What do you need for success , and what don’t you need? All of the items on this list are great, but they’re not the be-all-end-all of success, living well, or making your dreams happen. So here are ten things you don’t need for success (with success being defined in whatever way you choose):
1.) An organized desk. “My desk is so disorganized,” someone says, as if that’s what keeps them from any hope of seeing their dreams come true.
The hyper-organized types in our society are few and far between. The idea that organization is tantamount to success is something that people use as a delay tactic to get started. And the grief so many of us give ourselves because we aren’t “more organized?” Goodness. Let’s just save that energy for something else.
2.) A specific, step-by-step plan. I believe in specifics, and I even believe in step-by-steps and plans. But if there’s too much rigid attachment to the step-by-step, lovely diversions along the way can be missed. Far better to go by instinct. Learn the art of following your inner YES.
3.) Schedules. You don’t need a new time-management system. You don’t need to prioritize your life down to the hour. I have a theory that this emphasis/pressure on scheduling our lives down to the minute as a measure of discipline or aptitude has something to do with school and how we did math at 10:00 followed by reading at 11:00 followed by lunch at noon and…you know, it’s taken me years to stop eating at noon just because it was noon, and start eating when I was actually hungry.
4.) A perfectly clean diet. Good grief, the energy I’ve put into finding the perfect diet, thinking that once I found it I would have boundless energy and no stress. What really brings a quality of calm to your day is how present you are in it, and whether or not you’re making a choice to be passionate about whatever it is that’s right before you.
5.) A private office. I love my office. It’s white-on-white gorgeousness. But I spend a fair amount of time writing at my local library, and if I spend too much time in here, I start to feel nuts. In fact, a home office makes self-care harder–because there’s always that thought, “Oh, I could head in there and get this or that done…”
6.) A meditation practice. Meditation is great, but presence is better. Noticing is better. Watching those judgements and opinions and where they create drama and disconnection in your life–all better. Meditation is a great vehicle for learning how to get good at the noticing and watching, but if you’re not making the time for it each day, far better to funnel the energy of beating yourself up into just noticing, watching, and being conscious about your choices.
7.) To work for yourself. Your life is a success because you say it is–because you claim your choices and are aligned with them. Working for someone else is not tyranny (unless you say so). Your life is not a success because you are the next “I quit my job and followed my dreams” poster child on the internet. You can be happy with a 9-5. You can be happy working for yourself.
8.) A lot of money. The quality of our lives depends more on how we claim our lives and our choices than it does on the money. Next time you’re worrying about money, consider asking yourself where in your life you aren’t “behind” your recent financial choices. What financial decisions have you made lately that you have a nagging feeling about? Which ones didn’t feel really great to make? Cut those out of your life, and you cut out a lot of the pressure to come up with a lot of money.
9.) To live an esoteric, minimalist existence. Some people feel less stressed when they aren’t surrounded by stuff. For others, kitsch is where it’s at. The people who rigidly preach minimalism like it’s gospel are ignoring the fact that people work in different ways. For some, a bit of clutter adds character. Know how you want to work, rather than emulating someone else’s style. In essence, let’s strike a balance between excess and minimalism.
10.) Constant internal monitoring. The inner critic/Ego/fear-based self, whatever you want to call it, that lurks within? Let’s soften that. Let’s have some gentleness. Let’s sink into the choices we make and get behind them, and then accept that some people will look at those choices and write a blog post on “10 Things You’re Not Doing That You Should Be Doing” and maybe those 10 things will be “Get organized!” and “Make a Plan!” and “Set a Schedule” and “Eat Right!” and all of those things. You get to decide what resonates with you, which of them will be necessary for making your life workable.