Anne Lamott kicked my ass – and thoughts on what success looks like

January 14th, 2015 LIKE WHAT YOU READ? SHARE IT!

Anne Lamott hoofed me one.  Not literally.  But this quote of hers strikes like a contact sport.  Read it nice and slow:

‘Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued.  Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over your circumstances, or whether you’re going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the real truth about who you are.’


Anne Lamott’s shake-me-awake-of-a-quote got me thinking about success.

What if success was also about how true we’re being to ourselves, how much more, each day, we’re unfurling the truth of who we are?  What if success was also about caring differently what others think?  Or about how skilfully we pay attention to the present moment.

“Life is more interesting when you notice that you’re living it.”  So says Bonnie Ware in Outi Harma’s new The Lost Commandments cards (the featured image is from Outi’s beautiful deck).  Find them here.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with achievement, or the success that comes because of it.

I still admit to getting a little jolt of excitement when crossing something off my to-do list.  There’s nothing wrong with powering through a list, and that little buzz that ensues with each item ticked.  But on its own, it’s a linear, achievement-based way of thinking that can leave us flat when we’re not crossing off tasks.  It’s all about doing.

Success isn’t just about being done with things.  It’s not just about shiny stuff, however nice it is.  It’s not about what we do – not entirely.

In my last Mindfulness class, the teacher read from a poem by Robert Keyes:

“It doesn’t matter if you draw or write books. 
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish. 
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.”

So what really matters?  What does success look like for you in 2015?


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