Thinking About Success and Happiness


I just stumbled on this TED talk by Richard St. John. He talks specifically about success in a business sense, but I think it is apt for any type of success.

It’s got me thinking a lot about identifying what makes you happy – and by doing it well – reaching success. It’s a short talk (under 5 minutes) check it out and see what you think:

Changing My Way of Thinking

Winter BeachI think the universe is trying to tell me something. Yesterday I posted,”What Are You Afraid Of?” after reading Seth Godin’s post about rehearsing failure versus rehearsing success. Along with reading Mr. Godin’s blog, I’ve also been catching up on the blog Mr. Money Mustache. I say catching up because I ran across it for the first time a few days ago and now I am reading my way through it from the beginning. (It’s a great blog that will force you to rethink your finances.) As I am reading along, I came upon a post from May 28th, 2011 called The Magic of Thinking Big. The author wrote about his experience with the book “The Magic of Thinking BIG” by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Here’s the part that caught my attention:

“In the early chapters, your mind is described as a Thought Factory which employs two Foremen: Mr. Triumph and Mr. Defeat.

If you put Mr. Defeat in charge, he will very patiently have your factory workers present reasons you cannot achieve what you would like to achieve. You’re too old, or busy, or too overweight, or not qualified for the job.

If Mr. Triumph takes the floor, he switches the thought production completely. Now, every goal you set starts with the immediate assumption that it IS possible. Mr. Triumph already knows he will win, his job is simply to lay out the steps required to get to that goal, and to keep you excited about cranking through these steps.”

Okay, I’ll grant you, it seems a bit hokey. But remember, I’ve just been spending the last couple of days meditating about how often I rehearse failure scenarios in my mind. To hear the same thing from a book from the 80s that I haven’t even read feels like the universe is seriously tugging on my sleeve.

There is something else out there I should be doing, I can feel it. I’m not sure what form it will take or what the next steps are, but I think it is time to start dreaming big.

…and shove Mr. Defeat back under the couch where he belongs!


What Are You Afraid Of?

Yesterday I read this on Seth Godin’s blog:

Rehearsing Failure, Rehearsing Success

Sunrise on Silver LakeThe active imagination has no trouble imagining the negative outcomes of your new plan, your next speech or that meeting you have coming up.

It’s easy to visualize and even rehearse all the things that can go wrong.

The thing is: clear visualization, repeated again and again, doesn’t actually decrease the chances you’re going to fail. In fact, it probably increases the odds.

When you choose to visualize the path that works, you’re more likely to shore it up and create an environment where it can take place.

Rehearsing failure is simply a bad habit, not a productive use of your time”

Seth usually writes about business, especially internet marketing and creating great companies and products, but in this case, I think he has hit on a prescription for life.

I started this blog because I have been doing a lot of thinking about my future – what I want to do, who I want to be, and so on. This post from Seth made me face the fact of how often I am afraid. I am afraid to make certain leaps of faith, to risk too much, to make too many changes all at once.

To make matters worse, it isn’t just fear. I spend too much time in my head rehearsing all the terrible things that could go wrong. I don’t frame it that way, of course. Instead, I tell myself that I am planning out how to react to various scenarios – but how often do those scenarios end in me having complete success?

Practically none.

I think as a culture we tend to not want to “set ourselves up for failure” or “set our expectations too high.” We call it being practical. How often as children were we encouraged to be more realistic? We are afraid of dreaming too big, of wanting too much, of being disappointed. But what is the alternative? Planning for failure …and getting exactly what we expected.

Photo credit: longviewhill