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Why Winning It All Doesn’t Guarantee Success

Why Winning It All Doesn’t Guarantee Success

When do we truly become successful? Success is ultimately achieved when you feel that you’ve reached your goals and feel content with yourself. But in today’s “shame culture” we are made to feel that we are never doing enough, or we’re not doing it well enough.

We live in a culture where the opinion of society weighs heavily on how we view ourselves. If we feel relished and praised by our peers, then we must be doing well; and if our efforts are overlooked, then we must be failing. This incessant need to win eventually takes a very negative toll on our self esteem.[1]

We are living in a generation where the shame culture is harsh.

Like it or not, some way or another we have all succumbed to shame culture.[2] Where we live in a state of constant need for acceptance from our peers. Here are some characteristics of shame culture, and the way that it affects our everyday lives:

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  • People carefully choose their words, afraid that they may violate a social norm.
  • Those who think “incorrectly” become targets for verbal flogging.
  • In light of a moral uproar, you must post and state your opinion; or you may become a target of ridicule for “not caring.”
  • Social media– the desire to be embraced and praised by the community is overwhelming.
  • Members of a group, clique, or “squad” may praise other members of the group, in order to receive praise themselves. For example: on social media, you need to comment and compliment the right people in order to get recognized and gain a following.
  • Natural leaders will rise within these groups; policing members of the groups in term of moral code, build their own power and reputation, and ostracize anyone who dares to deviate from the code set forth.
  • Social media is extremely unforgiving to those who do not “fit in.”
  • People demand instant respect from others for their squad, group, or clique. They will react very negatively or even violently if they feel that their group or sub-culture is being threatened in any way.

Winning it all could mean losing yourself.

Winning isn’t everything- that sentimental blast from the past still rings true, if not even more so these days. In a world where our daily activities are on constant display, it’s nearly impossible not to compare ourselves to others and their achievements.

When you get on the one way track to ultimate success, you tend to get tunnel vision. Your goals are all that matter to you, and failure is not an option. In fact, it’s the absolute worst thing that could happen, and life would no longer be worth living.

Well, what about the other aspects of life that do make it worth living? Relationships, experiences, adventures, friendship, or love. These are just the few of many factors that make a life full. When your only ambition is to succeed, you will end up neglecting these other areas of your life. Relationships will suffer. Those who love you will feel insignificant, as if you can’t be bothered to waste any of your precious time with them. Just remember that it’s awfully lonely at the top. And it will be even more lonely when you go to celebrate your successes, raising a glass to yourself; party of one.

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You have to ask yourself, is it worth sacrificing everything you love and hold dear in order to hold some level of prestige in the eyes of society?

How to Win at Winning

Don’t get me wrong, it’s imperative that you feed your passion and nurture your ambition. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when your self esteem has completely deteriorated due to unrealistic expectations, perhaps it’s time for some reflection and prioritizing.[3]

Don’t force things. It just makes more opportunities for mistakes.

You need to consider outstanding circumstances. Yes, your friend from high school may have started their own businesses, but their parents might have given them a loan to get them started. Another one of your peers managed to score a stellar job in a reputable company. But what you didn’t know is that they sacrificed their entire adolescence studying and completing internships in order to get there.

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We are all on our own journey. Everyone’s path is different, and we will all get to where we need to be when we are meant to get there. All you need to do is keep it moving, and keep your goal in mind.

Be very good at something, but not everything.

You can’t be good at everything, and what made one person successful isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Sure, many people are killing it in the IT field, and it sounds incredibly attractive. But if you struggle just to find the reset button on your computer, then this field probably isn’t for you. Focusing on your existing strengths and flex them.

For example: I wanted the freedom to be able to work remotely. I looked into Computer Programming and even took a few classes. It just wasn’t clicking. I felt like a failure. I considered what I’m already good at and decided to pursue those outlets instead. I decided to look into content writing; and here you have it. I am currently working from the comfort of a lovely neighborhood café.

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Keep the big picture in mind, but focus on small goals.

It’s important to keep the big picture in mind, but understand that you’re not going to rise to the top without putting any work in. Focus on small goals instead. Consider these the stepping stones that will ultimately pave the way to your success.

Push your own limits.

Again, I cannot stress this enough. Do not compare yourselves to others. Set your own realistic goals and strive for them. Once you start to make some leeway and find that things are falling into place, set the bar a bit higher to challenge yourself. But do this in increments. Don’t set unrealistic standards and then kick yourself for not being able to reach them.

Make more mistakes, and learn from them.

When you’re striving for success, you’re going to hit some dead ends. Don’t get too frustrated and let it discourage you. Mistakes are actually a good thing. Take this as an opportunity to learn from these obstacles, overcome, and grow from them. You’ll discover what you’re truly made of, and reach your goals at the pace that you were meant to reach them.

Reference

More by this author

Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

How We Are Confusing Self-Love with Narcissism In This Generation How Traveling Can Drastically Improve Your Interpersonal Skills 10 Best Lumbar Support Cushions That All Desk Workers Need See How Your Brain Can Ruin Any of Your Workout or Healthy Eating Plans. One Small Action Separates Success From Mediocrity.

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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