Success as a combination of motives

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

6:50 a.m. My friend Louis says I am so private as to be downright secretive. If that is so, I guess the remedy is to open up about things I feel are my business and nobody else’s. But how do you know? Being very private, I feel like the amount of my inner life that I share is, already, extensive. Maybe a less private person would share more, feeling less that they were sharing. Maybe I should explain myself in the ILC meeting. It came clearly to me, just a minute ago. What was it, this key to my non-career?

You wanted to change the world

Yes, yes, but what I just had wasn’t clichés, it was clarity. Gone, now?

Not gone. So obvious you can’t see it. Hiding in plain sight.

I feel like, having produced something, it is somebody else’s job to publicize it for me, only I have not found that someone.

And maybe now that “someone” has arrived and it takes you an effort to re-imagine your life with that person (or persons) helping.

Yes, I think that’s so. I only produced what I have produced because I am a certain kind of person; to be the kind of person who is able to foster that production into the world, I’d have to find resources other than the ones that I have relied upon. So it is as simple as a matter of acceptance of assistance from others?

Only one way to find out.

Yes, this feels right. Well, I’ll share it with the group and see where we go from there.

You see, it is easy for an error to creep in. In thinking you wish to do something for others (or, as you would think of it, for everyone), it is easy to silently change that so that in effect you are saying, to do for everyone else; not for yourself. And because it is unconscious, you cannot course-correct. Being now conscious, it may be allowed for.

That’s subtle but persuasive. As you state it, I can recognize something I have seen in others – hence I can extrapolate to myself.

Yes, it is subtle, hence easily overlooked. We will repeat it, for emphasis, because it does not apply only to any one person, but may potentially apply to anyone: It is easy to go from thinking you wish to help others, to thinking (or rather, to unconsciously assuming) that you wish to help only others, and that self-interest can have no part in it. But if you are working for clean air, say, does that mean you have to hold your breath lest you breathe some of the new air? Does it taint your motives if you do breathe it? Does it taint your motives if you work for clean air because you want to live in a world in which you, no less than others, get to breathe it?

Isn’t that interesting? I have said for years – for decades – that I believe that the most effective motive is a blend of altruism and self-interest, as the former assures that the goal is worthwhile and the latter assures that you won’t get tired of working for it. And all this time, I haven’t really applied it to myself in practice.

No, that’s not quite true – but it is true that you haven’t applied it in theory, so you have not come to the thought of success whole-heartedly. Always there has been the silent anxiety lest you be betraying yourself.

Now don’t just write about this; talk about it, to seat it in.

Well, I will. But this doesn’t -. I was going to say, it doesn’t give us anything practical, and I see that changing that unconscious reaction – updating my files – is the necessary first step, so is the most practical thing to be done.


One thought on “Success as a combination of motives

  1. It makes me think that the topic of success is maybe like the topic of sex–worth sitting with because it touches on everything.

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