success-is-an-illusion

Success, Our Greatest Illusion | Nothingness is The Goal

What is Success?

Ahh good ole success.

I talk about success a lot. I mean, check facebook, youtube, instagram, and anywhere else. These places are filled with guru’s teaching you how to be successful.

Although, they aren’t. Success implies a finish or end. Quite literally the definition of success is:

The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work.

https://www.wordnik.com/words/success

Achieving something means you have finished it. Yet, success, in the way we view it, is something we have to do but never will be able to.

I’ve talked about this in depth on my article pertaining to fulfillment being the main drive we think success is.

Words, like success, become idealized things that we end up chasing. It’s like a blind tailless dog chasing it’s tail… While, the dog assumes it has a tail, it chases something it will never see or have.

Success operates the same way.

Why Are We Chasing This Illusory Thing?

Illusory is a good word to describe success.

It is an illusion, built upon by the media, and hyped by your neighbors. If you aren’t successful and your neighbors are then, tis tis.

Using a moticon of thought like this, while unpleasant, is a natural human way of finding their self worth. Look to those immediately in your circle, see what they have, and measure it to yourself.

You all will be close in value, because you are close already, but there will be slight differences and deviations that can make you feel worse or better about yourself.

The success continuum derives itself from this on a massive scale.

Imagine waking up every morning and comparing yourself to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerburg, and Superman.

Each comparison of yourself to that person is as illogical as the next (yes, even superman.) You are YOU, meaning you can be the only comparison that you make.

Which is what we need to hear, but what we so often neglect.

Money, Cars, Media, and Hype

Understanding that we are our only competition is also the the downfall of the success paradigm.

Cars, money, women, men, and the hype that surrounds successful people is what we think we want the most. We need the hottest significant other, with the nicest car (until next years model comes out), the most money, and the best looking instagram.

Instagram isn’t real life. Just saying.

These are the easiest ways to suck anyone into wanting something they don’t have and are not.

Because that Saudi prince born into 100 million dollars driving his Lamborghini with champagne and women in the back COULD BE YOU…

It can’t. It never will.

He was created with a predisposition that you don’t have, and never will have. You were created with a predisposition he doesn’t have as well and will never have.

Which leads us to a bit more philosphical look at success…

Are We Actually Chasing Nothing?

Yes.

Well… Nothing is hard to pinpoint, what we seem to be chasing is a state of zen.

Zen is the center of duality, or in otherwords, it contians nothingness. For instance, do you know that feeling when you finally feel grounded standing on the earth, the breeze careeses your skin, and for a second you forget who and where you are?

That’s a simple moment of zen.

It is something that we all chase from one point to another, but it is also something that is logical.

See, humans were not meant to hoard, we were meant to get enough to be comfortable from death, war, famine, etc… Primed to survive.

Survival doesn’t mean thriving, it simply means you have enough to continue to exist. 

The problem is, we’ve become incredibly hoarders mearly working for stuff that we think we want, but that ends up owning us. 

Constantly I hear people talk about how they have too much “stuff” yet the mere mention of getting rid of it seems like an illogical fallacy pulled out of a J.R. Tolken book.

Your stuff should not own you, and if you feel like it is a burden, it is controlling your waking being. 

To have more means nothing, to have more importance means everything. 

Finding Peace in Having Nothing – Minimalism

Bringing us to a concept that I stumbled upon a few years ago.

Minimalism.

Here’s a definition of minimalism:

A school of abstract painting and sculpture that emphasizes extreme simplification of form, as by the use of basic shapes and monochromatic palettes of primary colors, 

https://www.wordnik.com/words/minimalism

While we are not artists (at least I’m not) this is a lexicon for thinking about how minimalism functions.

You have what you need, you make it the utmost quality, and you are happier for that.

Minimalism is taking over the internet right now.

Anthony Ongaro from Break the Twitch was recently on my podcast to discuss it (you can listen to that here.)

Our misconceptions stem from success meaning more, bigger, and better. 

Better yes, but more? Bigger? These are not ideas that we have to put up with.

Minimalism is a way to take that fleeting moment of success and stop it from engorging yourself in things that end up becoming the master’s master.

How to Declutter The Mind and Realign Goals

Which is where our mental clutter comes in. 

With minimalism it makes sense to get rid of the items that you A.) don’t use and b.) don’t care about. These items become an unnecessary burden on space and on you.

Mental minimalism is more so about decluttering the mind.

Which thoughts serve you? Which thoughts don’t serve you? Why do you think negative and terrible things which will never be a good thought?

There is scarcity in scarcity based thought. When we think the worst thing possible, we get scared not to think it because that may bring it much closer to us.

Although, the other possibility is the one that takes hold.

By clearing out the negative thoughts, degrading and changing your mind, and feeling a positive emotion, we start to take back out mind.

We declutter and get rid of the thoughts that held us hostage for so long.

Getting rid of thoughts may seem like one of the most difficult challenges know to humankind… and it is.

To control the mind as we currently know it, is to gauge the speed of an airplane while you travel in it. 

You have no idea.

Which is where, a lovely exercise comes in, and no it need not be traditional meditation like many of you may think.

The Exercise We All Need

How do we root ourself in the ability to want and achieve nothing?

That’s the question that we are going to partially answer.

Mainly, the reason it’s partially answered, lies in the fact that we all have different perceptions of what nothing is and feels like.

For some of us nothing means no stress, no physical stress or mental or material stress. We don’t need to own more, we don’t need to pay off debt, we don’t need to embrace poor thoughts.

Others may quite literally want to feel the feeling of existence without tieing themselves to the physical being.

Start By Practicing Less – Not Nothing

Jumping straight into zen mind (beginner’s mind) or the absence of most thought won’t be to feasible.

Instead, start by practicing having less.

Allow yourself to let go of the items that are a disservice to you, let go of the clients who are a pain in the ass, and the thoughts that prod you like the thorns of a rose.

Don’t try to destroy or banish these things, but let go of them.

Low and behold you’ll start to feel yourself come close to what you were thinking “success” is.

Practice Beginner’s Mind

Zen is often referred to as beginner’s mind.

The reason lies in the fact that by having a beginner mind, you are somewhere between the master and the unknowing bypasser.

For instance, in martial arts when you first start a punch is a punch. Then as you learn more about it, there become much more mechanics to a punch. Although, as you return to a master, a punch become a punch again.

When we practice this beginner’s mind, we can learn better, experience better, and stop tying ourselves to information. 

You are not the facts you know, you are the actions that you take. 

Sit in Nothing

This is possibly the hardest.

It is the allusion I made earlier to meditation being interwoven to the chasing of nothing. Although, I’ve found we can sit in this feeling throughout the day in different situations.

For one, yes you can practice formal mediation, something I do everyday.

On the other hand, if you’d like to practice sitting in nothing, go outside and feel the breeze on you, focus on the sounds and sights that you can see.

Pull your mind out and into the body, the sensory, the now.

That is where you will begin to notice what it feels like sitting in nothing, with no troubles, no have-to’s, but just nothing.

Austin

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