Friday, August 29, 2014


Everyone has their definition of what success means to them.  Well, being that I’m of the strange persuasion and have a mind that lives in the outer regions of ordinary, my definition and understanding of success changes as I change.  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?  Aren’t there different levels?   Whose levels are we trying to reach?  Who are we really trying to impress? I’d like to know my monster’s name, so I can beat the shit out of him and bring him down to a reasonable state.  However, I’m not a reasonable person – so that’s a moot point.

I used to dream big.  Oh, what the hell am I talking about, I still dream big.  I can’t help it – I’m a big dreamer.  I never do the expected, or expect the ordinary.  It’s just not how I’m wired.  I’m not saying my wiring isn’t all messed up and tangled, but it’s just how I’m connected.  Acceptance is the first step. I don’t know exactly to where – but it’s the first step.  Accept me as I am and we’ll get along.  Expect me to live up to your standards or your level of success and I guarantee I’m going to disappoint you – so save yourself some time and get disappointed now,  and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.  Better yet, let that damned door slam into you, and let the knob connect in your most sensitive areas. Hopefully it’ll knock you on your face as you trip on your way out. (I haven’t had my coffee yet, but it’s percolating as I type.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand – success.  I had an interesting conversation with one of the most talented writers I have had the privilege to meet and befriend in my life last night.  I’m not going to sit here and gloat about his talent or bloat his ego; I’ve been there and done that, and he doesn’t hear a word of it.  No matter what I tell him, it doesn’t change the way he views success.  I also find it so hard to encourage him when I feel almost exactly the same way he does – but listening to someone else speak the same things I’m thinking helps me to see where I’m looking at a situation the wrong way.  Hearing my words coming out of his mouth, changed my focus.

I used to hear people in church say all the time, “If God never does anything else for me, I’ll still love and serve him for what he’s already done.”  That’s a good sentiment, but it’s bullshit.  We’re human beings, we’re not gods.  I’m not Jesus, I wasn’t sent to save the world, and I most certainly would have failed had our missions been the same.  I’m a human being, full of conflict, confusion, and corruption.  As a human, I need a constant receipt of acknowledgment that what I’m doing is good, that it’s right, that it leads somewhere.  If not, I feel like I’m just wafting through time, taking up space, and using up oxygen better spent elsewhere. I have to feel like I’m contributing to society, that what I’m doing is making a difference, that I simply fucking matter.  Bottom line – I need to experience success.  To say that I would be grateful or thankful for things to never move forward is being ignorant and naïve.

The question is …what constitutes as success for ME?  Your level of achievement may not be a level deemed successful for me and vice versa.  Where I think we really get off track is when we try to apply someone else’s level or measure of success to our own lives.  Either we think more highly of ourselves because we’ve compared ourselves to a very low level and we seem much more than what we are – or the opposite and choose too high of a level where we always feel like a failure and we don’t measure up. (ding, ding, ding)

I’m a perfectionist, and so is my friend, and I have a feeling we both set our levels of acceptable success way too high.  However, when I look at him, his life, and his gift, I can’t help but admire him and see loads of success all around him.  His gift, his integrity, his bravery, his compassion – those successes make him a great man, make him beautiful in my eyes. The way he sees the world – blows my mind. Many times he’s told me how proud he was of some of the things I have achieved in my life, goals I’ve met, obstacles I’ve overcome.  It never fails that he is always there to remind me of some of those things when I feel at my lowest or most unsuccessful.

I don’t see him as a failure, and when I talk to him, I don’t see myself as one either.  That, in and of itself, is a success.  My hope is that every dream  he has not only comes true, but exceeds his wildest expectations.  My wish for him is that he receives more success than he knows what to do with.  My desire for him is that he could see the success he already is by being a wonderful man and friend.

What is your measure of success?  Does your perception of success need an adjustment? Mine does on a daily basis.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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