Everybody starts out on the path of success for everyone starts out seeking something in life. Unfortunately for many, their seeking ends in failure. They might start out with gusto and passion but fail because they didn’t balance the passion with knowledge. Today, too many people believe that if they can visualize success, they will have it. But what they don’t realize is that they will fail if they don’t take the required steps in learning about the path they are setting upon. You can have a boat and a desire to sail to Lihue, Hawaii, but if you don’t know how to sail or navigate, you won’t get there.
On the other hand, some people know how to reach a goal, but lack the motivation. Without motivation, there is lack of required action. So the key is to develop both attributes, and to draw from both as you journey on your path.
The image of a bull in a china shop comes to mind. The bull has a lot of energy but no knowledge of self control. Think of a wealthy man who wants desperately to drive a race car in a major racing competition. He has the enthusiasm and the money, but he has no experience or knowledge about racing. He will most likely crash and he definitely won’t succeed. Enthusiasm needs to be tempered with patience, for it takes time to acquire knowledge.
As I mentioned in my article about setting goals, success is only success if it furthers one on the path to the ultimate goal. It has no real meaning other than that. It’s like reaching the city where you want to spend the first night of a three day road trip. It gives you encouragement and confidence that you will reach your ultimate goal on schedule. You might even call home and tell your spouse that you made it 500 miles. But you don’t rest on your laurels. You move on. You don’t lose sight of where you are heading. Only then can you have true success.
On the other hand, if you don’t reach the goal, in this case 500 miles, you will lose confidence that you will reach your ultimate goal in a timely manner. When people have a failure, it lodges in the mind. When they experience numerous failures, it can start to become part of the ego’s identity. This robs people of their confidence. And with the loss of confidence there is also the loss of passion. For who can be passionate about something if they are convinced they are going to fail?
These are the people who drop out of high school or college. They have had too many failures. They lose faith in themselves. This is also the case of many suicide victims. They just became too worn down by life.
But often times, people succeed in reaching a preliminary goal and lose site of the ultimate goal. This is the real failure of life. It’s called blind ambition. The ambition blinds them to the ultimate life purpose. As Jung said, “the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”
It is this loss of this purpose that creates the failure of spirit. But the tragedy of it is that the person has no idea that he or she failed. From outward appearances they see only success, but it’s like getting on the wrong flight. You might be sitting in first class, drinking champagne, but you’re heading to the wrong city. Even in First Class, that is not the path to success. Reaching our goals in a timely manner is success, and that is success only as long as we keep the ultimate goal in view.
So we have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. However, what often happens is that we become intoxicated with our success and forget to complete the journey. And what is the journey? It is the journey to self-realization, to wholeness, to become one with the source of our being. To discover ourselves as light. Even if we don’t reach it in the course of this lifetime, at least we can make progress towards it. Without this goal of journeying towards wholeness, we would never have been born. After all, we are spiritual beings.
So as we set out in our adventures in life, in whatever career we choose, we need to keep the final goal ever in mind. The path of success we choose is not only a path to earn money, but also a path to the soul’s expression. It’s a way we can serve others, to add a little light to the world. As long as we remember this, we hold onto our humanity and our spirituality. When we forget it, we are holding on to nothing but an illusion that ends in death and loss.