I finally got around to reading Man’s Search for Meaning.
It’s been on my radar for years but I just never felt compelled to read it. Imagine my surprise, and delight, when I read the following passage in the Preface:
“Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run—in the long run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it”
Once again the universe has perfect timing.
Had I read this years ago, when I first heard about the book, and during my constant quest for success, I’m pretty sure that passage would have gone right in one ear and out the other. It’s true meaning would have been lost on me. Today, however, it could be my personal mission statement. I embrace it wholeheartedly and it’s how I endeavor to live my life.
It is, in fact, what this blog is all about.
I also realize, as I look back at my business, that the times I was most successful were the times I was just focused on doing what I do, and serving others. As soon as I made success my focus, the more it eluded me. As Frankl says, as soon as I made success my target, the more I missed it. The scary thing is, this change of focus happened slowly over time, and without me even realizing it. Until one day I woke up, and looked back at the previous years, and saw it.
Thankfully I woke up. And thankfully, nearly every day since that day I encounter wonderful little reminders—such as the passage in this book—that chasing success is not the answer. Doing what I am inspired to do, and focusing on serving others, is.