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How Do You Define Success?

What would it take for you to define yourself as a 'success'?

Hitler was a success in his efforts of conquest and domination, until Moscow and Stalingrad. Jack the Ripper succeeded in maintaining anonymity while mutilating and murdering. Jim Jones succeeded in leading 914 of his followers to drink poison cool-aid before killing himself. I have personally succeeded in deceiving and betraying friends, family and lovers.

Being successful is largely determined by how it is defined. The above examples should cast some doubt upon using a ‘personal’ definition of success. As individuals, we will twist, distort and deny reality to suit our purposes, especially when it comes to being and becoming a success according to our own definition.

Money - Appearance - Safety - Power - Freedom - Health - Praise - Comfort - Happiness - Longevity - Respect ...

These are some of the dimensions of Life that we in the West will usually use to create our own definition of success. How we define success is determined by our circumstances, culture, upbringing and experience. Let me put that another way; how we define success is determined by factors beyond our control.. If we are fortunate, we will have been exposed to virtues that will shape our vision of success with kindness, mercy and nobility. If we are less fortunate, we are exposed to experiences that twist our vision of success in ways that cause harm to our self and others.

My reaction to the news that a child killed and ate a cat is certainly dependent upon details. Calcutta = normal and successful, downtown Red Deer = pathological and perverse. If you live in a Brazilian ghetto, uncertain if you will make it through the night because you are surrounded by violence, corruption and suffering, your definition of success is much different than the son of a Royal family. For the first, success = survival, safety and shelter, for the latter success = comfort, pleasure and amusement.

Lately I have been bombarded with nauseating promises of ‘success’ by a multitude of resources. I now have a belly full of hollow junk-food definitions of success. While the definition I am laying before you is nothing special, I feel it is the deepest definition of ‘true’ success. The reason I feel this way is because, as hard as I try, I am unable to convince myself otherwise. So here goes. The two deepest factors that determine success are:

1. You are there for your Life moment by moment, awake, aware and attentive to your Life as it is unfolding, without condition. That is Awakened Attention

2. Your Life unfolds naturally, while succeeding at #1 above. That’s it.

How cool is that?

To support this definition I will simply ask you a series of questions. I imagine the questions will make obvious my rationale behind my statement "Awakened Attention is the most important thing you will ever learn. Period”. The questions? If you are not aware and attentive as your experience of Life is unfolding, moment by moment, what is really happening? Are you living on autopilot? Are you living your Life like a robot? Who or what is living your Life when you are lost in thought? What about right now, as you read these words? Where are you? Are you here?

If you ask yourself these questions honestly, you might be humbled. I know I am. Now, lets return to our definition of success. Can we define success without Awakened Attention? If you do acquire money, power and comfort while living a Life of programming and conditioning, is that success? If you are lost in the events of your Life and happen to experience freedom, health and happiness (like a good dream), is that success? If you achieve self-esteem, praise and public recognition because the factors of your Life allowed it to happen while you remain oblivious, is that success?

At any given moment your attention is either awake and aware, or you are asleep, living out programming and conditioning. If you are living out programming and conditioning, how successful is that? You might be making money and praised by others while acting on autopilot, but is that success? It sounds like a good dream to me. No matter how you slice it, a good dream is still asleep.

If you are not in your present experience with Awakened Attention, anything that is happening in your Life is happenstance, a product of factors occurring without your attention. Are you an Automaton, a slave to inattention and habit? Prove it. Be awake enough right now to read the last sentences below with full awareness, while also being aware of everything going on around you and inside of you and maintaining a relaxed and open attention.

Awakened Attention is the most important thing you will ever learnPsychology Articles, and it is the foundation upon which true success lies. Your Life is always happening now. Are you here for it? Are you successfully remaining connected to your Life? To fail at that is to miss one of the deepest yet most basic of all of Life’s possibilities and pleasures.

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Aaron has studied and taught Eastern and Western approaches to Life, healing and development for over 15 years. In that time, he has had the opportunity to share his understanding with thousands of others through a variety of forums including workshops, private consultations and written publications.

With a mission to help people live their lives more attentively, joyfully and passionately, Aaron McNaught founded Aaron McNaught Education/ Consultations in 2003. In addition to serving as the company's president, Aaron is also known to many as their transformational wake-up call. An experienced educator, author, healer practiced in both Eastern and Western philosophies, Aaron McNaught is your transformational wake-up call.

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