Can You Be Successful Without Ticking the Boxes?

When people talk about success, they’re often coming at the concept from a single direction. They make the mistake of assuming that because we tend to consider ‘success in life’ in general terms, that our perception of success as a concept is broader than it really is.

Far too often, we think of success almost one dimensionally. We measure it by stacking up achievements. That is, we’re successful when we’ve graduated university, won a big sports competition, landed a new job, got married or bought a nice house or car.

It’s almost like ticking boxes – all based on the erroneous belief that success requires ceaseless hard work, determination and ambition. We struggle for years, reach some goals, and then end up feeling exhausted, empty and off balance.

But what about all the other ways you could interpret ‘being successful’?

What if you made an enormous success of being happy, or being in a relationship, or mastering your emotions?

What if being successful simply meant being the best possible version of you?

Have you ever considered your success as a human being, rather than how many things you’ve ‘done’?

This is a big perceptual shift, so we consulted three of the most respected spiritual teachers around. Here’s their take on success…



IMG - Dalai Lama

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He’s inspired tens of thousands of people across the globe with his down to earth style and sense of humour. He’s received over 150 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes in recognition of his message of peace, non-violence, inter-religious understanding and compassion.

He’s committed to promoting compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline.

The Dalai Lama has gained an incredible following because his teachings transcend the differences in our spiritual beliefs and speak to basic human nature. They resonate with us all.

The Dalai Lama has written numerous books and given a great deal of lectures. We’d recommend you grab a copy of any one of them. In the meantime, here are some excerpts from His Holiness’s blog that we felt were worth sharing.

“I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affect this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.

As long as we live in this world we are bound to encounter problems. If, at such times, we lose hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. If, on the other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but every one who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude, each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind!

Thus we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, that is we can develop both genuine sympathy for others’ suffering and the will to help remove their pain. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase.

Ultimately, the reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else. The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. It results from the profound interdependence we all share with one another.”

In short, he says that care for the happiness of others is the ultimate source of success in life. It’s a simple philosophy that makes enormous sense.

If you’d like to read the full blog, including the Dalai Lama’s recommendations for starting to practice compassion, check it out here:



IMG - Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is an (Indian born) American author and public speaker. After studying medicine in India, he went on to become a respected endocrinologist, medical professor and one of the most successful advocates of mind body medicine. That is, the combination of Western medical science and ancient Eastern philosophies.

He’s written over 80 books, including 22 New York Times bestsellers. In an interview with Mike Zimmerman from Success Magazine, Chopra shared some thoughts on success…

“I define success as the following,” Chopra says. “No. 1, the progressive realization of worthy goals. No. 2, the ability to love and have compassion. No. 3, to be in touch with the creative source inside you. And No. 4, to ultimately move from success to significance.”

“Material success by itself without significance to the common good ultimately is not fulfilling,” says Chopra, and he speaks from experience.

The full interview is well worth a read and can be found here:

If you’re interested in studying Chopra’s ideas about spiritual success further, perhaps the best place to start would be his book titled, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

We’ve outlined the basic concepts below with information we gathered from the Chopra Centre website. Find it here:

The seven spiritual laws are powerful principles you can use to fulfill your deepest desires with grace and ease. These laws of aren’t difficult or mysterious but are easy to understand and apply. Each day of the week is dedicated to one of the seven spiritual laws. We invite you to develop a daily practice in which you meditate or take a few moments to quiet your mind, and then read the spiritual law of the day and practice applying it throughout the day.

The Law of Pure Potentiality. The source of all creation is pure consciousness . . . pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in nature.

The Law of Giving & Receiving. The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.

The Law of Karma or Cause and Effect. Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind . . . what we sow is what we reap. And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.

The Law of Least Effort. Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease . . . with carefreeness, harmony, and love. And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.

The Law of Intention and Desire. Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment . . . intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organizing power. And when we introduce an intention in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.



IMG - Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle is arguably the world’s best known non-religious, spiritual teacher. The German born Canadian resident has captured the attention of millions following the publication of his books.

The Power Of Now was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and has subsequently sold over three million copies and been translated into 33 languages.

In 2011, Tolle was listed by the Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world.

Though he isn’t aligned with any particular religion, Tolle says he has been influenced by a broad range of spiritual works. He suffered from depression for a long time, until at age 29 he had an epiphany. Immediately following that perceptual shift, Tolle spent several years existing in what he describes as “a state of deep bliss” before going on to share his beliefs with the world.

The fact that his writings are based on his own personal experience makes Tolle’s approach to spirituality in the modern world quite fresh. His central message is that our problems stem from identifying too much with our minds. Tolle believes that the past and the future are our creations, and only the present moment is real. Therefore the present moment is what matters.

Thus the book, The Power Of Now.

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation, but your thoughts about it”, Tolle says. “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately…you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you.” He suggests that it is important, as we make our way through any given day, that we keep in touch with the deepest source of ourselves.

That is, we slow down and take in the present moment from the point of view of an observer. He says, “Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.”

This type of thinking is not new. It’s been present in ancient philosophies (East and West) for a very long time. What Tolle does very successfully is take those ideas, which would normally be dressed up in esoteric, incomprehensible language, and make them understandable.

When you boil it all down, Tolle’s bottom line is that we need to cultivate inner peace and happiness by creating a state of consciousness that keeps us connected with the wonder of life, right here, right now.

If you’d like to study Eckhart Tolle’s teachings further, his website is a great place to start:

Whatever you think of the thoughts these three have to offer, it is worth considering all the different ways you could be successful, simply as a human being.

If the best version of you would be 10/10, how would you currently rate?

And what are you going to do about it?