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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Emery

the secret of success

Next to happiness we all seek success. Indeed, the two are intricately connected for it is very hard to be truly happy if one’s life is not on track: not working. This is why I call my philosophy LifeWorks, for having your life work for you is a necessary prerequisite for feeling that inner joy and well-being that is true happiness.

Happiness is not to be confused with indulgence or the satiation of desire but is connected to and dependent upon the satisfaction of needs. It is extremely hard to be happy if you are starving or have no money or are lonely.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an excellent model for understanding human motivation and the relationship between our needs, our happiness and our ultimate success in life. As we grow and mature as human beings, we rise through the pyramid of satisfying our physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs. We become more actualised as human beings creating a richer and fuller life.

Unfortunately, in this modern age of instant gratification and self-indulgence, we misconceive happiness to be the result of external acquisition and material wealth. Trinkets and toys distract our attention in the ever-competitive game of keeping up appearances.

But self-indulgence leads to weakness and a weak character can never generate success. To be successful requires inner strength and moral strength comes from self-discipline. Self-discipline is that ability to be brutally honest with oneself, especially when things go wrong for this is how we learn. This is how life, through the function of evolution, works.

There is no shame or guilt, or negativity attached to making a mistake. Evolution is all about trial and error. You try something; evaluate the outcome via reflection and learn. The wise and humble person learns from their mistakes becoming stronger internally from this process and interaction with life. A toddler learns to walk by falling down, and we all laugh and applaud. There is no shame. A weak person withdraws into themselves, blaming others or life or the government. How often do we hear, in this woke society - why doesn’t the government do something?

There is a tendency today to make the government responsible for everything and an overwhelming expectation for the government to solve all problems. But this robs us of our freedom and our strength. We too willingly hand over our precious personal power to the ‘powers that be’ and end up in a very regimented authoritarian society.

Individuals are fast losing their freedom, their sovereignty and their dignity. The forces of fascism are taking control of our lives. The recent experience of the pandemic demonstrates how quickly and easily the masses will willingly and voluntarily hand over their freedom and their personal responsibility.

The secret of success is inner personal strength. There is no freedom without responsibility.

A person of strong character has that inner self-discipline to execute the firm decision of the will. To do what is right and necessary to win the struggle, to go the distance. A person of weak character does not possess this capacity. For capacity has two components: an ability and a willingness to use that ability otherwise the capacity sits idle, unused.

Personal power is the ability to act. Movement plus strength equals success. Success comes from an ability and a willingness to act, to take chances, to seize opportunities, to go forth into life knowing that one has the inner fortitude and self-confidence to deal with whatever comes one’s way along the path. Personal success comes from accepting that you and only you are responsible for your life: that you have created it and that you are in charge.

Life is a gift and free will choice is the second gift to make with your life what you will, what you determine, what you want. Do not take these two gifts lightly for they are the essence of your destiny and the keys to living a successful life of your own choosing.

Success does not come from, nor can it be measured by, any external criteria. True success is living your life, your way – being true to yourself and beholden to no-one. Having that inner strength of character to honour who you are and know what is right for you. No one else can tell you, nor make you a successful human being.

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