I was recently gifted an experience that turned out to be a Jungian exercise. Jung was the guy who came up with the collective unconscious. Somewhat indirectly, you can thank him for Luke being a whiner and Han being overly clever. Mostly, though, Jung was one of the founders of modern psychology. He believed that it was possible to tap into your subconscious using different techniques, and I was able to experience one of them. It wasn’t as mystical as it sounds, but it was fun.
You are probably not super shocked to learn that the question I was contemplating was “What is the nature of success?” This is a question that’s been on my mind for some time, because I realized a while ago that I was never going to be filthy rich, so that form of success was pretty much out. It occurred to me somewhat later that I could actually just choose a different definition for success, and I’ve been pondering that ever since. I feel almost like I’m cheating; changing the win condition because you don’t think you’re ever going to achieve the original one seems… disingenuous? Except that success is a game you play against yourself. We think of it as a giant socially constructed game where everyone agrees upon the win condition, but it’s not. Most people have answer if you ask them what success is, but they have probably not considered whether achieving that would actually make them happy. And, really, if “success” doesn’t make you happy, is it really success? So it becomes a game for and with yourself. You get to set the win condition to whatever you’d like, because you’re the only person it matters to.
I understood the activity that I took part in as a sort of guided meditation. After contemplating it for a while, I think I have more information on what success is, for me. It is less of a state to be achieved and more of a process to be experienced. I want this experience to include Beauty, Mystery, Grace, and Difficulties. Isn’t that last one odd? I *want* my life to include difficulty. Well, to be honest, it would be boring if everything were easy. Eating lunch with friends, I commented that I enjoy olives with pits more than olives without. One of my friends looked at me, and told me “That’s because you like things to be difficult.” Well, she’s not wrong.
I’ll be back to look a little more closely at what I mean by Beauty, Mystery, Grace and Difficulties.