When we occasionally glance ahead, look down the garden path, attempt to peer ’round the blind corner — perhaps we are at a wedding or funeral or looking over water or falling off the edge of day and almost asleep — we sometimes startle and steel ourselves, for just head it comes to us that there might possibly be bits and pieces of difficulty, minor disturbances, a war, aging, another recession, even the annoying matter of dying.

But do we ever, and perhaps we just might need to, steel ourselves, in quiet moment of reflection, for success?

Success needs to be braced for, because it isn’t ease. It isn’t a non-stressing event, the calm of anonymity, the hide-and-seek moment of repose found in not having yet been found. Success isn’t business-as-usual, the casual kiss upon arriving home again at night to old, familiar, comforting foods and loves.

Success is adrenaline. Success is life — caffeinated. Success is an aphrodisiac. Success is a tyrant. Success is the stress of living, not dying, the crazy, hyper-active moment of being found, of jumping up and running hard, the anxiety present in the award, the demanding residue resident in the encore, the infectious blush of being kissed by strangers, of being expected to appear, over and over and over again.

Most people run from this.

But success is life, saddled up and riding right along side of failure, and one should expect success, steel oneself for it, lean into it, if nothing else than because of the inevitability of it, and for the kicks present in it, for the laughs, for the poof and goof and sheer outrageous broad smile and back-stage-arm-pump of it.

We will succeed, if we don’t sabotage our own success out of the fear of not being able to handle it. We will succeed, if we are willing. And success will change us, but in good ways, not destructive ways, if we get our heads first spun right for it.

How? This: We can survive success by means of humility. We can steel ourselves for success by putting a knife to our own throats, by first fencing in our own lust and greed so that we don’t harm ourselves and others with it. We can best prepare ourselves for awards by dressing up and putting on the demeanor of waitresses, janitors, busboys, Motel 6 housekeepers, slaves.

The survive-the-success-thing is found in this, to abstain from what we most want to eat by making friends with not eating. To prepare for banquets, we must first get used to gut-gnawing hunger and stomach cramps, so that when the feast is set for us, and our forks are raised to eat whatever we want, we won’t.

And we may also do this, get ready, by screwing our heads on straight concerning the sources of success.

Every success is a gift, given not by ourselves to ourselves, but given by others, by life, and by God. We will not, nor ever will do, anything that should make us preferred, over and above anyone else, since it does not originate in us but outside of us and in them. It is all given, the DNA, the birth place, the stretch and wave of time, the procreative influences, the mentors provided, the unsought opportunities, the universally salutary milieu, the open sea, shore, boat, wind and clear sky of it.

So, do — steel, brace, prepare, bow, receive, enter and humbly enjoy — success, when it is given to you.

  1. Aaron Belcher says:

    Your article reminded me of something that Nelson Mandela quoted:

    Our Greatest Fear —Marianne Williamson

    it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

    It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
    talented and fabulous?

    Actually, who are you not to be?

    You are a child of God.

    Your playing small does not serve the world.

    There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

    people won’t feel insecure around you.

    We were born to make manifest the glory of
    God that is within us.

    It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

    And as we let our own light shine,
    we unconsciously give other people
    permission to do the same.

    As we are liberated from our own fear,
    Our presence automatically liberates others.

    —Marianne Williamson

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