Bill Cottringer

What remains when all is said and done? Take away all the additions, subtractions and changes we make to life with our thinking, perceptions and reactions and what remains is the 5% truth making up our personal success quest. Hidden away in that 5% pure gold is the “one thing” that Jack Palance, as Curly in City Slickers, was pointing towards in the sky with his finger. This “one thing” is what remains when all is said and done with questioning the truth of your perspective of anything—what you are seeing from where you are seeing it. Like the Zen master said when ordering a hot dog in Chicago, “I’ll take one, with everything.”

What is the bottom-line to your perspective of something? The simple answer is your purpose. With all the information overload today it is very easy to lose sight of your purpose for doing something, and yet bringing that purpose back in focus is the one thing that can help you reduce the chaos and overload that is burying us all in angst.

As part of my total “career” package, I run a large security company in the scenic pacific northwest. It continually amazes me how we all allow ourselves in this business to fall prey to the overload and look like hamsters on a treadmill, running like crazy but not getting anywhere. That is until we remember this one thing—purpose. Our basic purpose is to give customers what they bought—quality security. Period. No more, no less, nothing different. And to do that all we have to do is think and act in ways that are aligned to that purpose. Everything else is irrelevant and that is a major reduction of wasteful overload. Lots of thinking space is freed up to be more creative and productive.

Today, we are all on a success quest—trying to achieve our goals; serving others generously with our writing, teaching, counseling, financial, theological, business and leading skills; making a positive difference in the world with our chosen professions or jobs; and gathering an abundance of health, wealth, happiness, power, influence, contentment and peace of mind. But, in the frenzy of trying to find this 5% truth, of which nothing can be added, subtracted or changed, we can easily forget our fundamental purpose. Then we wonder why we end up stuck, empty-handed and undeniably unsuccessful. Sometimes this experience can bring enough disappointment to cause us to give up on the success quest altogether. Then we live lives of quiet desperation.

So in the meantime, how do we avoid the multitude of alluring distractions and failure experiences involved in the other 95% feeding frenzy of this current success quest hype? How do we find the land of simple floating in the sea of chaos? Stop and be quiet. Listen to the clues. Whatever distraction, ambiguity, or confusion has you mesmerized and addicted, this thing has a fundamental purpose too—to teach you how to know the one thing you need to know, by comparing and contrasting its opposite, which is not knowing. That transition can’t happen overnight. Patience is a must, like it or not.

Whatever you are doing in your particular success quest—trying to lose weight, make more money, overcome physical pain, get smarter and wiser, achieve spiritual enlightenment, become a better teacher, have peace of mind , be happier, find true love or any other noble or common pursuit—you have to stop and make a realistic assessment of your current reality. Are you really succeeding enough or failing to some degree? How are things really? Or as Dr. Phil wisely says, “How is that working for you?”

The truth, when all is said and done, is that none of us are completely fulfilling our basic purpose, which is to learn, grow and improve in unfolding our unlimited potential of complete and whole self-actualization. By the way, this was the main purpose of the human potential movement of the late sixties that really started all the currently popular positive psychology stuff such as The Secret, The Law of Attraction, The Sedona Method, Appreciative Inquiry, Learned Optimism, etc. In that sense nothing is new; it is just old, retold and repackaged.

Sure, some famous writers, actors, big company leaders, social activists, ministers and speakers who share their success clues on talk shows, seem to be the epitome of the success we all lust after. They have all the external proof, even genuine smiles and twinkles in their eyes. But when all is said and done, even they know in their heart of hearts that they are still to some degree, overcoming some failure in failing to notice what they have been failing to notice all along. This invisible truth is that there is a very thin line between success and failure, and one can turn into the other before you realize it and may not really be ready for it, when your purpose gets out of focus…from the pleasurable glitz of success or brutal pain of failure.

For us all, it is a good thing to continually discipline ourselves to remember what our main purpose is in what we are doing right now. My main purpose in this brief article is to share this “one thing” that I suddenly but gradually stumbled upon one day by serendipity. Actually I just did what we are all doing—wading through this turbulent sea of chaos overload to find some simplicity to grab a hold of to get ready for the next storm.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net