Don’t We Love to See a Graceful Winner?
Success is meaningless. I realize that goes against everything you’ve ever heard, but it’s true. If you plan to drive to school or work and do so you’re a success. Big deal, huh? You drove to school or work.
So if success is meaningless, why are so many people driven to achieve it? Why do so many people want success in their lives? It’s not because of the success itself, it’s because of the feelings we experience when we succeed. The feelings of accomplishment, joy, and the way we like admiration from others when we succeed is just incredible. It causes our bodies to release powerful pleasure hormones. It’s like getting a mood-altering drug. We’re all “feelings addicts.”
That’s not a bad or good thing, it simply is. When we control our feelings we can use them to help propel us to amazing heights of personal, professional, and societal achievement. This can be good for us, those around us, and even for the planet. It feels great to succeed and we just love those feelings.
But feelings can be a detriment if we let them control us. In fact, when those feelings control our behaviors to an extreme it may result in issues such as obsessive-compulsive disorder that require professional intervention.
When it comes to success, sometimes the amazing feelings that accompany it aren’t enough. It’s not enough to feel joy at accomplishment. A dark part of ourselves may crave more.
Schadenfreude. It’s a German word with no English equivalent. It means taking pleasure in the pain or misfortune of someone else. When it comes to concepts of success, people who allow feelings of Schadenfreude to control them aren’t content with winning. Others have to lose. The more painful the loss to others the better you feel. It’s not enough that you get a better job, your competition for the job has to work for you or, even better, be fired. And to have even better feelings, you’ll gloat about it, even to the loser’s face. For some people, they can’t succeed unless you lose, and they have to rub it in. It’s the only way they can get the feelings they’re addicted to. Most people who themselves suffer from this either aren’t aware that people don’t like this attitude or don’t care what people think. This can lead to isolation and loneliness. “People don’t like me because I’m driven toward success!”
No. People don’t like you because you seem heartless, vindictive and cruel, even when you succeed. You’re a poor winner.
Luckily, you can avoid all this beginning with two simple practices:
1. Become aware of your feelings. Make a simple goal like waking every day for a week at an earlier time and exercising or stretching or reading during the extra minutes. When you succeed at achieving your goal, how do you feel? Do you feel wonderful over your success or do you need to tell other people and have them compliment you?
2. Observe someone who had a misfortune. Now, imagine that you benefited as a result of that person’s misfortune. Does it make you feel bad, good, or indifferent?
With these two observations you’ll discover whether you’re internally or externally motivated and whether you need others to fail for you to gracelessly succeed.
If you find pleasurable feelings from succeeding while others fail, spend a week practicing the “Mile in Their Shoes” meditation. Before going to sleep, spend just five minutes imagining what someone who failed feels like. How do they feel in front of their friends and loved ones, as well as not succeeding at their goals? This builds empathy so you no longer need to gloat over others.
If you found you needed the adulation of others to get positive feelings from success, spend just five minutes a day tuning in to where in your body you think you experience those wonderful feelings. Then, just will it to move to your heart. With a little practice of this technique you can become self-actualized. You’ll no longer need external adulation. You’ll feel wonderful without it and any that comes will be icing on the cake!
Donald Michael Kraig graduated from UCLA with a degree in philosophy, and has become a certified hypnotherapist and Master NLP practitioner. His book, Modern Magick, is the most popular step-by-step course in real magick ever published.