Study Successful People If You Want — You Won’t Find It There

When you get it, it might make you smile for 2 mins or maybe longer. But whatever it is you’re after, it won’t fill the void

man on the edge of a cliff at night for article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash

When you get it, it might make you smile for 2 mins or maybe longer. But whatever it is you’re after, it won’t fill the void

I half-read stories on here almost every day proclaiming to show you the route to success. Do these five things every day, cultivate these seven personality traits, meditate, do yoga, get up at 5 am — there are so many apparent solutions to help fix your broken self and become what you have not yet. For Christ’s sake, I’ve even written some of these articles myself!

But there is a caveat for these articles of mine that may have in some way served as bait for your impressionable ego.

The Caveat. Just like there is no hook upon which the universe hangs, no foundation for material reality, there is no basis for something we commonly refer to as success. There is, in fact, no basis for the self. There is no bright shiny thing that will make us happy. There’s no wonderful other out there that will serve all our needs. It’s all an inflated spoof, propagated by narcissistic idiots with ambition.

We know it — deep down, we know it. The stuff we chase is a smokescreen designed to keep us from ourselves. Why? Because I believe we are fundamentally afraid — afraid of being alone in the darkness without any sense of existence. We are ultimately fragile and scared. This is our lot until we are not.

We play around on the surface because it serves us not to know. But then it happens. The day arrives when we realise it was all a farce. Time’s up! You, me and everyone we know will soon disappear. And within a generation or two, nobody will remember us or our foolish exploits. There will be not a trace that we were here at all.

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. — William Shakespere, The Tempest

Eventually, when the human race expires (which in my opinion won’t be too long), the planet will reclaim itself, and that will be that. Future incarnations of human will dig up our fossilised iPhones, undecayed frankenfood, fake tits and ass, and digitised accounts of our pursuits and remark, “how utterly stupid these humans were”.

They’ll shake their heads in disbelief at how masses of people were duped by compulsive liars of men in red ties. They’ll wonder why we allowed these men to drop bombs on other people for the sake of power and control. That same power and control, incidentally, that they used to make more stuff that fooled the people into compliance.

When you really get into the meat in the sandwich of the articles I write, you will know that for which I stand — it is the opposite of personal and material success as a prime mover. I’ll take it when it comes, just as I have before because I like things and people too, just not as much as everyone else. Maybe below my self-righteous veil, I am fooled just as much as everyone else. But for now, I’ll claim it is not my motivator. However, when material gain comes substantially by my door again, I’ll hold it more gently than I did before.

My advocation is that you annihilate yourself and all those ideas of materiality that you think will make you happy. Instead, I suggest that you get down and deep into the work, so much so that you disappear. Go deep and go often and forget about the tricks and gimmicks designed to coerce and cajole the universe into making you rich, beautiful, thin and successful. These are naive pursuits.

When you do, the imperfect you that you think needs fixing will disappear in a puff of smoke. All that will remain will be the experience. You won’t even know that you exist any longer. This is what making art feels like, and it is from this place of the disappeared self that creative genius arises. It’s only after the creative fact that we come to know it and label it.

You can’t make it happen either. It happens of itself, just like nature.

Now, there is another caveat, and this one is a significant and paradoxical one. You can only do the above after you have chased down and tried to catch all those things you think you need. Then one day you will hopefully come across the undeniable realisation that all of this was a complete waste of time. Hopefully, that happens before you go pop! But if it doesn’t, I guarantee you won’t give a shit anyway.

“The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.”
― William Blake

A Clarification on Annihilation

When I say annihilate yourself, I don’t suggest you literally murder yourself. You know that, right? And it doesn’t mean I go for a nihilistic model of the universe. Really, I’m not depressed with the prospect of my pending doom, and I don’t think you should be either. Instead, I suggest you should die to the idea that success means the attainment of stuff or the attention and admiration of other people — because it doesn’t. That shit doesn’t last, never does. Barely seconds in some cases and it’s gone. So to become hypnotised by it is a waste of a life in my humble opinion.

But then again, it’s not.

Ultimately nothing is wasted. All human experience is valid and valuable. It’s just that the almost perpetual pursuit of ourselves through things is detrimental to our health and that of others we claim to love. It leads us astray for years in the vain hope that we’ll find a cure to the neurosis. But it doesn’t — you can’t cure that shit.

So get to work.

If you want to learn more of the philosophy for which I advocate, read about Purposeful Accident. I’ll be publishing more on this topic as the coming weeks land.

The Nature of Purposeful Accident
I’ve been working on a concept of creativity, and I’d like to share these initial thoughts with you.medium.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters

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