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Tag: success

I think you think I think

When do I think I’m happy? When society has watched me ‘arrive’ in life. When society thinks that I’m successful.

How does society define this success of mine? Once I get a promotion at work, buy a house, have paid off my loans, take a vacation in Hawaii, maybe sell a million dollar start-up to some VC etc.

Jay Shetty in his book Think Like a Monk, drives home a very important point. He quotes a sociologist named Charles Horton Cooley from 1902 thus. “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” I had to read this a couple of times to let it sink in.

What he’s saying is what we all know. But it’s still so powerful. Society is not defining my success. It is me who is giving society a moving goalpost to evaluate me. Society couldn’t care less if I got one promotion or three. But my folly lies in thinking that society cares.

As my Guru asks often, “Do you even remember what shirt your friend wore a few days ago? What they ate 5 days ago? What they said 15 days ago?” No one remembers anything, except when it is relevant to themselves. No one is thinking about us, let alone about the metrics for our success. Let us live by our own scorecards. This will elevate our happiness and bring down stress and anxiety.

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Right arrows

The relationship we are all used to:

Hard work   ---->   Success   ---->   Happiness

The relationship suggested in our scriptures:

Gratitude   ---->   Happiness   ---->  Hard work   ---->   Success

Which of these do you feel is more sustainable? Which is easier to practise?

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In reverse

Enjoy your work, then you will love your job
Enjoy your workout, then you will love your body
Enjoy your food habits, then you will love your food
Enjoy your own company, then you will love your partner
Enjoy your moments, then you will love your day
Enjoy your connection, then you will love your family and friends
Enjoy your lifestyle, then you will love your life
Enjoy your happiness, then you will love your success

But we usually have all these backwards. We do! Check again. For instance, we let our jobs decide if we will enjoy our work. Or we look at our unshapely bodies and end up despising workouts. And so on.

Thus there is no happiness.

In reality, we already have everything we need. We just need to bring the enjoyment to the here and now. It is only a mindset shift.

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Inner peace, or pieces?

A news item caught my eye. It was about one of my favourite Hollywood actors. He is known for some amazing gangster movies that achieved cult status. He has apparently sought to reduce alimony payments to his ex-wife from US$ 100k to US$ 50k. Per month! This is more than most earn in a year or three.

It seems the coronavirus pandemic has damaged some of his investments in the hospitality sector. His net worth is still estimated at around US$ 500m! Needless to say, there are counter-cases and allegations from the other party.

By all conventional metrics, he is super successful. But is he happy? Who knows! But would a 75 year old rather chill in peace? Or be fighting cases in court?

Spirituality teaches us that peace is happiness. There is no mention of bank balance. Only mental and emotional balance.

Seek peace. Or make it. Happiness will come running.

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PR skills 2.0

Successful people say that PR (public relations) skills are vital.

Research suggests that the contribution of technical skills to success is only ~15%, while ~85% of success comes from the increased ability to deal with people.

This is sequential though. Having only the 85% PR skills may not be enough, if the technical skills are lacking. So the 85% must be built on top of the 15%.

There is another type of PR skill that is crucial… for happiness. The Pause & Reflect skill.

We all know what to change in ourselves, i.e. I need to reduce my anger, my ego, my sarcasm or my stinging tongue. Nothing that needs an IQ of 240 to figure out. But we struggle to control ourselves in the heat of the moment.

What is the difference then between me and a realized soul? Both are living mundane lives, but the latter’s ability to pause and reflect on life’s teachings, and objectively apply these teachings to similar situations in the future – is the clincher.

We can learn from the wise, in order that we become the wise.

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