What Does Success Take?

The great thing about loving what you do is that you’re never working. As proof of that I submit exhibit A my Christmas present… This year my mother bought me a book, always a traditional Christmas gift at our house, that has had me mumbling ‘Yesssss!’ and ‘I KNEW IT!” all day today as I read it and connected multiple examples in the text with the design of Dreamstepping. The book (I know you’re dying to know the title)is called ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell.

He’s the guy who wrote “The Tipping Point” and “Blink” both of which are sociological masterworks that shake your assumptions to the core. I love that stuff, I really do. With Outliers, Gladwell again gives your worldview a lovely little spin on its axis. This time about success and what it takes to achieve it. You’ll find yourself  looking at your success, your ambitions, and the way you set out to reach your goals in a whole new light.

What I like about the book of course, is that it lays out brilliant reasons why a program like Dreamstepping is so necessary for success and why ‘going it alone’ is so incredibly difficult. Gladwell drives home the point of how incredibly important cultural and demographic influences are on how we approach the world AND how blind we are to them.

Working in a group atmosphere with people who support and believe in you and whom you trust is critical for being able to see yourself and your actions in a way that points out your cultural blind spots. Especially with respect to asking for what you need with the expectation that you will receive it and are entitled to it. He goes into great detail about how intelligence and natural talent (the holy grails in our individualistic society) are simply threshold competencies. That is, you need a certain amount intelligence and talent to get anywhere but to succeed with your gifts you need much more. You need persistence, creativity and assertiveness all of which are difficult if not impossible to sustain alone. And all of us have been subtly and thoroughly programmed in the culturally acceptable use of creativity, assertiveness and persistence by our particular cultural upbringing. So much so that it is difficult to even see alternatives to our programmed ways of being and how we trip ourselves up without a supportive system to reflect our assumptions back to us as questions to be examined. 

Gladwell gives example after example of places where these outside forces support success and more than a few tragic examples where they do not. After one story about a bona fide genius who eventually settles bitterly for work far below his potential Gladwell notes

He knew he needed to do a better job of navigating the world but he didn’t know how… There were things that others, with lesser minds, could master easily. But that’s because those others had help along the way and [he] never had. It wasn’t an excuse. It was a fact. He’d had to make his way alone and no one – not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses – ever makes it alone.

THAT is why I started Dreamstepping. Because I know that  no one can succeed all by themselves, even if you could it wouldn’t be a very fulfilling success. I sincerely hope you can join us this January in a supportive group of  people committed to changing their habits, choosing their culture and creating success by making their dreams come true.

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