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Lately, I’ve been on a quest to understand what it means to be successful and how to find the stamina for it.
I’ve been moving away from self-help books where the narrative is around embracing vulnerability, and I’m more interested in how to have spiritual and mental tenacity, how to find deep strength within. When my focus was only around vulnerability and “feeling my feelings,” I found myself getting lost in a sea of emotions and embracing my most fragile parts (which is incredibly healing and helpful) but it made me forget my inherent strengths. I felt peace, but I wasn’t necessarily moving forward in a practical way.
It was like my mind and heart were in a good place, but the practical demands of life were asking me to show up, wide-eyed and present, but I did not have the energy for it.
I thought to myself, something drastically needs to change. I feel happy, but I’m lost like I’m in some sort of limbo at the same time. How can this be?
So, I started reading one of Napoleon Hill’s books called Think and Grow Rich. I’m a sucker for personal development, even when it sounds as cliché as this book, because let’s face it, no one needs another “How to Win Friends and Influence People” on their bookshelf during a global pandemic. I was recommended this book during a Tony Robins seminar I went to two years ago. It was hailed as the bible to achieve your riches, so I thought I had to see what the hype is about.
Whilst reading the book, I had an aha moment.
I realised that even though I had a strong, intuitive idea of where I would like to be in life, I did not have one “Definite Cheif Aim” as Napoleon Hill calls it. I was so busy working different jobs and being a “jack-of-all-trades” that I had no energy to spend on one thing. I did not concentrate my efforts on one task. I was a generalist rather than being a specialist, as a survival response in order to live and manage the challenges ahead of me, equiped with different tools so I could fend for myself. I felt like I couldn’t escape this capitalistic weight over my shoulders—like I was a cog in the wheel, trying to find a way to stay afloat with my energy scattered across different areas of my life.
This has helped me embrace being versatile and fluid, and to develop different interests, as opposed to staying in a nine-to-five job. But, I wasn’t moving forward. I would frequently feel burnout.
I went from healing to surviving to living to forging ahead, but I wasn’t clear on my aim in life. It was abstract, graphic; I could draw it in my head but I couldn’t tell it to you in words. I’m still trying to find those words. I want them to come from the heart, from the deepest recesses of certainty. I want them to come out like a truth that makes my lungs breathe better, that serves to help everyone else breathe, too.
The more I read on, the more I understood how a lack of a well-defined purpose in life leads to indecision and doubt. Knowledge is only potential power, unless it’s organised into a definite plan of action, and directed to a definite end. Hill’s suggestion is to write out a statement of your major purpose or Definite Chief Aim, commit it to memory, and repeat it, in audible words, day after day, until these vibrations of sound have reached the subconscious mind. This helps us develop the virtue of persistence. And this was exactly the kind of focus and stamina I needed to move forward.
I’m in the process of making time to sit down and find the right words for what my definite chief aim is. Slowly but surely learning more about what I need to do to help me manifest this desire. And the more I think about it, the more I realise this act of thinking about our purpose alone is immensely grounding.
When we have a vivid purpose in our heads and hearts, life begins to feel like the sun rising over the earth. It’s warm, steady, bright, and it feels like a long awaited exhale over the vast landscape of our inner world.