A Simple Prescription for Success

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. –Maya Angelou

I love this simple prescription for living well, as it cuts right through all the social conditioning we often think of as normal, ideal and acceptable.

The first encouragement suggests that if our life has no foundation in self-respect, dignity or personal integrity we will have failed ourselves in the most basic and soul-destroying way possible. And no amount of conventional success will ever make up for the loss. So, best learn to embrace ourselves flaws, failings and all.

One caveat: this is not to say that we are not accountable for the ways in which we fail both ourselves and others, just that we need to be real about both our goodness and our ever present dark side. They both have their role to play, they both require attention, intelligent management and respect.

With our ego in the back-seat, liking what we do becomes easier—embracing our native abilities, talents, personality and potential is now a freer exercise in living well. We can use whatever it is that we’ve been given, or robbed of, as an opportunity to explore new possibilities and untapped potential.

And very closely linked to this idea is how we choose to do things—creatively and in sync with our values preferably. We can choose to remain close to the earth or, with a little mental and emotional rocket-fuel, propel ourselves in proximity to the stars. Which we choose should be a matter of internal guidance. The salient point is to refine our value system and preserve our personal integrity, however things play out.

Simple, but not easy, liking ourselves, what we do and how we do it, is a great template from which to create a life of depth and substance and joy.