As of late I have listened to a podcast with some highly successful Swedish entrepreneurs. It is both inspiring and fascinating to hear them speak – because just as much as they share relevant principles and understandings – they also share fear-based misconceptions of reality. Whenever I find new information – the principle that I stand by is to take the information that makes sense to me – regardless of the source. I care about the content – not the persona. Hence there is a bit of sifting required.
I realized and was also reminded of a couple of points by listening to the interviews. One point I was reminded of is that there is no objective definition of success. For some people – success is to have a lot of money. For other people – success is to be able to live on the vegetables you have grown yourself. Success is not meant to be one thing – because we are all different. However – one important aspect that we tend to forget implementing into our definitions of SUCCESS is that of GIVING to others. Success is mainly seen through our own individual experiences – however – what kind of success is it when it only impacts ourselves? Real success is when that forward motion can be shared and help empower others as well. And that can be done regardless of our base definition of success. If our definition of success is to make money – then how about showing others how to make money – and make sure that all involved in your success gets a sufficient piece of the cake – SHARE the success with the world. And if our definition is to grow veggies – then how about SHARING the veggies, and showing others how veggies are grown and the pleasure and joy that can be found in such a simple act.
Thus – what has become clearer to me is that success in its limited individual definition is empty. And perhaps that is why many of those that have reached a significant monetary success never feel satisfied – they always strive for more. It is as if there is a deep hole that cannot be filled – and so to avoid seeing and experiencing that hole – they have to constantly move forwards – constant and continuous motion. The hole can then be filled – albeit momentarily – with adrenaline and other chemically induced experiences – such as dopamine. There is a constant and never ending chase for more. The reason for this – as I understand it currently – is because there is a lack of a higher purpose. Especially in the western world we live in tightly structured highly individual bubbles. We have ourselves and maybe a few other people that are really close to us. And our lives circle around gratifying the needs of those few people – and our compassion, our love, aspirations and meaning also many times exist in that isolated zone. And it makes sense that when we do not have any value or meaning to the world – and when the world does not have any value or meaning to us – that we are going to feel empty – because hey – we are actually leaving out the ENTIRE world from our lives.
In comparison – take a look at nature, or the lesser developed countries of Africa, or the clan societies of the middle east. What we can see there is that the individual acts in awareness of his context – and he is connected to that context. A bird for example lives in a balance, harmony and equality with its surroundings. It is specialized to its surroundings and perfectly created to relate, to take, and to give, in that particular environment. It exists in a greater context. And the same is true with lesser developed societies – where the family is still very important. Here the individual exists in the context of his family – and that is what is important. Your life is only as valuable as the value you are able to share with your family – and in turn you receive the same gifts. There is a balance, a equality, a receiving and a sharing – and that gives meaning, context, and equality.
Unfortunately, that type of relationships are mostly gone in the western world. What has replaced our close bonds, or dependency on the family and each other, is the state, the big governmental agencies – the impersonal , cold, bureaucratic and distant treatment – or the monetary institutions – the corporations. And this kind of structure makes it possible for us westerners to create isolated lives where the our individual needs/wants/desires takes the front seat. We have the ability to cut off all relationships and still be able to survive and flourish. Both young and elderly are put into institutions so that our focus and intention can be placed on supporting the system – that in turn – supports us to retain our individual lifestyle. Because without the system – our immediate relationships would take on a completely different meaning. Here retaining the family and our close intimate relationships would become a matter of life and death – and hence our purpose, focus and intention would be to support the family unit – and not that of striving for our own individual success.
Giving oneself a purpose that is based on one’s context and especially as to how one is able to give and share with one’s society/world is however possible even though we in the western world for a long time has been phasing away the notion of contextual/relation-based living. And my experience is that giving oneself a purpose/direction that is based on an assessment as to what is best/needed in relation ALL is far more satisfying than living a isolated individual lifestyle. Actually – I will say that it is only from such a way of approaching life that we are able to experience lasting satisfaction and enjoyment. And this is what modern entrepreneurs and others trying to achieve success tend to forget. We put all our focus on OUR success – without making sure that our success is defined in the context of the world – in the context of what is BEST for everyone.
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