“The Truth About Success That Most Of Us Need To Know.”
Bill Cottringer

“To succeed in life you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.” ~Mark Twain.

I have been an avid student of the success phenomenon for nearly 5 decades now, and the deeper I dig in studying this phenomenon, the more complicated it becomes (and maybe the more ignorant I become in finally seeing the light!). Earlier, I took issue with the over-simplicity of the “Law of Attraction” which led the masses to believe that all people had to do to become successful was to attract the success with their attractive thinking. However, what I suspect is now the case, after getting over 1 billion hits on a Google search for “success,” is that too many people are now feeling sentenced to a life of mediocrity, from the level of success they see in the clouds above.

The prevalence of feelings of failure to experience the hoped-for successes, even from excellent efforts to defeat adversity challenges and comparable patience for results, can be understood by considering a few possibilities with an open mind:

• The best things in life—especially the opportunities to experience life itself—do not happen very quickly. For instance, scientists tell us that it took billions of years for the universe to create just the right, delicate conditions that made way for life to happen. It really didn't happen in just 6-days as still believed in some circles but that is not an anti-religion fact at all. Back then when it was spoken and later translated and written, “days” may have not been a time made up by 24 hours of 60 minutes and sixty seconds. I don’t know I wasn't there.

• Current scientific research tells us that the principle of uncertainty from quantum mechanics rules consciousness on a biological macroscopic level. This translates to the reality that we can’t really predict success with certainty from efforts meeting opportunity, unless we take the time to know everything that is involved, most especially all the relevant conditions of the person at his or her starting point (and this is oversimplifying it). Of course, that could involve trying to understand billions of variables and their possible interactions and probable outcomes, which would take more than just a few lifetimes to understand. Unfortunately, right now time is of the essence.

• It is always possible that only a few of us are truly destined for glamorous public fame and fortune, such as elite athlete heroes, academy award-winning entertainers, history-changing politicians, Fortune 100 entrepreneurs, best-selling authors and the like; whereas the rest of us a destined for more mundane, but equally important roles of teachers, parents, employers, friends, public servants, and manual laborers. As a dear friend of mine, Anil Bhatnagar has reminded me numerous times, “perhaps we are born to be an orange tree and not a beautiful rose bush or great oak tree; we are given the opportunity and freedom to be the best possible orange tree we can be, but not something else.”

• Finding our main purpose in life in relation to the above point, is a huge part of genuine long-lasting success and happiness. Those who learn this purpose early on usually enjoy success and happiness the longest. But that doesn't adversely affect what matters most—the continuous opportunity to find and live this purpose that happens over and over again in the repeated moment of now, which is what matters most and all we can really experience. It is never too late in this regard.

• Timing is a very important component of success and unfortunately some of us don’t have the best timing, often being a day late and dollar short with a good idea that someone else nabs before us. And, as Abraham Lincoln warned us earlier, “Life always brings us two opportunities with the important things and it is a good idea to know when the first has come and gone." Again, it is unfortunate but some of us don’t even see the first opportunity coming or going.

• If there is such a thing as some form of reincarnation, it could be that true success doesn't come in just one lifetime or even a part of one, but rather all the “prep work” involves several previous lives and their remembered experiences. Grasping this possibility takes unusual patience waiting in the wind, especially when you feel success is your destiny. A smaller notion of reincarnation—the scientific theory of multiple universe histories happening—may allow for repeated chances to get purpose, timing and the efforts to be successful right, when you become more sensitive to the clues of the repeated chances.

• How you define success has a lot to do with how much or how little of it you have. Unfortunately, the standard objective definition of wealth, power and fame is inevitably reserved to the elite few and way beyond the grasp of most of us. So one alternative to make success more accessible in the here and now is to re-define success as more of a subjective perception and internal sense, maybe as a sense that you are making progress at achieving your goals along the way that signify enough success to you.

• If all else fails, success and the “Law of Attraction” may be even more simpler and accessible than we imagine and we just invent the obstacles that keep us from being more successful, in our minds, like the possibility of the above information all being untrue. After all, ordinary miracles can be observed every day, maybe just to let us know they are possible and not to quit trying for one.

Awhile back, Ken Wilbur wrote the book “Eye of Spirit.” In a sense, this book may have been the equivalent of Steven Hawking’s book, “The Theory of Everything” on a different plane. The most important take-away I received from reading Wilbur’s book was his objective criteria for judging the quality of a product, or the genuineness of any success in general. These four criteria are certainly worth considering in your redefining the term success to be more satisfied with the progress you are making towards your end game in life. The four criteria are in the form of questions for you to consider:

1. How difficult was it to complete your “product,” in timing, challenges and efforts? True quality and genuine success can’t be easily duplicated or copied.

2. Does your “product” communicate a clear understanding of and solution for an urgent and important social problem for the benefit of others? True quality and genuine success always result in making things better than they were before they happened.

3. Is your “product” unique and different from the rest of others out there? True quality and genuine success are not common.

4. Was your “product” created within a technically sound format and system? True quality and genuine success don’t happen by chance; most often you have to do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons to get the right results. That takes an integrated system and not isolated stabs.

At the very least, do consider re-evaluating your present definition of success. And in this case, a merging of subjective and objective evaluations of success may be in order as a smart creative compromise. The end result is more of something everyone needs more of.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” ~Vince Lombardi

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, Adjunct Professor at Northwest University, member of IACP since 2003, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the peaceful but invigorating mountains and rivers of North Bend. 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), “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden), and “If Pictures Could Talk,” coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or ckuretdoc@comcast.net