“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”
~ Francis Bacon
A recent Gallup Poll conducted in 155 different countries posed the question: “What is most important to you for your happiness?”
Contrary to what our knee jerk reactions might tell us… things we’ve been programmed to hold in high value such as money, family, friends, social circles, marriage or fame, the answer that came back was none of these things.
Not even close.
The resounding answer was “A good job that is meaningful, purposeful and valuable.”
Masterful and meaningful work is life’s greatest reward.
This even shocks me to some degree. Not because I don’t know what we really need and value deep inside. Rather I know how deeply we’re programmed as to what we should value. We’ve discussed the objective and strategy of the Western mind in some depth (reference UHP10), and meaningful work was the most common answer even outside the West.
Once again, in 155 different countries!
You’re hard wired to meaningful work, to your own Ultimate Performance, whether you’re consciously aware of it or not. We’re all here to contribute and provide value to the world.
Each in our own way.
Each with our own unique gifts and Innate Ability.
I was interviewed in an online summit some time back and the host stated, “When I first heard you talking about using my Innate Ability, my first reaction was;
“No! I don’t want to be good at that!”
After working with literally hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world, and all walks of life, I can promise you this is commonplace.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve taught a typology test of some form, from Myers-Briggs to Enneagram; in which at least one, if not dozens, of the participants where not happy with the qualities and characteristics the instrument told them they possessed.
In many cases they were categorized as a type they perceived to not be as “sexy and exciting” as they would like; and therefore they were disgruntled with the results.
To know who we truly are;
and to know our true gifts and genius, is the greatest gift of all.
It’s unfortunately rare.
We have been born into a society infatuated with celebrity. We no longer want to so much to keep up with the Joneses, as much as we want to “Keep up with the Kardashians.”
Paris Hilton is in the spotlight because of a rich daddy.
Kim Kardashian does a sex tape.
Justin Bieber flips up a YouTube video and becomes an overnight sensation.
I’m not suggesting that these three, and others, don’t have anything else going for them. Frankly, I really don’t know that much about them. But what I am suggesting are several things:
- We’re definitely a culture completely infatuated with celebrity and fame.
- We often don’t really care about why or how they’re famous—just that they’re famous. Many are just famous for being famous.
- We romanticize their lives and think that in some way or fashion (even if unconsciously) we want to be like them.
- We’re programmed into a mindset, from examples like these and others, of maximum return for minimum investment. “Instant success is best.”
All of these things are childish romanticism at its best. Life doesn’t work that way.
Let’s not forget that Paris went to jail. Kim has had her share of bad press and challenges; and Bieber continues to have a plethora of problems.
The unseen future will take care of itself
if one just keeps growing up a little every day
~ Walt Disney
An additional poll recently taken of young adults posed the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The most frequent answer was “Famous.”
Famous for what?
And yet, there are study after study that we’ve quoted in this series which tell us that following money and fame falls flat.
- 71% are unhappy and unfulfilled with their work.
- Hundreds of thousands from all over the world, in the research of Csikszentmihalyl, tell us that we’re most depressed when alone with nothing meaningful to accomplish or do.
- And 155 countries told a Gallup Poll that we all have a deep need for meaningful and purposeful work.
The mass majority have forgotten what’s truly important in life.
We’ve lost our way.
We’ve discussed the necessity of solitude over the last two week. Not only to the experience of Focused Flow but to the achievement of your own Ultimate Performance.
Your own Ultimate Performance is actualized when you access and leverage your own greatness. And there’s a price to be paid for greatness. Actually there’s a price to be paid for mediocrity and regret as well. It all depends upon which price you choose to pay. For pay you must.
You either choose to pay the price of mediocrity and regret.
Or you choose to pay the price of greatness.
But either way there’s a price to be paid.
In a quick fix, magic pill, secret sauce, maximum return for minimum investment world, the aforementioned is not popular. Yet I can promise you it is true nonetheless.
Who do you choose to be?
Are you willing to pay the price?
Or are you looking for the next best instant solution?
The choice is yours.
Yes once again, solitude is the price of greatness… but it’s far from the only price.
There are many more sacrifices and commitments and perseverance practices that must be present. For as we’ve discussed many, many times: There’s always a price for the prize.
In our next installment we’ll continue our exploration of the price that must be paid for your greatness; and to live at your own ultimate potential.
For make no mistake, your own Ultimate Performance is your greatness!
So schedule regular time in solitude on your list; and most importantly find it!
And there’s more…
There’s always more…
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic!