#1040 Don’t Aim at Success

Dedicate Yourself to a Cause Bigger Than Yourself

In our last +1, we spent some time with the master of true freedom: Viktor Frankl.

He tells us that freedom exists in the gap between STIMULUS and RESPONSE.

Specifically: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

In our Optimize Coach program, we talk about stepping in between a stimulus and our old response and choosing to FLIP THE SWITCH—stepping up and into the Optimus-best version of ourselves more and more consistently.

THAT is how we move from theory to practice to mastery.

Moment to moment to moment.

Today I want to chat about another one of my favorite pieces of wisdom from Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

It’s funny because every time I think of this wisdom, I have a vivid flashback to a moment nearly 15 years ago. I was in Austin. With John Mackey. In his living room. Chatting about Whole Foods and my biz at the time which was partnering with his non-profit that became the cornerstone of the Conscious Capitalism movement.

Somehow Frankl came up.

We both talked about how much we loved him and his wisdom.

Now, this is years before I started creating PhilosophersNotes, but even then I kept my favorite wisdom-passages handy (one of which happened to be the passage John most loved as well).

So…

I reached into my bag and pulled out that journal.

And I read this passage: “Again and again I therefore admonish my students in Europe and America: 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 ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s 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 about it.

That’s Today’s +1.

Remember: “Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…

And it only does so as the “unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.

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