There is a simple fact that proves your ability to be successful and leave your footprint before you leave your physical body. You are here. Because you are here you have a purpose or, more accurately, purposes. To find and live your purposes is the first of all the keys to success. Fortunately, many of us have many challenges in life. These form the opportunity for life lessons. Lessons guide us to our purposes. These obstacles, hardships and failures are no accident. These serve as guiding posts to our purpose. Some can be utterly painful. Yet, still they are gifts to push you to succeed at embracing your purpose, finding a higher consciousness and living authentically.

To be alive is the biggest blessing. But the vast majority of people do not consciously know how to succeed with this blessing. It’s similar to winning the lottery. Most people do not know how to use their sudden enormous wealth wisely and go out and blow it. Statistics show interesting insights into those people who play the lottery. The vast majority of those who actually hit the jackpot lose much of it quickly. Not all, but most of those end up blowing it on useless items, end up with family squabbles over it, and end up much unhappier and unfulfilled. The rate of ensuing depression is marked. More sadly, whether with an obsession in winning the lottery, gambling or other empty imagined fixes, most such people never gained the skills to prosper — well, some must after they hit rock bottom. There are no quick fixes to life — well, aside from under very specific terms, which you will learn about in one of the case studies that illustrate exception to this universal law. In sum, however, without understanding the wealth life offers and how to invest it success will continue to elude you. Success is living your life purposes fully.

I have either researched or had the opportunity to observe the participation of hundreds of activists in various initiatives, philanthropy and organizations from South America, North America, Europe, the Balkans, North Africa, the Arab Gulf, South East Asia and East Asia intensively for over 12 years. There are various strategies for success and strategies for misery. Wherever you go, however, the guiding universal laws and principles for succeeding at life reign. Not every activist I identified was working with these guiding keys to success would identify themselves as spiritual. I seek to deliver what I have gathered through studying, observing and interviewing those individuals who yet worked with one or more, usually more, keys, experience success, and through observing those who, well, I would like to believe often delay it, but often actually miss it.

I cannot escape a glaring observation on these hundreds of activists I have studied in relation to others. Individuals who grew up in well-adjusted homes with parents who pushed for an appreciation of education often have reasonable success in life. Many of these even seem to hit rock bottom less often. Some are extremely ambitious. However, they often have to work a lot harder at finding the keys to live not only more successfully but truly successfully — that is, with sense of purpose and sense of fulfillment. Perhaps life has not squeezed these people enough for them to question the meaning of life as deeply as others do.

On the other hand, those who have difficult childhoods or more than average challenges later on seem to have elected to learn a lot more in life. These range from personal trauma to experiencing the effects of war. The more you learn, the more potential you have. And what you seek is what you will find. Some of these people were also pushed hard to appreciate a good education. However, nearly all of these people perhaps have been squeezed by life to an extent that they have been pushed to use and appreciate much more. Most have been pushed to learn the meaning to existence. So, this is my conclusion of these individuals: they have, for one, greater chances to experience higher levels of success; and two, after learning the ropes gain greater opportunities to lead others to success. They often see more clearly the mess we are creating for ourselves. Ones who sought to affirm a core sense of selfhood and larger meaning from chaos and pain, indeed find purpose.

I will remind that the context of life lessons merely gives you a platform to succeed. It does not do it automatically for you. Feeling smitten to the ground through those mighty trials in life function to show you your life purposes. They are by no means any guarantee that you will lead and experience success and guide others to greater self-awareness and consciousness. If you do not search for meaning and learn, you will stay right where you are, or worse. People who succeed use life itself and the laws that govern life to experience the greatness and goodness life offers them. Life was never meant to be all uphill and happy. That’s not life and that’s not how most of us learn to find and live our purposes. Yet, we have essential spiritual keys that can make the journey much more joyous, peaceful and satisfying — that is, consciously meaningful and purposeful.

This piece is an excerpt from the introduction to Spiritual Activism.

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