The 7 Cs of Success

[Credit: I totally stole these from Ryan Holiday at Daily Stoic. In turn, he got them from an interview with the modern philosopher Tom Morris.]

  1. A clear CONCEPTION of what we want, a vivid vision, a goal clearly imagined.
  2. A strong CONFIDENCE that we can attain that goal.
  3. A focused CONCENTRATION on what it takes to reach our goal.
  4. A stubborn CONSISTENCY in pursuing our vision.
  5. An emotional COMMITMENT to the importance of what we’re doing.
  6. A good CHARACTER to guide us and keep us on a proper course.
  7. A CAPACITY TO ENJOY the process along the way.

I’d add to that list: A strong COFFEE! šŸ˜€

I’ve Found My Life’s Purpose

People nowadays rightfully expect more from their lives than in previous generations. It’s not enough to merely have a good job, car, partner and a nice place to live.

Young people these days are crying out for something more. They’re looking for meaning.

Lots of us still dream of a fat pay cheque and getting rich. But many of us also realise that money, fame and success are ultimately hollow.

Once you have a roof over your head and can pay your bills, more money doesn’t make you happier.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to scratch an itch… I’ve been wanting to fulfil my potential. And I’ve been looking into different ways in which I might achieve that goal.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a pair of blog posts in which I explored this issue:

For almost 3 months, I’ve been attending a 12 Steps fellowship for my issues with drug addiction. It’s been a revelation. I’m changing massively.

“I used to think that drugs were the problem, but they weren’t. It was me that was the problem… me and my fucked up thinking.”

Bollinger, R. (2019)

Lofty goals can be worthwhile. But they’re by no means the most important thing.

Rather than trying to earn X amount of money, or achieve a certain level of success in my career, here’s what I’ve realised…

Who I am on a day-to-day basis is way more important than my job title or how much I earn. It’s my character, my everyday behaviour and the type of person I am that’s truly important.”

Bollinger, R. (2019)

My Life’s Purpose

I want to live every day in alignment with a set of spiritual principles, which include:

  • Honesty
  • Courage
  • Love, Compassion & Kindness
  • Gratitude
  • Awareness & Attention
  • Humility & Open-mindedness

And where I can, I want to help others to fulfil their own potential.

I also want to keep a primary focus on the here & now (the present), rather than worrying about the future or getting depressed about the past. Mindfulness will be my primary tool for achieving that.

Success as a By-Product

As long as I’m living according to the above principles, then I expect success (however you want to define that) will follow as a by-product.

I won’t need to chase money, status or prestige. If I have the right attitude towards myself and others, those things will come naturally.

At least, that’s my hope. I have faith in myself and my Higher Power.

Blogging: Counterpoint

“Produce content that your audience wants to read.”

(Common advice for bloggers)

“Produce content that feels meaningful or important to you. You won’t resonate with everyone, but your tribe will love your work. In other words, Be Yourself, don’t contort yourself to be what you think other people want you to be.”

(Better advice)

Who embodies the latter advice (in my opinion)?

  • PewDiePie (probably the world’s most famous YouTuber)
  • Flume (musical genius)

Can you think of other people who do this, and are also hugely successful?

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Your attention is the most valuable commodity you own. Are you happy with how you’re spending it?

Facebook and Instagram used to be very good at capturing my attention, often for multiple hours per day. I’m not saying I got zero benefit from them, but on balance I think they were doing me more harm than good. So I quit them.

I now think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are harming society as a whole more than they’re helping us. I used to be a huge fan of big tech companies and shared their utopian vision of the future. Now, after witnessing scandal after scandal, I eye them with deep scepticism and caution.

Our species doesn’t have sufficient wisdom to properly manage our use of the technological marvels that we’ve been developing at breakneck pace in recent decades.

I think it’s important to admit the truth to ourselves, even when it feels uncomfortable. Putting my ego to one side, here’s one of those uncomfortable truths I’ve realised about myself recently: there’s definitely scope for me to improve how I spend my attention.

Just like social media, I don’t think videogames aren’t inherently bad. But when I use them to distract myself from arguably more important things, perhaps I haven’t quite got the balance right.

Being rich, having expensive possessions, achieving a certain level of success in a career… I don’t think these things are particularly important. I’m not a material person. I don’t care much for social status.

Here’s what I feel is actually important: how I spend my time and attention in the small, day-to-day happenings of life… Listening carefully and attentively to my wife; Grooming, training and caring for my dogs; Reading books, learning and growing.

If we don’t take charge of how we spend our attention, someone will come along and steal it from us. Social media, trashy TV, sensationalist newspapers – they’re all masters of hijacking human psychology and emotions… for their own profit.

What matters most to you in your life? Are you dedicating sufficient time and attention to those things? In what ways are you wasting your time and attention more than you’d ideally like?

I love videogames, I really do. They bring a lot of pleasure and enjoyment to my life. They even help me deal with depression when it hits hard. But I have to be careful that I don’t retreat into videogames too much.

As Jordan Peterson would say, I have to remind myself to do what’s meaningful, not just what’s expedient (or fun).

Engaging with reality, admitting difficult truths to ourselves, and doing the right thing – these things rarely feel comfortable. But it’s important that we do them anyway.