What Is The Secret To Success? A Short Story

Here’s a short story:

“What is the secret of success?” Asked the Sphinx.

Push, said the button.
Take pains, said the window.
Never be led, said the pencil.
Always keep cool, said the ice.
Be up-to-date, said the calendar.
Do business on a tick, said the clock.
Never lose your head, said the barrel.
Do a driving business, said the hammer.
Spend time in reflection, said the mirror.
Aspire to greater things, said the nutmeg.
Never do anything offhand, said the glove.
Trust your stars for success, said the night.
Be sharp in all your dealings, said the knife.
Strive to make a good impression, said the seal.
Turn all things to your advantage, said the lathe.
Make much of small things, said the microscope.
Get a good pull with the rings, said the doorbell.
Make the most of your good points, said the compass.
Never take sides, but be round when you’re wanted, said the bell.

–  A Story from The Sonogram

What Defines Success?

Don’t be pushed into a box of success defined by others. Instead, discover what you are meant to do and pursue that wholeheartedly.

Success, like happiness, is often defined as a spot to get to but this is a false perception. In reality, success emerges from building competency in something we’re really passionate about and achieving progress within it.

That’s it.

We then complicate it by building grand expectations based on the culture and society we adhere too.

Do something you absolutely love and you’ll feel success long before you ever reach an external (or material) definition of it… Although if you’re doing something you truly love you’ll get good at it and material success will likely follow.

How does one seek out their own path?

Not all of us are lucky enough to find a craft we love at a young age. Only the very few will fall upon their path early in life, while the rest of us must experience a variety of what life offers before we discover one. However there are insights that can guide us.

Insight #1 – Look For That Which Pulls

In life, there are interests & goals that you’ll be pushed toward and ones that will call from within. The ones to listen to are those that pull you. Look for interests that you naturally gravitate too.

Insight #2 – Proactively Seek Them Out

Not finding work your passionate about at an early age is no excuse to give up. Keep an open mind and explore new interests you think you might like. Doing this continuously might open up roads you never thought possible.  

There’s an old quote that goes – Opportunity is missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

The same goes for finding work we love. Don’t expect anything to be easy, adversity will come with any walk of life you choose but choosing paths that fulfill you will make all the challenges worthwhile.

Insight #3 – It’s Not Going To Shout

As you seek out a path, social and cultural circles will present confusing and conflicting directions. Don’t expect the internal calling to be a shout, rather, expect subtle nudges in the form of your feelings toward the work and progress.  

Again, being proactive is the best way gain a sense of this. Trial and error is your friend.

Final Notes

We grow up in school which doesn’t do us any favors in this particular area. It means for the first 18 – 25 years of our life we play a game with a well defined guide and rules that, if we follow, will equal success in the context of the game.

This sets the tone for our mentality when we proceed into life but life isn’t school. It’s a wilderness. We go from the structured, organized and predictable environment of school to a chaotic, complex, and uncertain one in life.

It quickly becomes all about survival and the time for exploring curiosities, outside of survival, becomes unfruitful.

But they’re not.

If you can’t find love in what you do or even in an aspect of what you do then it’s worth a lot to keep exploring. Even if it’s in the form of hobbies.

Discovering something that fulfills you is one of life’s primary challenges and achievements in itself. It’s not suppose to be easy, clearly marked, and quick but it’s integral to your journey in personal growth.

The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.

– David Viscott

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