Success is a Lie

We’ve all been lied to about success…

Success is a lie

We’ve been fed a lie. A horrible lie. We’ve been led to believe that there is a thing called success. It’s the greatest lie told to us, because its ruined so many lives. Really success is a lie.

It’s the same as all those men driven to join the gold rush in the USA. People just up and moved and took all the cash they had saved. Perhaps they dragged their families with them, or they left them behind. They invested everything they had and went to the the middle of nowhere to dig for bits of rock. They were chasing success by digging in the sand.

It sounds like a metaphor except it wasn’t. People literally were digging for success in the sand. Actually it was worse than that. They were digging for it in rock. That’s even harder than digging in sand.

Prisoners of success?

There’s that image of prisoners forced to smash at rocks with pickaxes as part of their punishment, which sounds like the same thing. The difference is that prisoners don’t have a choice. These gold-rushers chose it because they saw it as their best option. Metaphorically how many of us today dig away in the sand (or rock) for success?

Success is your new idol

What do we call this success. We can see is as a form of brainwashing and the chasing of material things. It is the chasing of status or a label we can put on ourselves. Religion is in decline, we have to replace it with something new. So that thing became ‘success’.

We’ve been hit pretty hard with it the last few decades. The Eighties really saw an explosion of it, but it started before than. Success is about striving, not giving up. Its all very yang-orientated. Strive, achieve, win – go for it. Never give up. Never back down. Get up when you knocked down. Money, job, career, business, recover from sickness, heal that disease. It’s all the same.

The Success industry

I’ve come to feel that success is a lie. I’ve eaten into the whole success thing too. I’ve read plenty of self-health/money/success books.  One thing I have noticed is that they are all very addictive. They have an enthusiastic tone and their prose is simple. There is something about the style of these books that pulls you in.

I’ve noticed that they seem to evoke a kind of reaction in me. They bring out the inner Rocky Balboa in me – a part that wants to go out and battle with the world. Get knocked down, get up, get knocked down, get up again – kind of attitude. The whole, work hard and it will come ethos. That way when you succeed against such resistance it make you look all the more better.

Is that the only way?

But say, if I did really want success, how right is that attitude? What if I could achieve success without all that striving. What if it was part of my destiny anyway to achieve success, but I made it harder than it actually should be by introducing desire and resistance into it? How many of us do the same?

And what was needed in us – was not all that tension that comes from this striving – but was actually  the opposite. Instead, we need an attitude of relaxation – and enjoyment. In other words to encourage success to come to me.


Here’s an example of where these books didn’t do so good. I briefly tried to set up a business with a couple of other complementary therapists. They were both talented and very motivated individuals. During this period, I lent one of them a copy of a book called: Live your Dreams by Les Brown.

I usually pass-on books when I have just finished reading them as I don’t have a lot of space to store books. For those who haven’t read it, it is one of these typical American – ‘go for it’ approaches to life and business success. It is a good read and you’ve got to love the enthusiasm of the author as well as his story. The book conveys a very yang orientated approach to achieving business success – no matter what. Basically it’s a Rocky approach.

At our next meeting after my colleague had read this book, her attitude had changed. It was similar to the attitude in that book – except she was expressing much more tension and a small amount of impatience. There was tension in our meeting.

What I felt, was this book fed into my colleagues own desire for success as well as brought out other internal issues. It may be that it didn’t help her or our path.

Looking at this book, this attitude was great for the author, but that is his life, his attitude. For him, its a completely different experience to us. We cannot copy him. Les Brown is Les Brown with Les Brown’s life and Les Brown’s wife. We are who we are. What is better, is for us to find our own attitude and path. It is more natural.

Disease and Success

In terms of health and healing, applying the idea of success doesn’t much help a person get better. Can you imagine if you felt the beginning of the common cold, and you tried to  apply a success mindset to dealing with it?  With a determined look on your face, you exclaim: “I will successful resist this cold and fight it! Hallaluja”. It might work, but not every time. Colds are just so common. Doctors get them. Even complementary therapy practitioners still get them regardless of how much Vitamin C and echinacea they gobble down.

But for something more serious? Say a person get a life-limiting disease like cancer or some other chronic condition. Then suddenly there is this battle to fight it. Its a war with chemotherapy and surgery as your weapons and the doctor as your general.

Health: Winners and Losers

We sometimes hear stories from people who overcame a disease completely or healed themselves. Are we meant to think they are the winners – the succeeders?

Yet, sadly, a lot of people don’t recover. Does that make them failures? No of course not. It is this whole mindset that is wrong. Cancer and a lot of diseases have a deeper message to tell us. Instead of fighting it, we need to see that we are really fighting ourselves – literally. Our bodies make those tumours. They are us. So whats going on? Why is our body creating something that is growing out of control. How can we succeed if we are fighting ourselves? We cannot.

And some diseases, they don’t seem to be able to be cured. Only managed. Diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Colitis, and many others. This whole – lets succeed at fixing this disease’ –  mindset carries a certain amount of tension.

Nor am I talking about about acceptance and accepting your fate. Diseases can be healed – Definitely, but perhaps not for everyone. What I’m saying is that if we apply the whole success mindset to trying to heal, then it may potentially be a barrier.

The approach is to understand the message the disease is teaching us, seeing it as part of us, not an enemy. And listening and altering our life pattern to better strengthen our body and immune system.

An acupuncture example

There’s this example from Kodo Fukushima. Fukushima was a famous blind acupuncturist, who I talk about in my book. One time he notices his apprentice trying really hard to heal a patient during his treatment. Kodo says to him, ‘you’re trying to hard.  Stop trying to fix the patient’.

It’s this idea of success again. A healer doesn’t need to fix the patient. He sometimes only needs to get out of the way so the patient can heal themself. Its the same for me, I have found that if I try too hard as an acupuncturist, sometimes I don’t get a good result.

When this happens, then I will become successful…

Its like the old Asterisk comic. The invincible Gauls says that ‘the only thing I am afraid of is tomorrow. Because tomorrow never comes’

Well success is like tomorrow. It never comes. Success means you can impress people by showing them your house or your family or car or bank balance or your achievements.

We are all trying to impress constantly. A CV/resume is the perfect example of this. It is a document where we highlight all our successes. We even manipulate it to make unsuccessful events look like successful events. Well I do anyway. Even when you think you’ve got it, you haven’t really. Even if you achieve it, then you die and it goes.

Success never comes because, we are constantly redefining it. Once we achieve one level of success, we then want something more and if we don’t get it, then we suffer. Success never comes because no matter what we achieve, we suddenly look around and see someone else who seems to have been more successful than us in the same field. Then our achievements seem inferior. Even though we may have done a lot of impressive things.

Stress is about perception

The ‘pedestal-isation’ of success means that when we meet someone for the first time at a party, we try to assess their level of success. If we deem them to be unsuccessful, than we label them as less important. We allocate them less speaking time. Then we meet a doctor or lawyer at a party and the success jackpot lights go off. These visors make us blind. We don’t really see the person in front of us. All we see is our assessment of their success.

It becomes even more interesting when we hear about people who get fooled by con-artists. Theres a certain briliance in them because they are not afraid to break social conventions. We’re not supposed to lie about our status or our successes. These are the unspoken rules of society. We are allowed to exaggerate, but not overtly lie. However, a con artist will do just this.

In their cases, success is a lie. A con artist will create a persona of success and they can tell you the most extravagant lies. What’s more is that they will even believe their own lies themselves, which makes it more fascinating. This person will say they are a successful businessman, or they have  a high status job. They may even actually get that job by lying about their qualifications and then actually do the job. And they will often hook in a partner, who will give up many things to them. In the end, the truth usually comes out and there will be suffering for all those people around them. But in the moment, the lie of success is reality.

This kind of example shows us that actually success is really about perception. A person can appear successful even though he is not. And then there are people who we see as successful, who are actually tortured souls deep inside and see themselves as failures. So again, success is a lie.

Success clouds our mind

We see this false label of what we call success, which clouds our attitude. Either that or we’re preoccupied with appearing successful ourselves. We can say were doing it to impress others, but actually we’re doing it to impress ourselves. It is really contagious. I do it as well. Probably a lot less than I used to, but I can see the tendency is there in me.

This striving for success hypnotises us. It truly does cloud us from seeing the real nature of reality. How can we see it, when the mind constantly tells us that we must strive for success. So then it takes us back to the ego again. The ego loves for us to chase success.

Who are the blessed success-ed?

With this old definition of success, only a few can be considered successful. These are the people with the big dollar business, the fabulous careers, the big houses, the perfect families, the fancy cars, the nannies, the kids in private school, the private jets, the early retirement in Fiji. But then that makes the vast majority of us unsuccessful. Or the unspoken term is ‘failure’. So many of us are failures. Well, its too black and white.

My re-definition of success

But if we must have success. If success is a part of life just like the sky and the sea, then let me re-define what true success really is. Success is about releasing the talent in you. It is about doing what you really want to do deep down. It is about unleashing that inner spark and doing it for no gain.

Success is not about gaining something material. These are just the side effects or benefits. The real success is about finding our inner talent, that desire and doing it.

And it may be that you don’t become rich or famous from doing it. But it doesn’t matter. Because its this idea that we must be recognised and acknowledged by other people that is part of the hypnotism. We do it because it gives us pleasure. And if even one single person recognises it and likes it, that is success. And it doesn’t matter whether that person pays us a penny for it.

Insert – ‘famous person success example’ here

It’s customary to put some famous example in an article. So here’s one examples: Charles Bukowski wrote his poetry for 40 years before he became famous. He worked all that time in the post office. He didn’t really care about fame. It came so late in life for him. He loved drinking, gambling, women and writing poetry.

Heres another example: the youtuber Pikatoro made his videos for his own pleasure. He never expected to be famous. Then his Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen video went viral worldwide and he met the President of the USA. In some of his interviews with the media, he still couldn’t help repeating how all this success was completely unexpected. It must have seemed like a dream to him.

Success is for all

But really, its better to think of the non-famous examples. The people that work away doing what they love, who are not famous or rich. Those people that have to do regular jobs, but spend their spare time doing what they love. They are working away at bringing out their inner talents or giving the world the work what they love doing.

There are a lot of people doing this, who we don’t hear about. With this new definition, that would make a lot more of us successful. It makes me successful. And it only took me the length of this article to realise that.

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