At age 16, I was not successful with girls. Being a skinny kid, and not good at outdoor sports, I flunked football and joined the gym to create the “perfect body”. This physical success brought good health, moments of fleeting happiness and admiring glances from the opposite sex.
Having a great physical appearance was not permanent or completely fulfilling, (read “other guys with better cars had more dates than me”), so I next chose to create financial success by making more and more money. Money brought cars, toys, moments of fleeting happiness, and admiring glances from the opposite sex.
I discovered that having more money was not permanently or completely fulfilling, so I chose to put all my energy into relationships. This “love addiction” was also ultimately unfulfilling: I would spend so much time with “Mrs Right” (or “Mrs Right Now”), that I neglected my other friends, my hobbies or my work.
This singular relationship focus would then impact widely on all other areas of my life: I sometimes found that I became so “into” the other person that the real me, and my other measures of success, just seemed to disappear.
Worse, I would tend to resent the other person, as if it were their fault that I had lost money or lost contact with my friends, my hobbies or myself. Truth is, it wasn’t their fault; it was my own fault for not keeping a hold of my own identity and priorities in the relationship.
As I navigated past physical success (muscles that grew then withered), material success (money that rose then fell) and relationship success (more rising and falling), I discovered that there were many versions of success, truths and truer truths. Beyond that, I ultimately discovered the truest truth of all.
Beyond the physical, material and relational lies the spiritual: without it, the other elements are nothing. Your success will be hollow or short-lived if you overlook the eternal fourth dimension element that combines or surrounds all others.
So how do you bring a spiritual aspect to everything you do? Try these:
Physical: To inject some eternal spiritual success into your physicality, bring mindfulness into your daily activities. For example, meditation does not mean always sitting still, you can practice it whilst eating, dancing, walking, running, swimming or doing yoga.
Relationships: You can enjoy a more successful relationship by bringing a spiritual goal to your union: instead of each partner merely focussing on their own needs, or on making the other partner happy, aim to have a combined partnership goal that brings happiness to others as well.
Material: Bring spiritual success into your material world by having a greater purpose for your wealth. Tithing, or giving back to the community is a fundamental financial principle in many sacred traditions and has been taught for thousands of years, because it works on financial and spiritual levels. (For those who cannot yet afford to give away 5% or 10% of their income, try giving away time by doing volunteer work for a charity or community. Givers gain, and what you send out, comes back to you.)
In the end, in the same way that turning up a light source makes for richer colours in the rainbow, more spiritual enlightenment in your life will make all of your success goals clearer, bolder, richer and stronger.
* “BS” of course, stands for “Belief Systems”. These may be cultural or personal, inherited from parents or learned from teachers or peers. Try questioning some of your own BS, or learning what another culture believes about the same topic, and you’re on your way to enlightened wisdom.