Most of us grow up in a society that teaches us we have to struggle in order to make it, that we have to suffer now in order to achieve some future goal. Today you’ll learn why this isn’t true and discover a much more peaceful way to live while still achieving all your goals!
This attitude of “struggle is necessary” is also reinforced in our childhood through reward and punishment. When we do bad according to our parents, we are punished in some way, and only after we have “served our sentence” do we regain our parents approval and affection.
When we do good in our parents eyes, we might receive some reward or signs of approval from them. This teaches us on a subconscious level that we are only worthy of love when we suffer the price of our sins or when we achieve something that is commendable in the eyes of others.
It teaches us the emotions of guilt and shame as a form of self-punishment that lead to perpetual feelings of not being “good enough” and needing to be obsessively focused on how we appear to others and how much we are achieving in comparison to others. It teaches us to constantly seek approval and success and to value these things above our own peace of mind.
Escape the “Never Enough” Cycle
This constant self-judgment and comparison brings a nearly continuous feeling of stress and anxiety that then leads to desires of all kinds: the desire to be more successful, more beautiful, more intelligent, more witty, more outgoing, etc.
But no matter how much we achieve, it’s not enough, because this underlying feeling of not being good enough perpetuates an endless stream of desires…
Desire Only Leads to More Desire
The more we achieve, the more we want. When we don’t achieve, we feel horrible, which reinforces our feelings of not being enough, leading to even stronger desires to have, do, or be more than we are now.
Desire is a problem because there’s no cure for it in the world. If you achieve great things but do it for the wrong reasons, your achievements will bring you very little joy. If you are motivated by a sense of lack, your efforts will bear few fruits worth eating.
From the outside looking in, your life might appear great. It’s like you have this beautiful apple tree with plump fruit and everyone says, “Look, how beautiful” but then you bite into the apple and it’s bitter, not sweet…
Know the Difference Between “Appearance” and “Essence”
Appearance is what most people are chasing. They want to look good in the eyes of others. They want to appear to have a great life. But most people don’t know what a great life truly is, because all their lives they’ve been taught to chase appearances and overlook the essence of things.
Essence: The Invisible Truth
Deep down, most people are not happy even though their life may look good from the outside, because they achieved their success for the wrong reasons. They were chasing an illusion and ignoring the most important thing of all.
We fight to have things our way until there comes a day when we see that our way is not necessarily the best way.
Almost everyone on their deathbed feels a sense of not having completed their true life’s purpose. Many people realize at death’s door that they lived their life chasing things that didn’t really matter…
That doesn’t have to be the case for us…
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True Success is Like Dancing
How can we create a great life for the right reasons and enjoy every step of the process rather than always waiting for a future that never comes?
Let me first give another analogy to illustrate an important point.
Life is Not a Competition
Most people live their life like they are climbing a mountain. They believe they are on a journey towards some ultimate end-goal. They believe they are in competition with others to reach the top of this mountain.
They believe others are trying to knock them off the mountain and take their spot. They believe they will be at peace only when they achieve their aim and reach the top…
This view of life being like a mountain climb is what you might call a “paradigm” of reality, or in other words, a common, widely accepted belief system that many people buy into and live by.
But the ‘mountain climb’ paradigm is certainly not the only one available for you to choose….
A New Paradigm of Reality
The purpose of a mountain climb is to reach the top. The climb is a means to an end and other people could be a potential threat to the achievement of that end.
There’s another paradigm of reality that views life more like a dance than a mountain climb. And the purpose of a dance is what?
To dance to the best of one’s ability.
People don’t dance in order to get to the end of the dance. They dance because they enjoy the process of dancing.
It is not a means to an end, and other people are not a threat. When you’re dancing, you want everyone to share in the joy and dance too. It’s not a competition.
How to Succeed With Peace of Mind
The people over on the mountain will say, “You can’t just dance your way through life. You need goals. You need a purpose. You need to take life seriously and take care of your responsibilities.”
We do live in a demanding world. We have bills to pay, families to take care of. We need to make money. The more, the better, as long as we know how to use it. But how do we find a balance?
How do we live life like we’re dancing but at the same time meet our obligations and make a living for ourselves? These seem almost like contradictory goals that are incompatible.
First, we have to see that life is like a series of dots, not a line…
Your Life is Always NOW
Most people think in terms of past and future. They see their past leading up to now and their life now heading towards some ultimate goal or desired objective, like traveling on a line. But what they fail to see is that past and future are merely imaginary and that life is lived purely in the present moment.
Your life is more like an infinite series of dots, each one being a single moment. Your future is continuously shaped by your choices in each and every moment of your life, so it makes more sense to focus on your direction rather than your destination, doesn’t it?
Direction > Destination
What’s more important for a ship at sea, that it focuses on the island it hopes to reach or that it regularly adjusts its sails so that it’s going in the right direction?
You can focus on the island all you want, but if all you’re doing is staring at it, you’re not going to hit it!
You might not even be able to see the island at all. So what do you do when it’s dark and you can’t see what the future holds?
You need a guiding star, that’s all…
You need just one thing to aim at, and as long as your life is in alignment with that one guiding star, your destination is certain and you can spend most of your time enjoying the process, dancing…
Your guiding star is…
Contribution to others.
As long as your life is dedicated wholeheartedly to contribution and service to others, you need not worry about your future at all, and you can dance your way through life with joy.
This single guiding star is all you need to be happy and successful in your life…
Selfish desire is the root of all suffering. Selfless service dissolves those roots and at the same time plants new seeds that will inevitably sprout into a harvest of great abundance.
Life is simple. Don’t make it complicated.
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