[December 10, 2021] Life is competition. Life is survival. But it is more! Life is about living morally, about playing the game and winning by the rules, knowing when to step up and be counted (often in the face of great danger). Life is tough, but it also brings great joy. Today, I will discuss a philosophy of success; in other words, to compete and survive with honor.
The world is littered with the dead bodies of tyrants, bullies, and evil people who target those who are weak, unimaginative, lazy, and spiritless. To be successful, I believe, means you must do two things. First, you must not be weak, unimaginative, lazy, and spiritless. Second, you must protect those who are. “How” to do that is the challenge.
Humans, by their very nature, are social creatures. We thrive around others and wither away when not involved with people. Our ability to survive those encounters is the real issue and why I have a simple philosophy of success. That idea (or collection of ideas) will drag even the least self-confident and self-able person across the finish line.
Fundamentally, we must understand that people are complex but have similar wants, drives, and ambitions. Yes, we are all similar. We are also different, but only in subtle ways. Therefore, we must recognize those similarities and become experts at applying those ways to succeed.
In Part 1 and Part 2, I laid out a few ideas that can help bring us a life of success with decency and graciousness. My theme was that we must be responsible for our own lives. Otherwise, we will never achieve real value or realize satisfaction or happiness.
Part 3: A Philosophy of Success
My philosophy of success means you must tell the truth.
This is a simple idea. It is easy to write and talk about telling the truth, but it is truly challenging. Being brutally honest is the only way; everything else follows form being truthful. It requires a high degree of discipline, boldness, and elegance. It also means that by telling the truth, we must not be fooled by pseudo-truths or taken in by propaganda. The world starts to make more sense, we are more efficient and powerful, and evil is pushed aside when truth is an imperative. Without the truth, we are nothing.
Thus, to be successful means “seeing” the truth in its most vicious and most insightful forms. To do this, we must be physically strong, mentally resilient, spiritual (in a religious sense), and devoted to our family, community, and team.
You will be respected and admired if you always tell the truth. Your life will not be easy, far from it. You will be challenged, but only through overcoming the greatest of challenges can you indeed be successful in life.
Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).