The Elusive Nature of Success: Why Achievements Alone Can’t Sustain Happiness

Throughout my life, I have been captivated by the concept of change, striving to unlock our full potential, achieve optimal performance, and experience true well-being.

It all began when I stumbled upon my first NLP book back in 1994, and since then, my quest for knowledge has been ceaseless. The truth is, I embarked on this path in search of a solution to my own internal struggle of never feeling good enough. Countless books on various subjects such as business, psychology, success, performance, relationships, and spirituality have graced my bookshelves. I have attended numerous courses that have shaped my understanding.

But amidst this vast sea of information and knowledge, I often wondered, what is the essence of all this learning? What is the core guiding principle that I can distil from my experiences?

After years of exploration, one profound truth has emerged: the mind matters most.
It stands as the epicentre of our personal suffering, influencing the challenges we face in our relationships and shaping our behaviour.

Our internal landscape, our thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions hold immense power over our lives.

I want to share with you the transformative power of the mind and its pivotal role in personal growth and development. Delving into the ways in which our mindset impacts our experiences, relationships, and overall well-being.

We’re all looking for a feeling.

You might refer to that feeling as success, joy, bliss, fulfilment, peace, or happiness. Everything we do is designed to move us closer to experiencing that feeling.

Most people believe that the feeling they desire is on the other side of money, social stratification, personal distinctions of achievement, and success. However, the feeling at the end of these pursuits is merely correlated, they’re not the actual cause, it just looks like that. You can realise this too if you experience the feelings of achievement and success as temporary, continually resetting the goalposts.

Most people believe that the voice in their head is themselves, but it’s just another activity of our minds. This activity of the mind causes the negative feelings which we want to avoid, and it shapes our ideas about what to pursue.

The issue is that the voice doesn’t possess knowledge about the future, and its references to the past are based on abstract beliefs, that are often untrue.

The root of our problems lies in the unconscious ideas we hold about ourselves and how we believe we can achieve fulfilment. This means that our sense of worth, success, and value are dependent on external judgements, comparisons, and validations. Consequently, we never feel like we’ve truly arrived, because there’s always something else to compare ourselves to or a perceived gap. These distractions pull our minds in different directions, leaving us feeling lost and unfulfilled. It’s what psychologists call Hedonic Adaption.

This is what I know.

Until we can develop internal measures of worth and success, and train our mind to focus its attention on these, we will never consistently feel good enough or fulfilled. All feelings stem from your mind, so mastering focus and attention becomes our most valuable skill.

When we have acquired enough of the practical necessities to sustain our lives, what truly sustains and motivates us and our mind, is meaning and purpose. Psychology tells us that long-term feelings of meaning and purpose are strongly connected to serving others, while utilising our unique qualities, skills, and gifts, in pursuit of something personally important to us. The Japanese call this Ikigai, In essence, if you lack a true understanding of who you are and cannot effectively manage your mind, you will find yourself trapped in endless cycles.

The way I see it is that our minds can resemble untrained dogs that accompany us everywhere.
They eagerly chase after anything that catches their interest, without consistent ability to recall or control their impulses. They can turn a peaceful walk in the park into a chaotic ordeal, pulling at us and barking at people without reason. They devour whatever food is left out and always want more, lacking any form of restraint. They whine, howl, and disrupt your sleep. They act needy and engage in behaviours that others neither appreciate nor want to be around. They chew away at your life and happiness without hesitation, preventing you from reaching the places you truly desire.

So what do we do to change this situation?

We all face a choice: hope that the dog eventually outgrows its troublesome behaviour or take the initiative to train the dog.

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