People often ask “How do you define success?”

They ask as if there’s an absolute answer to this question.  Is it defined by money?  Only when monetary success is the question.  Is it defined by athletic achievement.  Only to an athlete attempting to achieve something.

Sometimes success is the journey, more than  the destination. Some will not understand that and miss the forest for the trees.

Every facet of our lives calls out for success.  Success in one area is really seldom enough to define a life as successful. The success of a promotion at work is overshadowed by loneliness.  Many athletes are successful in their sports.  But recently there was mention in the news of some “successful” athletes that go hungry because they can’t afford some meals.  There are the wealthy who would give up wealth for love, acceptance and understanding.

On the spiritual side it’s been asked “what will it profit a man to gain the whole world yet loose his soul?”

We need to achieve success in whatever area of life is calling out for it at the moment.  You may be poor, but money is not what you want when you long for companionship.  You may be wealthy but your body calls out for healing.  And, once success is achieved in one area, the call comes from another.  Sometimes several areas are calling out  simultaneously.  What to do then?

Prioritize.  This is your call.

Friends and family will counsel you according to their values, and some may be appropriate.  But our spirits speak to us in whispered intimacies meant only for us to know about and act on from our same spirits alone.  I know I have acted in ways that may have seemed unsuccessful to those around me, but my apparent failures were my own, and I can accept them.

These days the word choice is closely connected to my ideas of success.

On the other hand, I have mimicked others’ acts that have led to their successes and while sometimes they work, when they fail they are my greatest regrets. Regrets for having ignored the voice of my own soul and not being true to myself.  The regret of giving someone else the 5-handling-successpower to direct my mistakes.

There is wisdom in the abundance of counselors, but that wisdom must be checked, sifted and governed by your mind and intelligence.  Otherwise you are but a child needing to be obedient for you have not yet developed the resourcefulness of your soul.0e7ce98
How do I define success?  Right now, by not having anything underlined by spell check.

Some skills for martial arts, and for better living.

Let me recount an episode I like from the book Siddartha by Herman Hesse.

Siddartha by Doze Green at Jonathan LeVine

Siddartha by Doze Green at Jonathan LeVine (Photo credit: C-Monster)

I read this book when I was about 15, probably standing in the aisle of a bookstore somewhere, and it is a story of exploration, growth, development, and ultimate fulfillment.


Jump to the part where he is a young man, an ascetic in the forests, naked except for a loincloth, covered in dirt, lonely and alone.  He sees a procession go by with a stunningly beautiful courtesan being carried aloft.  He’s enamored, blown away by this beautiful, desirable, sexually seductive woman.  This is a new emotion and drive for Siddartha . He is attracted, and knows nothing other than he wants her.


He manages to get her attention, yet she mocks and scoffs at him.  She is curious though.  He is oddly interesting and beguiling.  She taunts him that he is just a forest ascetic and has nothing to give to her, she’s used to affluent young men fawning over her with money, gifts, and gems.  She points out he has no money, clothes, or even shoes, and asks him “what can you do that would buy the pleasures I have to give?”


He promptly answers “I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”  The boy was confident in these intangibles!  Well, long story short, after dazzling her with some poetry, he turns these invisible treasures, into material success and riches, marries Kamala, has a child…that’s another story!


The thing here is that he had the tools to improve himself regardless of circumstance, in any situation of his choosing, from being a forest dwelling ascetic, to being a high powered businessman.


The skills and tools he had were laying in wait for the motivating reason and the opportunity, which by the way, he made by facing the unknown with confidence,also  an essential skill.  He names three of the keys to his future success: critical thinking, time management, and activity!


Next, some details and insights regarding this story, applying the principals to martial arts training and to better living