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success is one percent of the real story-bcbg-plaid-jacket-paige-denim-skinny-jeans-mango-bag-topshop-booties-mercedez-benz-suv

Today’s post is what I’d like to call real talk. I just wanted to get honest about what success is. One of our greatest possessions is our eyes. They are so indispensable to our complete happiness. I mean, think of all the amazing things the gift of vision enables us to enjoy – the vision of the starry heavens, a beautiful sunset (one of my favorites), the beauties and marvels of our wonderful planet, and the very sunlight itself. We must admit though that so often the same pair of our choicest possessions can easily deceive how we perceive another person’s apparent success and sadly allow that quick, inaccurate snapshot to evoke unappealing feelings such as jealousy, envy, and sometimes even hatred in our heart towards such ones.

How sad! This is all due to not having our perception trained. What I mean by this is having the ability to apply knowledge to productive and constructive thinking and activity (not on emotions laden with jealousy and envious eyes) in order to have the ability to properly discern what is perceived with the eye. I once read this statement in part: “Every one of the five senses can be twisted to deliver a completely different picture of what appears to the eyes. Apart from the very unreliable picture running inside the brain, we have no proof that reality is anything like what we see.”

The truth of the matter is that some fail to focus on the real gritty stories behind what is perceived as ‘easy’ success. One thing I know for sure (like my Oprah-ism here ;-) is that there’s always so much more than meets the eye. What people don't see is all the late nights working in front of that computer screen until your eyes start dancing uncontrollably. Running multiple companies. Constantly strategizing for the next work day. Years of sacrificing living your “best life” wondering if you’ll ever get a break. Feeling isolated and lonely. Loss of friends because of their shortsightedness or their perceived skewed thinking: 'you’re no longer in “the same boat” as me'. Sleepless nights thinking of ideas upon ideas. Drafting collaboration letters that oftentimes go unanswered. Crunching numbers that sometimes have you scratching your head pondering 'when is it going to pay off? If ever!' Pumping yourself in order to keep going despite being exhausted along with disheartened failures and postponed expectations. Giving oneself pep talks to self-motivate to wake up the next day to do it all over again. Sometimes, never stepping foot outside for days etc… etc… What I'm trying to say is the dark moments are what we don't see.

The reality is when you dig down into what apparent success is, you can’t help but discover that it is a lot of consistent, constant hard work and inconsistent postings on a "not-so-well-curated Instagram feed." Success is only one percent of the real story. The next time someone else’s perceived success catches your eye before you allow your mind to go wandering into wrong thinking, always remember success is like the bamboo seed in this story:  

The Fern and the Bamboo
One day I decided to quit...I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality...
I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” His answer surprised me. “Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes”, I replied. “When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year, the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four. Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive.

I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle. “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. “Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high.” “How high should I rise?” I asked. “How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return. “As high as it can?” I questioned. “Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

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