What? Wasn’t I just talking about how feelings don’t matter much in terms of success? Why would I suggest that success doesn’t matter?
Clearly, there is practical value in success. I’m certainly interested in success, I sitting here writing this, right? I’m trying to “wow” you with my wit and wisdom and trying to build a business. And, while part of that is because I like to help people, part of it is because I want your money. (I know, it’s shocking. A person doing work because they want to earn money. How ever do I live with myself?)
That said, I have no idea how much, if any, impact what I’m writing is having on you. (Well, maybe some idea, I’m pretty sure I’m a good writer.) Still, there are some of you who will blow this off. There are an awful lot of people who aren’t reading this. There are far more people not reading this than there are people reading it. Some of you will be influenced deeply, some will skim, some will start to read and decide I’m crazy.
I have no idea how successful this attempt to influence you will be; and, I don’t care. I really don’t care. Why not? Because, it doesn’t make any difference right now. Because, I can’t control it and don’t see much reason to waste my mental energy thinking about it.
If success happens, great! If you find yourself sucked in to my words and nodding along with everything I’m saying, fantastic! If you’re feeling so delighted that you want to tell all your friends about me, that’s amazing!
If no one reads this article, what have I really lost? Should I feel devastated? OK, I’ll feel devastated. No one’s reading my article! Woe is me! I should go crawl in a hole and die! What? You think that’s irrational? Why? Is it because I’m right and success doesn’t really matter?
People talk a lot about how failure doesn’t matter. That idea is already out there. I talk about it a fair bit myself. The thing is you’re never really going to be able to let go if you’re holding on to success either. If success matters, than “not success” is bad. Failure doesn’t matter, success doesn’t matter. It’s all just information and I have no control over it.
Sure, if I want something I have to make an effort. Absolutely I have to keep working at it. I do want people to read my articles, of course. I do want you to be influenced by me and come see me for therapy so I can support my family. I want to know that I’m making a positive difference in the world. But, does it matter whether any attempt succeeds? Does it really matter if most of my attempts fail? Does it mean anything?
Maybe there are valuable lessons in failure. Maybe success can teach me to do more of the same. Maybe I’m getting through to you. Maybe I’m wasting my time.
Maybe I’m really a llama.
Would that make a difference? What if I were a llama? Would that change how you feel about what I’ve written? Would it change whether these principles are valuable? Would it change your level of engagement? (Probably, I know that I’d be very interested in meeting a llama who could write as well as me.)
I know. I should be more upset that I’m not a llama. You’d pay more attention to me if I were. You’d be far more fascinated. Clearly being a llama is the key to financial success. There’s no way that I can succeed just by being my silly old self, is there?
What? You like my silly writing style? You find it a more engaging and entertaining way to learn? How shocking! I don’t think I believe it.
Still, success and failure are both unknown and unknowable and, ultimately, outside of my control. It doesn’t matter how much I want them. I don’t really control how you react. You’re free to roll your eyes. You’re free to walk away. You’re free to yell at your computer. You’re free to ignore me
Of course, you’re also free to respond positively. You’re free to laugh your head off. You’re free to keep reading. You’re free to think that I’m wise and worth listening to. You’re free to come back for my next article, if you think that. You’re free to decide right now to sign up for a session.
Heck, if you really wanted to, you’re free to lick your computer monitor. Go on do it. Lick your computer monitor! Do it! I said you should and now you have to! I am in control here! What? You’re not doing it? Why not? I want you to. I think it would be funny, don’t you?
What? I didn’t succeed at getting you to lick your monitor? Oh no!
Oh, the horror! The despair! You’re not doing what I said! You’re not letting me control you! It’s almost like you’re your own person with your own mind and your own will. How could such a thing be? How can I live with the reality that others have the freedom to choose? Clearly, I need to sink into the arms of despair! I tried and failed. I didn’t succeed! Woe! Agony!
Maybe I’ve convinced you, maybe I haven’t. Maybe you were already convinced of this before I started writing. Maybe this will stick in your memory and influence your thoughts and decision making for years to come. Or, maybe you’ve already left and I’m talking to an empty room. Maybe I’m just babbling to myself.
Oh, you’re still here? You’re still reading? Oh good, at least someone is. I don’t have to go jump off a bridge. You saved my life! What? You didn’t do anything? You don’t think that your choice to stay really made that much of a difference? You don’t think it should matter to me whether you stay or go? Huh. What an interesting idea!
I wonder where you thought of it?
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