Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must be ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of ones surrender to a person other than oneself.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.
-Viktor Frankl; Man’s Search for Meaning
Easily one of the most impactful set of words I have ever read.
It makes me think of the Tao Te Ching, a book that did a lot to show me the importance of being detached from the outcome of things and zeroed in on the process. They say “the journey is the reward”.
translation by Charles Johnston:
Heaven and Earth endure.
If they endure, it is because they live not for themselves. It is because of this that they endure.
So the Master puts himself after others, yet remains the first.
He is detached from his body, yet conserves his body.
Is it not because he has no desires for himself, that all his desires are fulfilled?
The spirit of goodness is like water.
Water excels in going good to all, yet strives not.
It seeks the lowly places rejected by others.
Therefore he who is like this, draws near to the Way.
His chosen dwelling place is in humility.
His heart loves the depth of the abyss.
His gifts are given with impartial love.
He speaks words of faithfulness.
His government brings peace.
He is skilful in all he undertakes.
He acts in all things with timeliness.
He strives against none, therefore he is not opposed.
I love this idea of getting out of the way and allowing space for the important things, things we seek, to happen naturally. You might have to have some serious patience and work on your inner peace and comfort to deal with the slowness. You have to learn pure humility. But “in the long run”, if you get there, it seems like what you wished for really will have manifested…and in a real way–not some cheap, shortcut alternative you bought on Amazon.
It’s wild to me how much wisdom is out there..but how we’re totally naive to it until we feel it for ourselves. We seem to take for granted the fact we don’t just come out of the womb knowing everything about everything..
When quotes have inspired me to follow some intuition or taken me to some new understanding of the world, I’ve made an effort to write them down. It seems like time to start sharing some of them. I hope they might inspire someone else struggling to make sense of all this chaos we think we understand so well.