Acceptance or Manipulation

If the underlying nature of success is beyond our understanding, how can we attain success?

To use a modern smart phone, we don’t need an understanding of its underlying technology. Typically, we observe and emulate others while experimenting on our own. But of course, we must have access to similar devices and opportunities or else the principles we see may not apply to our particular situation. For instance, if I apply the principles of a touch-based tablet to a standard TV, I’ll be left with fingerprints and confusion. And due to chance, even a similar approach can lead to different results.

It seems as though the attainment of success has been put beyond our direct control. This doesn’t mean success is unattainable, it just means we don’t run the show. So either we accept life’s plan for us and graciously live out our role — or we attempt to manipulate life through some intangible mechanism, what some might call magic.

And when examining humanity throughout the ages, it appears that magical thinking plays a very prominent part in people’s lives. People engage in rituals, make wishes, sacrifice, and avoid certain activities, all in the hopes of influencing their environment. At the very least, we can see that thoughts influence our satisfaction with life — so in that sense, magical thinking does have the power to impact our lives.

To answer the question, how can we attain success, there appears to be two options. If we believe life has a plan for us, then success is attained through the appreciative acceptance of our role, brought about through living our life authentically. Otherwise, if we believe in a plan we devise for ourselves, then success is attained through the achievement of our goal, brought about through the manipulation of life by the application of some intangible mechanism.


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