“Successful people begin where failures leave off. Never settle for ‘just getting the job done.’ Excel!” 

– Tom Hopkins
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Your Guide to Success: Obtainable or Sustainable?

By Kerry Hearsey

The desire to consistently improve your life is one of your most fundamental needs. That feeling that comes from knowing that, every day, you are becoming more, is part of your nature. Knowing that you are affecting and improving your environment through your own influence is immensely satisfying. It is a key ingredient in living a happy and fulfilled life. At some level we are all pursuing success of some sort. We are constantly looking for ways to have more, to be more and to gain more, thinking that once we “have it all” we will be happy, and life will be perfect. Then, we can take it easy and relax and just enjoy life. 

This way of thinking, this mindset, acts like a virus that can “kill” you.  If not emotionally then spiritually. Our modern culture is filled with numerous examples of top achievers who seemingly have everything, but they are deeply unhappy and constantly have to battle with the challenges within their own character. They fail to grasp the true purpose of success. 

From its Latin origin, the word success actually means “to advance” or “to progress” which implies that success is not “something” you get at the end but a process that has very little to do with the end result. From this point of view success is what will improve your life as it is what moves you forward to a better experience of life.

In pursuit of a greater quality of life, most people lose sight of the real reason why they actually want to be successful in the first place. It is never the “things” but rather the way you believe these things will make you feel once you’ve got them. 

Your success will be either obtainable or sustainable. 

Most of your desires will be obtainable within your lifetime but this no guarantee that you will be happy and fulfilled. When you strive for collecting and accumulating “things” you will experience very little fulfilment as you will always rely on something external to give you the feelings that you want to experience inside you; feelings that you believe will come from having what you pursue.

The real purpose of a goal is never to obtain something of material value but rather the qualities that you will gain as a person in your pursuit of the goal. For you to have success that is sustainable you must develop a new mindset; a mindset that focuses not on what you must do to get what you want, but on what you must become to attract that which you want. 

What you become is what you get to keep. 

When you shift your focus to developing your character, you can start to use goals and success as a means to an end instead of it being the be-all and end-all of life. You start to distance yourself from the need to have “stuff” in order to feel that sense of joy and fulfilment. 

Knowing that you can be successful is not enough. You want the experience of success. You want that feeling of success to be a part of who you are as a person; as part of your character. When your success is obtainable, when you are able to collect the things, then your experience of success rarely lasts very long. There is no consistency in the experience. 

So often we see amazing success stories of young achievers that reach all their goals in a short period of time, only to break down emotionally soon after. The reason is that they haven’t learned the key to lasting success which is the ability to create success in your life that is sustainable. 

Sustainable success is inexhaustible. 

It is consistent and takes care of itself. With the qualities and attributes that you learned through the experience of pursuing your goal you are able to re-create any achievement as you are the source.

The concept of obtainable and sustainable success is best illustrated with Aesop’s fable of the Goose and the Golden Egg. The goose as the source of the gold could consistently produce the gold, but the farmer, out of his impatience and ignorance, wanted it all and he wanted it now. So, he cuts open the goose only to find – nothing. 

The moral of the story is that you should nurture and develop yourself in order to sustain your happiness and success. If your focus is just on obtaining goals, you will not get any more “golden eggs” as the real value is in what you become and how that makes you feel.

You can either obtain success or you can become it. 

The objective is the same, but the mindset is very different. You can either get the “things” that will make you feel successful or you can become the source of your own success and fulfilment. 

You want lasting results, and this will only come from your ability to create and re-create, on demand, that what you wish to experience during your time on earth. 

Adopting the mentality of creating lasting success, of becoming sustainable, starts with realising that true success comes from giving and not getting. In the giving lies the “getting” in that what you give away is what you get to experience, and your experience is what you get to keep forever. 

Ultimately, to sustain anything you must give and receive for this is the very nature of growth and life itself. Success is a feeling and in making that feeling part of who you are, you will never be without success and you will never be left wanting anything outside of you. 

Let go of your need to obtain “stuff” and focus on the experience of life and the emotional content of your life. 

That which you obtain will eventually disappear and lose its value. That which you sustain will grow and expand and continue to increase the quality of your magnificent life.

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