Feeding the Fire

This is in response to, and building on, a post called "What is Success" written by Jordan Criss.

For many of us, success is driven by what's next. In my case, I am thinking of what will happen after my upcoming promotion, or what content will be on the next episode of the podcast. For some, success is an outside measure. This could be anything gained such as subscribers, followers, tickets sold, or a salary. But those measures don't allow for enough nuance to understand why we attempt to create anything.

If we set out to be a success by standard measures, things don't pan out logically. The chance that you are going to excel in what you want to pursue is small. What you have is something purely unique, yet you settle for less.

The need we have is to fuel our fires. We all have the choice to sit down and commit to something to completion. The results can be truly amazing: a musician writing their first song, an artist completing their first painting, an athlete putting in hours of practice. Nobody can tell us to stop… except for ourselves.

What I've been highlighting is the mental aspect of the self and the hours of commitment it takes to master a craft. With an inward gaze, we represent blacksmiths forging a blade. Initially, the blade is hardly recognizable, it starts out coarse and rough. Over many grueling repetitions, the blade takes shape and is sharpened to a keen edge. To be in pursuit is what success all about and what fuels is the fire.

There's another dynamic here, one that many of us forget about. Many of us look at what we are doing as competition with those around us. That is a zero-sum game. What we need to do when we see others in pursuit is to raise their hand up high. Rather than telling others, they are wasting their time. We should instead seek what others are doing with genuine curiosity. Knowledge should be looked at as fuel for our inner fire.

At the very least, you can provide honest feedback. Getting honest feedback is very rare. However, for those of us fueled by fire, there's nothing others can tell us that we haven't yet worked into our own thoughts. We are our absolute worst critic.

So when you are looking out in the world, whose fire do you see? How many fires can you add a little more kindling to? Better yet, what can you take from other's fires to make your own blazing?


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