Redefining Success: a mindful approach

Success is defined by expectation. What you hope for yourself becomes your measure for success. Some people keep their hopes relatively simple, more attainable, and therefore are more easily satisfied; a job that gives you stability and a Friday afternoon off may suit someone’s life goals admirably. But the reality is that many people expect more than they can hope for, and build some truly magnificent castles in the air.

But there is a way to reach greater heights while keeping a steady hand on the tiller. Simplicity lies in calmness and practicality, an analytical approach which weighs the intensity of thoughts with rational, planned delivery. In other words, it’s quite simple to think yourself into success – no matter the level of that success that you wish for. It’s about purpose-driven application, determination, planning skills; patience and compassion for yourself and others. It’s about focusing on personal awareness, your strengths and flaws in achieving optimal performance. It’s about grit.

 How to learn to do well

  • Persistency towards a goal equals stamina and determination. Your ability to reflect these attributes will determine your performance levels. How long are you prepared to keep at something before you give up?
  • There are specifically two kinds of drive: internal drive that is your own ‘machine’ revving away with hope and desire – and external drive, which depends on how motivated you are by reward, ie: attention, fame, money. Giving some analytical attention to your ‘driver’ is a fundamental part of the process of understanding how you can use your own energy to build a mindful approach.
  • Grit is a measure of how scared you are. How motivated are you to take risks and put yourself into unfamiliar territory despite your fear. Most people like to err on the side of caution, which is not a bad thing but it can make you tend to think small. Learn to embrace the unknown; this doesn’t mean doing something dangerous, but beginning with something that you wouldn’t normally do – such as having dinner on your own. Simple things that begin with trepidation but end with easing the mind. The power of overcoming small obstacles cannot be emphasized enough; it builds grit layer by layer until you have a more positive understanding of yourself.
  • Once you have increased your awareness of self and possibility, you can train your mind to accept the latter – over and over – until reaching for it, staring into it, becomes almost an obsession, and you are up close and personal with potential. This is the training of your mind. The more you can silence the doubt by constantly reviewing the possibility of success, of being different – the more positive your thoughts will become because you are changing focus.
  • The absolute joy is that you can do this exercise at any time. If you suffer a setback of any kind, a failure, a worry – you can track your mind back to the beginning again. Let the awareness of spirit settle you, be aware of your potential. Centre that moment, hold it and tell yourself you can go forward or backward; the future lies in your hands at that moment; only this central moment of mindfulness of the present will power it.


The power of the present

  • Awareness or mindfulness of the moment can only operate in the present. The past cannot be with you in awareness – do not let it even lurk in the background. The present possibility fills your mind, the future has an earthy sense of creativity about it. Let it fill your mind with vision. The power of awareness backed by a driving vision will form the basis of motivation that has been the drive behind all great endeavours throughout centuries. There’s no reason you cannot harness this motivation in yourself.
  • Always come back to the centre. Realign with the central premise of ‘now’ and the invigorating sight of change. Be in the present moment, even if the past runs like a cautionary tale in the background, focus on the present, your internal awareness of the present. Certainly potential may arise on mindful day-dreaming of the future; when the mind is clear and present then ways to interpret the future seem more viable. We become almost lulled into creativity.
  • Learn to quiet the doubts in your head. You can do this by applying contemplative mindfulness, observing without judgement. Take note of your surroundings, your position in those surroundings, the actions of others. Understand that moments are transitory and mutable, but fat with potential. You will almost hear your thoughts link, one to another, taking you forward but keeping you steady. When the mind is aware, it lets loose the imagination.
  • The mind riding on imagery created through present awareness, is nearly always positive. You cannot achieve this by reviewing the past or allowing past memories to override your future imagery which should be built on potential, not doubt. Training your mind to achieve deep focus is a powerful skill. Using deep breathing and meditation are successful tools in developing the awareness and focus to still the mind. This basis leads to a sense of fulfilment of possibility; it can be a wonder box of motivation, discipline and ideas – all aspects of successful people.
  • Every time we take our minds into awareness without subjective doubt or judgemental observations, we focus on the here and now with quiet depth. This sense of mindful presence works to amplify the imagination and creativity, and nurture insights and possibility. Attention and flexibility are the tools of success. Mindfulness and ‘Carpe Diem’ are closely linked. Seize the day!

Potential is one thing. Achievement is another. You’ve got to act on the one to attain the other. Sometimes this road isn’t easy – you have to encourage your talent to emerge, allow yourself to hone certain psychological characteristics – and this you can only do well if you have trained yourself to have mindfulness, awareness of self, potential and desires.

Nothing guarantees riches but self-knowledge through mindfulness is a place to begin. Sit beside a river, contemplate a tree, watch birds or a trail of ants, look up at the stars…and let your mind quietly reveal itself without anger or judgement; illuminate the moment, and let your mind truly focus to master your future.



Sep 29, 2019 | Vuk’uzenzele

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