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Stalking Success
by Stewart Blackburn

There's very little that feels so delicious as good old-fashioned success. I'm talking about the glorious feeling of satisfaction that arises when what you've done has brought you the results you desired. After making a conscious effort of some sort, you get to reap the rewards of that effort, the dreams are finally realized, and the seeds you planted have come to fruition.

When we get to revel in success, the world seems brighter, our hope for the future is renewed, and we can reassure ourselves that we are effective, valuable people. Our sense of personal esteem and self-worth is restored, and we can hold our heads up high in the knowledge that at least in this one arena we are triumphant!

As much as Id like to keep praising the enchanting glory of success, I feel the need to point out that such a state of being is conditional. It depends on the rules we are playing by. Like chess and poker, we have guidelines that must be followed and success is well defined within the tenets of that game. So, while we may have done so well that we can claim success in a given area, we have to acknowledge the limits of the field we've been playing on. And in so doing, we must also recognize whose rules and limits we are playing by.

When we are playing the game of life using someone else's rulebook, we must define ourselves in that other persons terms. We are "good," "bad," "smart," "dumb," "successful," or a "failure" as conceived by someone other than ourselves. For most of us then, the deck is stacked against us. If we have any characteristic that would suggest that we aren't perfect, in terms of those arbiters of success, then we either have to overcome our handicap, or contend with our limited status. This leaves us in the struggle to succeed where there is little hope for anything like great success, and more likely, only the mediocre attainment of getting by.

Now, if we have decided to accept that we are responsible for what we are experiencing in our lives, that we create our own realities, and that the world is what we think it is, then it follows that we need to accept that what we are experiencing right now is the result of what we have created, consciously or not. In other words, whatever it is that we find in front of us, we have created it. I'll leave aside for now the influence of other people and consciousnesses. While they also have an influence, their influence on us has had our acceptance on some level.

So, if we have created the world we are encountering, then we have been successful in that. That's not insignificant. We are facing the results of our desires, our fears, our beliefs and rules of reality, and the feelings that we have been living with. We may not be entirely happy with what we've created. Theres no reason not to feel some dissatisfaction as we get to grow out of what we've previously created. However, what we have made is right there, right in front of us, whether we like it or not!

We can decide that what we have created doesn't meet someone else's standards of success, and thus see ourselves as less than successful. Or we can decide that since it is our lives that we are living, we can choose the definitions of success for ourselves.

When we feel good about who we are, when we can enjoy the sense of pleasure in each day, and when we share the space of love with another we have good reason to claim to be successful. Its our choice how we want to distinguish success. We can do it any way we like. But the feelings that we get are determined by whether we consider ourselves successful or not.

I look around me and I see green everywhere. It's my favorite color and living in a jungle helps me see it most of the time. My friends and family, my dog, and my work all contribute to my sense of happiness. I am successful in my own terms based on what I desire and what I value. Others may have a starkly different view, but so what? As I go about learning to create the world I prefer, I find that it is important to recognize the successes I have already brought about, and to actively enjoy them. Without taking the time to do that, whats the point of being successful?

I deeply value the feeling of success. By first recognizing all of my present successes, and then assuming that all that I do henceforth will be successful, I stay in the consciousness of success. Somehow my success is always there, regardless of how other people judge my situation!

Copyright 2018 Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is the author of The Skills of Pleasure: Crafting the Life You Want. His website is:; email:

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