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The Illusions of Success and Failure

Opposite Ends of the Same Pole

For most of my life, I have been afraid of failing. If I tried something and didn’t understand it or didn’t do it right, I felt I wasn’t as intelligent as others or that I didn’t measure up to the expectations of parents, teachers, and society. In effect, I was a failure. The funny thing is I have also been afraid of success. Any time I came close to realizing a dream or becoming successful, my mind would come up with all sorts of road blocks, telling me I didn’t deserve the success or that I wasn’t capable. Those road blocks paralyzed me and kept me from my dream. All this did was reinforce to me that I was a failure. Even when I made it past my mind’s road blocks and achieved something, I still felt like a failure deep down, no matter how many I had.

A few years ago, I started looking at each of these concepts and the beliefs, thoughts and reactions behind them. It was then that I realized something shocking and enlightening at the same time –
the fear of failure is the same as the fear of success. They are merely opposite ends of the same pole of energy. That energy is tied to a belief that we aren’t good enough, something we are taught, but not the truth about us. Not being good enough is, therefore, synonymous with being a failure. I realized the concepts of success and failure are nothing more than part of a system set up to keep that belief intact.

Let’s take a look to see how this system works. I am trained to believe I am not good enough which means I am a failure right out of the gate. But, I can’t bear to live my life as a failure, so in order to survive, I need an antidote .¨ success. Success means I achieved something and this achievement means I am no longer a failure. But, success in the system is nothing more than a method of coping with the belief that I am a failure and since I’m not really a failure, success is an antidote to nothing.

Success doesn’t give us what it promises because it doesn’t lead us to feeling good enough. We might have a moment, or perhaps a few days, of feeling good enough, but the feeling subsides. Any so-called success is short-lived. This makes success meaningless as a remedy to believing we are failures. The fears of success and failure might appear to be different from each other or be motivated by different stories in the mind, but their origination point is the exact same.

The system that taught us we are not good enough is one of conditions and judgments. We can see that success and failure is the same .¨ based on conditions and judgments. The system decides what conditions must be met in order for us to be okay, but the judgments never allow us to meet those conditions. It’s like a sick, twisted game. The only way to win is not to play. To get out of the game, we have to see the truth.


Letting Go of the Game

Success and failure is a game we play in a world where we are taught that we are not good enough. However, in a world where we know the truth about ourselves, that we are and always have been good enough, successes and failures aren’t options. The game doesn’t even exist. That’s because concepts that are built on a lie have no meaning where the truth prevails. Take away the lie and all concepts associated with it vanish.

We can prove this. Imagine for a moment that you feel good enough. In this moment, how could you ever feel like a failure? Feeling good enough and being a failure carry completely different energies. One is the energy of truth. The other is the energy of a lie. The two don’t mix. In fact, they are mutually exclusive.

Now, let’s go one step further. Let’s deal with the success. Imagine, again, that you feel good enough. What success do you crave? What is its meaning in your life? What is its purpose? There is none. Being successful no longer serves the purpose of hiding your belief that you are a failure from you because you no longer believe you are a failure. The game of success and failure is over the moment you find your way back to the truth about you.

Many of us are completely unaware of this game because its true origin has been kept in the dark. The game is well-supported, too, as we are told how many failures Thomas Edison had before he invented the light bulb or that children who don’t make the highest marks in school .≤can still have a meaningful life’. It’s sheer madness when you take a closer look at it. Shining the light on this game exposes it for what it is. This allows us to connect with what we know to be true in our hearts and begin healing from the error in our training.

How do we let go of the game if we can’t find a way to believe we are good enough in this moment? We can make a pact with ourselves not to think in terms of success and failure. Instead, we simply understand that everything is just an experience. For example, I decided to start making healthier treats at home. I picked an organic, low sugar banana bread recipe to bake. My first one went off without a hitch. It was moist and had a wonderful mix of cinnamon, vanilla and banana flavors. The second banana bread I made was dry. The consistency was loose and it was kind of tasteless. I didn’t see this as a failure, though my training would tell me I did, indeed, fail. And I could easily validate that failure by comparing it to my first banana bread or by comparing it to my mother’s banana bread, which is always yummy. But, dry banana bread is not a success or a failure .¨ it’s an experience.

Isn’t everything just an opportunity to learn how to do something or how not to do something? Learning doesn’t equal failure in any book. So instead of considering ourselves failures or being afraid of it and hoping we can get something right that makes us a success, let’s look get rid of these elusive concepts completely. When we know the truth about who we really are, we no longer need to play games. We can simply enjoy life .¨ we can simply live.



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