It’s been a while since I’ve read anything of this book. In truth it has slipped my mind but I picked it up again this week and at the right time too. This next chapter is called The Success Trap and it is sort of apt for me right now. As regular readers will know, I gave up a shitty job in the spring to try my hand at freelance work. I’m doing ok with it, probably as well as can be expected.
Sometimes though I take to brooding on my successes in life – or lack thereof. I’m probably never going to get rich doing what I’m doing and sometimes I have my self-doubts about whether I can make a success of it at all. Do I have the drive? The talent? The acumen? Though I am not money-oriented, I am goal-oriented. I want to feel fulfilled and valued in my working life and by the small circle of carefully chosen friends around.
And dating is hitting a bit of a nerve. My ex wife delightfully told me the other day that she has felt a connection with someone and is about to have a third date with him – things are going very well (she has been online dating for just a few months). And my best friend met his now girlfriend after just a couple of months on OKCupid. I am genuinely happy for both of them in equal measure so naturally I’m wondering what I am doing wrong. Why after nearly 18 months at this have I not progressed beyond a second date? What have they done right that I haven’t? Why do they leave the area? Why do they get back with their exes? Why do they turn flaky? Make excuses? Hold back? Put up barriers? And that feeling rears its ugly head again…
Maybe it’s me?
Because despite that I have had dates with 17 people and despite that I potentially have the choice between two lovely, gorgeous women in Mirror Image and Indiechick, I start to wonder again why it all feels so beyond me… something distant that I will never find.
I know I shouldn’t treat a potential new relationship as a goal, a duck to be broken but with my past experiences I can’t help but see it like that. It feels that there is an invisible brick wall around me. It is something that needs to be broken through. At first just the touching of fingers through a gap until finally the person on the other side chooses to tear it down rather than walk away.
I guess I have been stuck in The Success Trap over this…
The Success Trap
By judging our lives through achievements we are opening ourselves up to three problems:
- No guarantee of success – or they might be a long way off
- Even if they are achieved they will not give you lasting happiness (you will achieve only brief moments of joy
- If you judge your success by achievement of these goals, you are putting yourself under enormous pressure to continue to achieve the next goal
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value – Albert Einstein
This is the theme of the chapter – living not by achievement of our goals, but by values that we hold dear. A perfectly illustrates point is Martin Luther King. He himself did not achieve the equal rights he sought, but by living by his standards did he become respected, emulated and ultimately others achieved those equal rights. Similarly, who is more successful? A CEO who never has time for his children or a woman who devotes her time to caring for the children she fosters?
Hold that thought.