Success is not a price tag. It is not a sum. It is not a story. It is not someone else’s envy or adulation.
And approval is compensation. It lives for only a burst, with a half-life barely long enough for you to catch your breath and get back onto the hedonistic treadmill.
The question is: What are you compensating for? The follow up is: What do you do once you satisfied yourself in the eyeballs of others?
When it disappears it leaves a hole even bigger than the one you intended to fill. Pleasure is finding treasure with the chest empty. Joy is discovering where you hid its contents.
Success proper remains regardless of the social contexts and its capricious conventions. It’s not only doing what you love, but being able to do anything else in its name. It’s when what you love to do loves you back.
Success is in the heart and only real beyond measure. It is its own benchmark and too complex to be grasped by human quantification in its current state.
It’s not about how much of it you have, but how much it has you. When you have found that truly unique and idiosyncratic bliss and you drop everything else to follow it like hell, it will follow you back just as much.
That is true success. To live by your rules only, in a constant revolution, never allowing yourself to be congealed in past conclusions. Melting and forming and melting and forming faster than the passage of time could record.
Success is not a destination, success is a direction. It’s lies not in the summit, but in your relentless drive to ascend it. It’s the mindset that focusses more on the baking than the cake. Because that is the mindset that yields the most.
In this mindset of excellence, tokens of consensus become wholly irrelevant. The only thing that matters at that point is how you can be, do and become that best you ever can. And it appears to be a paradox to those who have not had a taste of it.
Mediocrity is to rush from second to second and never quite arrive, excellence is to leap from confusion to clarity and defy the expectations of the incrementalists in the sea of conformity.
But the false measures of success are also a commodity. Measured by primitive standards, packaged into stories and fairy tales for wholesale consumption. It’s the nightmare at the end of a delusion that might initially feel like a paradise; to live in the dreams and pursuit of another’s success.
Only your own dreams, only your own visions, only your own essence, only your true presence, rarefied to something that exceeds categories, can show you where success is found.
You won’t find your true north by looking for advice out there, you can only find it by trusting in your madness deep inside.