal vision as you begin taking action towards making it happen.
This is the biggest challenge that most people face when trying to live life on their own terms, i.e. believing that they can have this life without any guarantee that they will succeed.
Some of the greatest visionaries in history, however, had no problems doing this, despite being steeped in dire circumstances. No matter what challenges lay ahead of them, they were unwavering in their faith.
An excellent example of this is Martin Luther King Jr. He was a powerful leader who worked tirelessly towards the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil obedience. His impact is indelible in world history because of his conviction to build the society he envisioned against all odds. His speech, “I have a dream”, is still considered one of the greatest in history.
It is this kind of passion that will springboard us into taking action towards realizing our dreams. But if you are facing challenges in finding the drive to initiate, there is a good chance that you have hit these three roadblocks:
- You are unclear about what you want: The best way to deal with a lack of clarity is by getting back to our core self and asking ourselves what is most important to us. This will require us to go within and take a look at what we value the most. I highly recommend reading my free E-book “The Fast Track Guide to Turning Your Dreams into Reality”, which has a lot of exercises that will help you in this process.
- You are afraid of what others will say: If you are conscious of what other people might think if you focus on your interests, you will face difficulties in creating a life of your own. There’s no shortage of people who will tell us what to do and what not to do. It is up to us to use our discernment in deciding who is worth listening to. Remember that the only way to be truly happy is by following your own inner counsel.
- You believe that self-sacrifice is a noble act: Many people are raised to believe that self-sacrifice is a noble quality, or that compromising is the way of life. This is especially prevalent amongst women who think that, as the nurturers of a family unit, they need to prioritize the needs of others. Yet it’s important to realize that if we continue to do this, we will eventually burn out and feel resentful. There is nothing selfish about putting our interests first because if we can’t function at our best, we won’t be able to serve others in our highest capacity.
Remember that your life matters and it is your duty to share all that you have to offer to the world. You can only do this if you allow the most authentic part of your being to come out within a fully-expressed life.
Like a star in a magnificent constellation, you can shine bright and be part of the intricate patterns that make up the cosmic whole.
All my best on your journey,
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