Stimulating Life

Life introduces all sorts of intrusions that activate our senses — and it is in our best interest to find favorable interpretations. It is undeniable that a pleasant perspective of events creates more enjoyable moods. If we focus our thoughts on what we prefer, and adjust our attitudes toward the positive, we feel better.

But maybe it’s more than that. Perhaps life provides a stimulus and our reaction determines actual outcomes. Under this theory, life regularly introduces random stimuli and our thoughts determine what physically occurs. For instance, is it a simple pain in our side or something more sinister? Under this theory, we decide. But this is not typically a conscious decision because it tends to be made for us by preexisting beliefs.

But what if we were able to make it a conscious decision by using mental discipline to alter our beliefs and select the option we prefer. We already know about the power of placebos and nocebos, so part of the theory has already been proven to a point. But where exactly is that line of demarcation? Is there a real dividing line or is it simply a matter of belief? How much can thought influence outcome?

Perhaps life is like a computer simulation, and inhabitants actually program their lives in real-time based on expectations. If we alter our expectations, we may receive different results. Why do outcomes vary so wildly between individuals despite following similar paths? But even if this theory isn’t true, there’s a benefit to believing it.

If we truly believe that our expectations influence life’s outcomes, then we’ll make sure to monitor our minds, actively pruning out the negativity. We dare not think dour thoughts lest they come true. If we keep ourselves from pessimism, we’re cheerier. With this practice, we’re using anxiety as a means to maintain lighthearted moods — fear facilitating felicity.

Personal Success

Do not be seduced by popular depictions of success.
Your success is the vision that resides solely within your mind.
Because it is personal, it is achievable.
As a dream tailored to your traits and abilities, be confident in its outcome.

Within the mind, picture what pleases you — see without limits.
Now construct that image from the raw materials provided by life.
Push and pull, creatively crafting the life you imagined.
Persist patiently as you labor lightheartedly.

Catosaurus Success

If I asked you to draw a picture of a Catosaurus, how are you going to do it unless you envision what a Catosaurus looks like? So how are you going to attain success unless you have a clear picture of what that means to you? Success is simply the fulfillment of your vision. But the actual vision differs from person to person.

You’d be scribbling all day not drawing much of anything until you took time to define what a Catosaurus looks like. And once you do, you’ll need to bathe in the imagery until you can picture it. And once the image is clear in your mind you can set about attempting to draw it.

If you believe you lack the ability to draw, then you’ll continue to scribble. You’ll need to instill in yourself the belief that drawing isn’t as hard as you thought, that with a bit of effort you can do it. There is nothing mystical about the steps to success — you’ve already had plenty of practice. Throughout your life, in any task you performed, you envisioned an outcome and had confidence in its completion.

For many, success is not as intuitive as the other tasks we do. And often, we get confused by other people’s visions instead of focusing on our own. Because of all that, we have to purposefully engage in the steps we typically take for granted. We have to envision what we want and keep reminding ourselves until we’re able to picture it without reference material. Then we have to keep reminding ourselves that we can do it.

Drawings don’t have to be perfect. No matter your believed ability, you can attempt to draw a Catosaurus. And that’s all success is asking of you: just try to fulfill your vision. It might not be a perfect rendering of your imagined image, but so what, you tried and had fun while doing it. That’s success, that’s it. Success is not a magical formula nor the secret to happiness — it’s sculpting your life into the image you see within your mind.

In any medium, there are obstacles to overcome and imperfections to workaround. This is a lifelong process, so settle in for the long-haul, get comfortable, have patience. Just think, if success was instantly attained, what else would you do with your time? But don’t get lost to the process either, keep progressing, keep chiseling away. And in the end, you’ll have your work-of-art.

Summary of Success

The world is malleable — you can alter it.
Don’t accept preexisting definitions of life.
Define life in a way that feels right to you.
There are no limitations but those you accept.
Everything achieved began as a dream.

Describe and visualize what you want to achieve.
Believe in the certainty of your vision.
Replace unhelpful thoughts with constructive ones.
Ponder with positivity, accept only supportive reasons.
The mind defines reality. The mind can be controlled.

Refuse fear. Ignore weakness. Imagine strength.
For every decision, just choose and commit.
Focus on the destination, not the forks.
Travel daily toward your destination.
Accept assistance, provide assistance.

Exert until it works.
Find reasons that maintain motivation.
Look for and follow examples.
Practice perfect outcomes with your thoughts.
Believe in the limitlessness of life.

A focused mind brings forth the fruits of life.

Notes on Success

The world is malleable, and you have the ability to alter it.
Your life is not a static story written by others, but a dynamic adventure told by you.
Do not define your life by the worldview of pessimistic minds that lack creativity.
Define life in a way that feels right, and create the character you will become.
Those things once thought impossible began as ideas in the mind.

Picture what you want to achieve and who you want to become.
Vividly visualize details of success, enough to evoke feeling.
Convince yourself of the certainty of these outcomes.
Observe and evaluate your thoughts, replacing the unhelpful with the constructive.
Practice perfection in the mind.

Know with certainty that you can achieve your goal.
Do something daily that gets you there.
See success in the mind, visualizing the result — reinforce regularly.
Develop a reason that maintains your motivation.
Follow the path of others already there.

Focus, maintain unwavering certainty of vision.
Believe in the limitlessness of life.
Decide decisively, trust, do, don’t hesitate.
Decisiveness brings about intensity of focus.
With limited data, no decision is perfect, just choose and commit.

Refuse fear.
Ponder with positivity, accept only supportive reasons.
Ignore weakness, imagine strength.
Persistence, try until it works.
Accept assistance, provide assistance.

Achievement begins with belief.
You have the ability to influence and direct your mind.
Your thoughts define reality.
See a clear picture of what you want.
Become familiar with success via visualization.

Write down a description of your success.
There are no limitations but those you accept.
Practice focusing your mind, this is mental discipline.
The fruits of life are a product of mental discipline.
The ills of life result from a lack of mental discipline.

Spirituality and Success

Success is not about seeking to solve internal angst by external achievement. Success is simply the materialization of imagination. In the mind, we have a vision of what our life should be, and success is the process of fulfilling that vision. This is the very definition of creativity i.e. bringing our internal imagery to life. And how well we perform this task doesn’t matter, the point is to enjoy the process.

Spirituality on the other hand, is about seeking a deeper satisfaction with life. By its nature, satisfaction is an internal quest, so external success does not contribute to the removal of discontent. Success cannot replace spirituality, yet they are compatible. It is incorrect to assume that pursuing a spiritual path means we must forego a path to external success.

Because of their compatibility, we can combine spirituality and success through artistic expression. This means we attempt to shape our external life based on the mental picture we have of ourselves. This is a lighthearted approach, we’re not obsessed with the pursuit, we simply do it for the enjoyment of the activity. As sculptors we shape our lives into a work of art.

Spirituality and success don’t mix only when we misinterpret their nature. One sits on the surface and the other below it. Spirituality is the foundation and success is the visible manifestation. We cannot achieve satisfaction through success and we must avoid over-attachment to our art. When the tide comes in and our sandcastle crumbles, we simply smile.

Questionable Success

-You keep mentioning belief as a means to success without providing a detailed plan of attack, a business plan or something similar. Where are the specifics?

That’s because it all starts with belief. It’s not about the details, but the certainty of outcome — it really doesn’t matter how I get there. I’m in full-on magic-mode, not allowing any limiting beliefs to enter my mind while keeping my options open.

-Isn’t that crazy talk?

I’m skeptical too, but I’m in the process of dismantling that skepticism, as it’s a limiting belief.

-But don’t you need a means to success? It’s like you’re trying to get from A to B without some form of locomotion.

The first step is wanting to get to B. Beyond that, I’m leaving myself open to various modes of transportation, even those I may not realize exist. I’d prefer something quick and comfortable.

-Isn’t this trying to get something for nothing?

Belief and mental discipline are real things, their cultivation takes real effort. My current attempt at success through belief is the culmination and application of a decades long practice of mental discipline. Previously, I used that discipline as a means to develop an internal satisfaction with life. Now I’ll be using it to develop external success.

-Aren’t those opposite pursuits? If you’re internally satisfied, why should you care about your external situation?

In some ways I’ve lived a monk-like existence. And fundamentally, I don’t care whether I achieve success since I’m already satisfied. But I’m here on Earth for the time being, and games are fun. For the most part, I sit watching other people play, and I’m entertained by it. In this instance, under conditions I agree to, I’m going to attempt to play a bit. In a sense, my mission is to obtain a more comfortable place to sit.

-What sources are you getting your guidelines of success from?

I read a success-related book a while ago, watched a few video clips of success gurus, and also watched some videos by people that credit mental discipline and belief as crucial in their attainment of success. But what became clear pretty quickly, was the overlap of what they were saying about mental discipline and belief and the things I already knew from my previous experiences. It’s the same underlying principles applied to different aims. One aim seeks satisfaction with life and the other aim seeks the materialization of thought.

-But isn’t “cessation from want” a primary goal in achieving satisfaction with life? Are these goals contradictory?

Success is not about recklessly chasing wants, but expressing one’s creativity. Creativity is the process of implementing one’s imagination. In our minds we see what our lives should be, and success is the fulfillment of that vision.

-But it appears that you’re chasing your desires, no?

No. I’m simply trying to bring about the vision that appears in my mind — like painting a picture. I’m not obsessed with perfecting each stroke, I’m not worried about my skills, I’m just out in the park, painting to the best of my ability, attempting to complete a picture while enjoying the activity.

-What if your painting is all messed up, shouldn’t you try to make it look good?

I don’t care how my painting appears when done. I’m more concerned with whether I had fun while painting it. As part of my pursuit of success, I’m hoping to demonstrate that a lighthearted approach to life can lead to both happiness and success.