Self examination is a constant work of looking at the assumptions I hold and questioning their validity.
As far as I have found one of the richest fields for exploration in this way is language. The language we hold & use shapes the reality we experience. That then feeds back into how we carry ourselves through reality, which then affects our experience. It’s a vicious/virtuous feedback cycle that we all seem to spend most of our waking hours in.
One set of the scripts that runs on this operating system of language has to do with evaluating our current situation and projecting into the future what it may mean. Specifically I am thinking of the idea of “being a success.”
When I look at that phrase in my own system, what come forward is images of plentiful possessions, money, a cool car, and flights to exotic places. These images of what it means to “be a success” sit in the backdrop of my system and inform many of the decisions, judgments, and plans I make.
Bringing that set of images forward, I see how terribly deficient they are.
This view of success (which seems endemic to our Western cultural system) ties success to basically one thing – money.
Once I take a look at it, I see how limiting this view is, and how blatantly wrong it is.
An artist is not a success when they get paid for a piece. An artist is a success when someone is struck to the core by one of their works and opens to a different view than the one they are normally stuck in.
A poet is not a success when they receive a check for their work appearing in a magazine. A poet is a success when some person hears deeply the meaning between their words and shifts into dancing to a different tune.
A physician is not a success when they get appointed to the board of a major hospital, along with a huge raise. They are a success when the relieve someone of a life threatening disease.
Success is a measure relative to the effort being measured, the reasons for that effort, and the impact on the well being (not wealth being) of those affected.
Anything less is sloppy evaluation at best, and a disastrous diversion at worse.
Those are my thoughts on the matter anyways. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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