Our happiness depends on wisdom. Sophocles
What comes to mind when you think of “success?” Most of us go right to the accumulation of stuff, popularity, prominence in business or sports, being admired for some accomplishment, or a host of other similar attributes. Surely the individuals that have developed any of those properties have attained some level of success.
My Misdirected Approach
Personally, I have devoted a good portion of my life focusing on acquiring cars and houses and clothes, in addition to the getting myself in a position where I was needed by several individuals and groups. Although I never thought of it in those terms, that did, indeed, define my goals in life. I felt that if I was that kind of person I would be successful. And success was my ultimate goal.
I longed to be popular and powerful. As a result, I spent a fortune on therapy to remedy my depression and lack of self-respect—indicating that my goals were misplaced. In recent years, as I approach old age, I have discovered that a healthy self-love and a desire to make my world a better place are a much more profitable means for success.
It all began and continues with the pursuit of wisdom: understanding life in terms of character, goodness, and insight. Instead of trying to be important and envied, I am trying to be “good. I realized I was not in tune with God and his intentions for me—intentions that represent the “real me” I was created to be.
First, I must say the pursuit of genuine wisdom is not an easy task. It requires breaking down much of what I have believed most of my life. It’s not that I have been a selfish jerk. I have always tried to be a person of service to others, but my underlying goals were too often selfish. I loved being needed and important. I loved the accolades. I loved (and, honestly, still do) the stuff I could acquire in the process.
The Wisdom Within
The pursuit of wisdom is teaching me differently. Today I search my heart for impurities, but more important, I search my heart for understanding and insight. I believe that you and I are naturally hard-wired to bring good to the world, but the world we live in teaches us differently. We are taught to pursue stuff and positions, without understanding the efforts required to attain those worldly goals are in direct opposition to genuine success.
The genuinely successful person, although self-loving, is nevertheless selfless, promoting peace, understanding and goodness.
In the last three years I have become engaged with a spiritual leader who is helping me understand myself and my life through an entirely new lens, a lens that examines my soul and my innate, God-implanted, desires for goodness and unity.
Her name is Taryn Voget. She is certainly one of the most insightful people I have ever known. Through her guidance I am learning to trust the wisdom that already resides within me. I am learning to follow my heart, not my head, and certainly not to follow our current social narrative that defines success in terms of acquisitions and position.
Finding Your Wisdom Within
I believe that you innately know what is good and right. It’s part of your God-given DNA. The problem is that you have been misled by our culture. All you need are reminders to help you dig deep into your soul, and perhaps a few “prompts” to help get you there.
Here are a few things I do to initiate those reminders and prompts:
- I read age-old philosophy, mainly Stoics, Epicureans, the Tao Te Ching, and the Bible.
- I meditate 20 minutes daily in an attempt to clear my mind of the distractions I face regularly.
- I schedule regular checkups with people I feel have attained a degree of wisdom, people like Taryn.
- I work on “controlling my mind and my thoughts.” The Buddha teaches that control of one’s mind will naturally lead you to Enlightenment and wisdom.
If you resonate with any part of this post, I wish you success in your journey to wisdom and a meaningful life of love, kindness and self-revelation.
Success is Defined by
Demonstrating Your Goodness Within
Photo courtesy of DigtialStorm at istockphoto
NOTE: Taryn is available to all seekers. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.