Warning: naughty language ahead.
I’m starting to think that the secret to success is in the acknowledgment and abandonment of bull shit; that as we grow older and experience more, we see that common beliefs are often disguised as meaningless misconceptions.
The glamour that surrounds the term “success” can prove itself to be unbearable, as we begin to see that the thing that holds us back the most from achieving “success” at all is in fact our obsession with it.
The hidden treasure within this seven-letter word cannot be measured by external sources; that is what I have deemed phony, dispensable, bull shit. The golden rule of success is that it comes organically, as self-compassion begins to exceed self-deprication. Suddenly, the only thing that matters is happiness, and instead of saying, “I’ll be happy when I’m successful,” I begin to say, “The happier I am, the greater personal success I will experience.”
I’ve always dreamed of success—the bull shit kind.
Success on top of the podium; success in the big city with a thriving career, Prada bag in hand, Louboutin shoes on my feet. I’ve viewed success through the eyes of those around me; as if what others perceived of me was more important than how I saw myself. There was a time when I truly thought that my “personal success” depended on the envy others felt toward me; “Isn’t she lucky?” “Look at how cool her life is.” “I wish I could do that.”
Two words: bull shit.
Yes, I just openly admitted that when it comes to being happy, I have been codependent on other’s perceptions of me and my big, shiny accomplishments, sparkling with gold. The more I cared about achieving this kind of success, the less adequate and accomplished I actually started to feel. In my ongoing search for “success,” I began to lose sight of what really matters: me, myself, and my happiness.
If I were an artist, I could draw a clear and vivid picture of this realm of success that no longer exists in my head.
All of the things that I made matter over the years suddenly lack significance; after all, as fleeting moments pass by and as time continues to move at a more rapid pace than I ever thought possible, I can finally ask myself: What is it that I’m searching for?
The search for success is nothing but a struggle, and I’m really sick of struggling.
Today, success is quite simple.
I don’t have an elaborate drawing for what it looks like and it certainly cannot be calculated by measurable results. It’s not about the glamour, as much as it is about the truth. The greatest success of all is the art of happiness, and like any great work of art, happiness looks and feels different to everyone.
As I find myself journeying through my 20s (which, by the way, no one told me would be so confusing and not over-the-top-wonderful), I am starting to see that what matters most is having the courage, audacity and strength to see beyond the surface of success; to start nourishing the soul by first getting real with it, even if this means getting a little messy.
Getting real means giving up the act and dropping the ego—saying goodbye to bull shit and hello to bliss, by dropping what we know to be “right” and finding what we feel to be true.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Damian Morys Photography/Flickr