Routing the Roots of Failure
I was asked recently by a young fellow, why so many successful persons appear unhappy. He was wondering if success actually deters true happiness. I think a lot of young people have puzzled over this; and have wondered about the values in life, which are related to, what I so often call, “The Success Syndrome” or “success is all that counts in life,” “getting ahead,” “achieving,” “overcoming.” In other words, does success come at the expense of a person’s life or at the expanse of his inner life? Jesus said [paraphrasing]: “What will a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his True Self? Or, what can he give that will buy that Self back?” [Matt. 16:26: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”]
The person who appears successful, but who is really frustrated and unhappy, is one who, more than likely, has never really achieved success, at all. Like Esau, [Genesis 25:23-34] he may have sold his birthright for a “mess of pottage.” Success must deal with that birthright, with the discovery of the True Self and the expansion of it by investing the Self in the creative endeavors of life. This may very well, ultimately reveal rewards and prosperity and things, too; but they will be added, something special, something extra. On the other hand, failure may be said to be frustration of the Inner Potential of the person. It does not, necessarily, deal with position in life or earning or any other widely accepted indicators. It is a matter of failing to utilize the God-given abilities to their fullest.
Now, obviously, I’m dealing with a definition of success and failure that is a little different than the norm by which we judge things in life. But one thing must be stressed: The success that I am talking about is not measured by how our lives compare with others. It is a purely personal thing, the fulfillment of our own potential and the goals that we set for ourselves. It is not a matter of whether we have progressed in “keeping up with the Joneses,” it is more a matter of whether we progress in keeping up with ourselves.
The roots of failure go very deep within the person, and they must be routed out. No matter what the world says or implies about you, you are God’s greater possibility. You are the very self-livingness of a Creative Process, thus you have a tremendous potentiality in the process of unfolding in you and as you…if you give way to it. You may be discouraged at the reluctance of the world to open doors for you, but it remains that you are God’s Living Enterprise, and you cannot fail! This is because God cannot fail! The Success Potential in you is the continuation of the Divine Effort that made you in the first place. Get that into your consciousness. The Success Potential in you is the continuation of the Divine Effort that made you in the first place. It is important to condition yourself to believe that you are surrounded by a Divine Presence that wishes good for you, because you are expressing Its Life. In other words, “You have a good thing going for you!” So, believe it! And act as if it were impossible to fail!
I’ve talked with so many persons who desire to overcome their limitations and to find success—timid people, nervous people, indecisive people, people seemingly barred from life’s opportunities by reasons of their race or their nationality or their background or sex or creed. My advice has always been, “Turn on the green lights! Turn on the green lights!” And, I want to convince every person that they can succeed if they genuinely want to, and if they are willing to work at it, and if they have sufficient faith, to simply act as if they have enough faith!
Many of us have stopped at many a “red light,” limited beliefs that slow us to a halt or cause us to accept the belief of mediocrity or perpetual failure. One such limited idea is the thought that “opportunity knocks only once.” And I say, “Bosh!” to that. Many an unsuccessful person can tell of the time, or times, when he had his chance and muffed it. So he has resigned himself to a drab experience, because he had his “opportunity that only knocks once.” And this is just, absolutely, untrue! The only real failure is in giving up! Opportunity knocks once, but it means it is constantly knocking…it never stops! You may suffer reverses, but if you keep on and keep on keeping-on, you will, in the end, succeed.
Giving up too readily is based on an inner feeling of inadequacy, which must be routed out. If you subconsciously feel that you are a failure, you will stop short of success and achievement every time, because you hold the thought of failure in you. In a sense, it may be said that you are looking for chances to prove that you are a failure, because you believe that’s what you really are. Time and again, defeats and disappointments are suffered, only to achieve success and realize desires…finally.
Modern research has been called “the art of successful failure.” The researcher profits by each reverse and goes on to find right answers—and no one can ever be a good researcher unless he has the willingness to pick himself up and go on and keep on. Take the idea: “Opportunity is wherever I am! Everyday I am expecting new things to happen, better things to express! Every day is a brand new beginning in which my world is made new!” Turn on the green lights, and turn them on everyday of your life. Affirm for yourself something like: “All systems are go! This is the day of opportunity for me! I have a good thing going for me! I’m God’s living enterprise, and God cannot fail!”
Don’t postpone your good by giving in to the dread disease of “tomorrow-itis.” Procrastination has been called “the art of keeping up with yesterday.” Here are just a few symptoms of tomorrow-itis: “Oh, I’ve been too busy.” “I just haven’t had a chance to get at it.” “I’ve been wanting to do it, but I may do it tomorrow.” Remember, Goethe* says, “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has power, genius, magic in it. Only engage and the mind grows heated. Begin and the work will be completed.”
Positive thought is a “green light.” Negative thought is a “red light.” Keep the green lights turned on in your life and don’t be influenced by what “they say” or what they don’t say. The Apostle Paul’s statement to the Romans, as rendered in the Phillips translation, says it very articulately: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within.” [Romans 12:2] I’ll say that again: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your mind from within.” The world may say, “You can’t!” “You’re too old!” “This is not for you!” You say what you want to say! Say what you’re listening to…and don’t listen to what you’re saying. The failure syndromes around you may be oppressive, but you must know that if you keep the green lights turned on, you have something good going for you from within, and it will continue to direct you and influence you as a tremendous supportive process.
You are God’s Living Enterprise…and God cannot fail. Maybe you’ll not reach the top of the corporate ladder. Maybe you’ll never acquire all the material objects affluence can buy, but if these constitute your only goals, then you need to take another look at yourself. Are you seeking, simply, power and money and things, or do you wish true human success? The only real success is fulfilling your highest ideals and realizing your innate potentiality. And the only real failure is giving up short of that point, settling for anything less than the ultimate fulfillment of your desires and ideals. Keep on and keep on keeping-on!
© Eric Butterworth
* Johann Wolfgang von Goethe [1749-1832] German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist.