For much of my life I felt like I needed to be number one in order to be successful. I needed to be number one in my class, the best writer, the best stage manager, the best whatever. Because if I wasn’t number one then I wasn’t successful! (And then there’s the whole not-feeling-worthy-unless-you’re-successful thing I’ve written about before.) And if someone else is successful that means I am not because there can only be “one” ______. Who says? Who says if I am successful no one else can be? Or vice versa?

I bring this up because this week I read an article in the New York Times about all these successful New Age 20-something women who are writing best-selling books and garnering a following. Something akin to panic welled up in me as I thought to myself, “If they are successful that means I won’t be! By the time I get published no one will be interested in my story because they’ll have read it all before!”

That viewpoint though is one of scarcity. It’s the belief there can only be one best-selling author, one great yoga teacher/painter/chiropractor/doctor/whatever. Why does someone else’s success take away from mine? It doesn’t. This great vast Universe we live in is one of abundance. There is more than enough for everyone. There is enough abundance in the Universe for everyone to share in it. There can be many best-selling authors, many award-winning actresses, many top-notch physicians. We can all be successful.

This week I also read a blogpost on from Peggy McColl who wrote about being number one:

If we can be genuine about generating the emotions of joy, enthusiasm, and abundance within ourselves, the universe will work with us to bring about situations that match these feelings. Letting go of the destructive belief: I can’t reach my goal if someone else reaches his opens us up to the more positive thought: There’s enough abundance in the world for everyone to share in it!

I want to feel that. I want to revel in someone else’s success because I know their success does not preclude mine. I want to feel joy for others because I know there’s plenty to go around. I want to feel the abundance raining down on me because there is enough for everyone. Everyone can be successful in their own right. In whatever that means for them. Every person has the capacity for greatness, for success. Why can’t we all be successful? I think we can.

I dream of a world where we feel true joy for someone else’s success because we recognize each life is different and my success has nothing to do with yours. Where we recognize the world we live in is filled with abundance and so there’s more than enough for everyone. Where we can each share in what the other has to offer because there is room at the table for all of us. Where we realize we are made to be different and thus my success will not look like someone else’s. Where we know we can have what we want and our creator is showering us with prosperity at all times.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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3 comments… add one
  • willowlaughter Sep 27, 2009, 6:20 am

    I think it's very important to take a moment, step back, and observe that the way success is being talked about here is of a success as defined by society – being "the best", "number one", etc… This human way of viewing things in terms of comparison.

    Who cares? So you're really great at some "thing". But, how do you treat people? How do you live your life? Are you doing your best to be an example of love in this world? I think these are the true measures of a successful person – one who constantly questions such labels and who strives not for success but for love of and service to God, others, and self.

    I truly appreciated your honesty in this post – what a beautiful thing it is to see the process of questioning and evolution in action 🙂

    Just throwing in my thoughts on the issue/concept/musing…

  • Rebekah Sep 27, 2009, 6:42 am

    Absolutely! One of my favorite quotes of late is, "It doesn't matter what you're doing but who you're being."

    And I also notice the more I love and approve and accept myself, the less it matters what other people think. (I was trying to nod to that when I linked to my previous post on self-worth coming from within.) Thanks for fleshing the idea out in the comments. =)

  • gargii Oct 6, 2009, 12:13 am

    thanks radha… i can relate. i think you and i have a lot of the same issues slash opportunities for growth – there is definitely a reason we know each other! (this is the first time i've checked out your blog)

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