CREATING SUCCESS – WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Everyone wants to be successful. Right? Everyone wants to find the magic key that will open the door to this exclusive club. We’re so focused on gaining entry, that we perhaps forget to think about what this club will actually look like. What benefits will being a member afford us?

When I began this project of imagining a more creative life, I thought success would mean posting a daily blog about my observations, my discoveries, my—for lack of a better cliché—journey. It’s doable, of course, but I soon began to realize that maybe this wasn’t the kind of success I was looking for. Posting a daily blog would mean sacrifices in other areas. What if It was 11:50 pm and the blog was not my best work? Should I still post it so that I didn’t miss that day? Would posting a crappy blog constitute success? (Sadly, I’m sure this happened on occasion.) What if there is a family gathering and I can’t go because I haven’t got my blog written yet and I still need to find a suitable photo? Suppose I spend all day developing my blog content and then there isn’t any time or energy left over to write the next chapter of my work-in-progress. I’m not a professional blogger after all, I’m a novel writer.

You see what I mean. How can I define success as a daily post if it means neglecting those parts of my life that are very important? Success, as it turns out, is a slippery creature. What if we find that magic key and then when we open the door to the success club, we discover it is not what we wanted after all?

 

In his book The Happiness Equation, Neil Pasricha tells people that they should think about what kind of success they want. Commercial success? Fame? Emotional success? When he wrote his blog that became The Book of Awesome, he put achieving that daily blog ahead of everything. Sleep. Friends. Social gatherings. Yes, he wrote awesome blogs (I know, bad pun!) He was witty and creative, putting a fresh spin on everyday stuff. Brilliant. His blog became a hit very quickly and commercial success followed. But before you put commercial success at the top of the list, you need to understand that it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without a cost. Success breeds success and suddenly his calendar is more packed than a sardine can. There is time for little else. That’s not a bad thing. But it’s not for everyone.

Okay, back to imagining. What was my goal, really? I wanted to expand my view of creativity, to challenge my brain in innovative ways, and yes, to be happier. None of this sounds connected to the outside world. My goals were all intrinsic ones, mattering only to me. Not extrinsic ones in which the world recognizes my newly abundant life. Posting a daily blog, then, does not exactly match. I know why I chose that, though. I wanted to force myself to actually put in the effort to be more creative, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s no point in beating yourself up over not meeting a definition of success which is not your intended goal. Be honest with yourself. If what you want to do is to write a book about your life for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to read, then be excited when you reach that goal. Don’t get frustrated if it isn’t picked up by a large publishing house. Maybe that’s not why you’re writing.

How then, will I determine success in this leg of the trek? Not a daily post. Still, I do want to iispire myself to stay the course. After five months of saturating myself with ideas for creativity and imaginings, I have learned a lot. I’m very happy with what I have discovered and how these discoveries have changed me. But now, I’m ready for something that I can really sink my teeth into. I’m ready to move into Part II of this adventure. What I want to do is to create more structured activities which make use of the various ideas I learned about in Part I. I’d like to create a kind of Imagination course that helps us all to be more creative. Hmm. I think this has potential. But as with anything creative, it has to be somewhat organic. I have to allow the format and the process to flow and change as I learn more about how our brains work and what inspires us to action.

Not all treasures are gold.

As for my blog posts, I’m not going to bail on them, but I’m not going to imagine that they will be daily. At the same time, I do want to keep you posted as to my progress with this idea of an imagination workbook. Every week I will post a few activities for you to try.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, imagine success!

Published by Lois Donovan

Author of historical time travels, THE JOURNAL and WINDS OF L'ACADIE, Lois is in demand as a speaker/presenter at literary conferences and young writers' conferences and teachers conventions. Lois grew up primarily in Riverview, New Brunswick, but has called Calgary home for many years. Currently, Lois enjoys life in Calgary with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

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