Sources of Abundance, Peace and Prosperity

Think Success by Jayaram V

by Jayaram V

Source: This essay was originally published in the book “Think Success, Essays on Self-help” by Jayaram V under the title, “The Pillars of Prosperity," and reproduced with publisher's permission.


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In the final analysis, your true worth as an individual does not depend upon the prosperity you inherit, but the one you create and sustain out of your thoughts and actions, determination and the will to succeed against odds. Even in the latter case, you cannot take full credit for it. You may think that you have toiled alone to amass your wealth and deserve all the credit for your success, but you must remember that countless people and forces must have helped you in your journey to be where you are now. Even if you inherited substantial fortune from your parents or someone else, they too would not have been able to amass it without help from others.

Although, outwardly, everyone seems to be acting selfishly and tending one’s own fence, the world is sustained mostly on the principles of generosity, sharing and cooperation. Nature promotes both cooperation and competition for the survival of species. We may draw our own little circles of selfishness upon earth and define our boundaries, but beneath the circles and the walls we build, Nature and the earth unite everyone and everything to the processes of life. Above us, there is the sky that has no boundaries, and in between, there is the air, which we all share. Whether we are rich or poor, high or low, in the game of life we are all interdependent and inter connected. It means that you owe considerable debt to society.

Abundance is a state of mind. It does not necessarily depend upon material wealth, but upon your thinking and attitude. Some people spend their whole lives accumulating wealth, but remain poor in their hearts as they suffer from fear and scarcity. On the other hand, you may find some who are poor, but live with contentment, unburdened by the weight of sorrow or the expectations of society. Whether they have money or not they remain generous, sharing whatever they have, and live with contentment, gratitude, compassion, understanding and appreciation. They help others and feel connected even if personally they are going through difficult times.

Some people open their hearts, as they become successful, while some remain vain and conceited. Some people are unhappy even though by world standards they are rich and successful, while some manage to stay balanced and contended even though they may have limited means. Thus, your happiness does not necessarily arise from your wealth but how you feel about yourself and your achievements. Wealth does not guarantee morality, virtue, humility or good character, while it may give you freedom to make certain decisions and extend your approach and sphere of influence. Wealth creates opportunities, but does not by itself ensure success and fulfillment.

What is the true meaning of being rich? It primarily means having monetary or financial freedom, which may, however, arise variously from abundance, detachment, contentment, or freedom from desires. You can experience the richness of life in many ways, not necessarily by having money or spending it. For example, you can experience it by doing what you love to do, by appreciating the simple pleasures of life, by experiencing the warmth of relation-ships, by helping others, and by increasing your knowledge and awareness. You should aim not only to accumulate wealth but also to build your character and personality so that you can use your wealth for right purposes with right awareness.

In the following paragraphs, I have identified 15 qualities, which can empower you to overcome your self-imposed limitations and disempowering beliefs to create wealth and manage it successfully. I call them pillars of prosperity, because they are the foundation, upon which anyone can build a wholesome and balanced life. Most of the qualities are interrelated and sustain one another. If you possess them already, you can skip this article. If not, you can cultivate them to channel abundance into your life and enjoy the freedom and happiness it creates. They are listed below.

  • Optimism.
  • Awareness.
  • Discipline.
  • Determination.
  • Courage.
  • Faith.
  • Compassion.
  • Intelligence.
  • Interest.
  • Love.
  • Humility.
  • Simplicity.
  • Generosity.
  • Curiosity.
  • Initiative.

Optimism

It is better to be an optimist rather than a pessimist. Pessimism is required to understand the gravity of a situation, but optimism is required to deal with it. Pessimism helps you to foresee the threats and risks involved, stay within your limits and avoid unnecessary risks, while optimism helps you to find opportunities and possibilities even in the dark corners of misfortune. Most importantly, pessimism helps you to remain within your limits and stay free from trouble, while optimism helps you to test your limits and potentials.

Although for a balanced life, you need both optimism and pessimism, you should predominantly remain optimistic to keep your spirits high and sustain the momentum of your life, motivation, morale and enthusiasm. When you are optimistic, you can effectively manage your negative feelings such as fear, suspicion, hatred and ill will. By framing your experiences and perceptions positively and seeing positive outcomes, you can improve your chances of success and happiness. When you have hope, you see possibilities and opportunities, overcome your fear, believe in yourself and your abilities, and feel encouraged to solve your problems and pursue your goals.

Awareness

Awareness arises from knowledge, observation, attentiveness, contemplation, experience, intelligence, interpretation, curiosity, and learning. Awareness gives you the competitive edge to stay ahead. When you have specialized knowledge, your influence, power and authority increase, as people respect your knowledge and approach you for help and solutions. With increased awareness you gain insight, make new discoveries, patent your inventions and multiply your sources of income. Successful people focus upon three types of awareness, self-awareness, awareness of others, and of the world. All are important. Self-awareness helps you to become a better and capable person, by knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Awareness of others helps you to choose right people to be part of your life and career, and manage your relationships. The knowledge of the world helps you to protect and promote your interests, explore opportunities, and pursue your goals. Awareness arising from knowledge and insight is necessary to achieve success in any field. Everyone has awareness, but most of them lack depth. To stand above the rest and achieve distinction, you need insight and intuitive awareness, which will help you to manage difficult situations, foresee problems and adapt to situations. You can identify threats and opportunities present in your environment and plan accordingly, and conserve your energy and resources by responding to problems in time.

Discipline

Discipline makes humans different from animals. Animals have a discipline of their own mostly guided by their instincts, but humans have a better capacity for discipline. We can discipline ourselves consciously through self-effort, setting standards and striving to achieve them. Discipline is important to achieve success and happiness. Discipline may cause discomfort, but provides the framework in which you can shape your life and dreams. Success and discipline go hand in hand. Without discipline you cannot prepare well for success or failure. Discipline gives you control over your mind and body and the strength to pursue your goals, persevere, and manage your life. Without discipline, your life is like a boat without the rudder.

Discipline means sticking to a program, staying the course, and having the resolve to reach the end, despite the challenges, threats and distractions. It also means order, control, moderation, balance, and adaptability. If you have discipline, you can balance your expectations with reality, and your actions with your abilities. You can adapt to your circumstances, make sacrifices when required, and if necessary stand alone and fight your life's battles with determination, courage and tenacity. Discipline enables you to control your thoughts and impulses and bring to fruition your hopes and dreams through goal-oriented effort.

Discipline improves efficiency and effectiveness and brings clarity and simplicity into your thinking and methods. With a disciplined mind, you develop tolerance, compassion and understanding and accept failure as a part of your success, learning and improving. You forgive people for their mistakes, weaknesses, and imperfections. As you learn to control your behavior and environment, and direct your thoughts and energies, you realize your cherished goals, and deal with people and your limitations wisely and confidently. A disciplined person knows when to let go of things and when to hold on to them, according to the situation. Therefore, practice discipline for your self-development and to improve your character and behavior. It is the invisible partner in your success. If you have this basic quality, you will succeed any venture and reach any goal.

Determination

You may have goals and plans and dream wonderful dreams about your future. However, it comes to nothing, if you do not have the determination to carry them out. Without resolve, you cannot beat the obstacles, successfully implement your plans, meet your own expectations, or keep up your enthusiasm, motivation and optimism. Determination means perseverance, a quality that distinguishes a winner from a loser. It is the ability to keep yourself focused on your goals, when the world is crashing around you. It means not losing hope in what you do and your goals, having faith in yourself and your methods and accepting setbacks and failures without being crushed by them. Without determination you cannot go far in your life.

Life is full of problems and obstacles. There are people and forces outside, who want you to fail, or see you humiliated and hurt and stop trying. They do so because they are in competition with you or envy your success. If you are determined, you will not let them win. Your determination arises from your self-discipline, confidence, faith, courage, commitment and self-esteem, according to your beliefs and convictions. If you think positively, you are more likely to sustain your determination even in difficult times.

Courage

Courage is the ability to take calculated risks, face the unknown and unfamiliar when needed, standup to the problems and challenges, and bear the pressures of life by overcoming doubts and negative emotions. It is having the belief in yourself and the willingness to sacrifice immediate gains for the sake of long term goals. Courage is not absence of fear, but the ability to control it and manage it. You are courageous to the extent you control your fear and act. None can remove fear completely from their minds because it is part of our survival instinct. Some fear is considered good for your safety and survival to prevent you from engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior. It is incorrect to say that a courageous person is never afraid of anything. He knows how to act in the face of fear.

Courage also means the ability to use your will in the face of difficulties and demand the best from your life and actions. When you have courage, you will not set easier goals, undersell your talents and abilities, or settle for the less. You speak for yourself and negotiate with others on your terms. Courageous people are not afraid to make mistakes or correct them, or ask for help when they need it. They rely upon their inner strength when no outside help is available, and forge relationships without the compulsion to control and manipulate others. They also stand for what they believe in, and defend their ideas and thoughts when required. For them victory is an opportunity to celebrate and plan for further victories, while failure is an opportunity to learn and move forward. They continue to advance in life undeterred by setbacks and failures.

Faith

Without faith you can neither achieve success nor wealth nor happiness. Faith makes you strong, heals your past, answers your doubts and prepares you for the battles of life. Your faith is responsible for your beliefs, values, trust, self-confidence, self-reliance, loyalty, commitment, dedication, initiative, responsibility, feeling of assurance and willingness to take risks. When you have faith in yourself, you do not to look others for approval or blame them for your failures and faults. You take responsibility for your life and show initiative, courage, and self-reliance, in taking decisions and actions. You experience confidence, peace, and freedom from anxiety and uncertainty. Your relationships are also shaped by your faith. When you have faith in yourself, you will have faith in others. When you have faith in others, you accept them, without controlling them, and treat them with dignity and respect. The third component of faith is faith in God, which gives you the added strength to pursue your dreams and goals according to your faith and values. It will help you to think beyond yourself, transcend your selfish desires and work for a greater cause that may outlast your life and balance your material interests with your spiritual aspirations. Having faith in oneself is therefore of utmost importance. It is the key to all riches and abundance. How much you can draw from the reservoir of life depends upon what you think you deserve. It is always in proportion to how much you believe in yourself.

Compassion

Compassion arises in the heart of a person who feels and cares for others, and who is willing to share his happiness with others and transcend his own selfishness to help them. Compassion elevates your character and increases your peace and happiness. It arises from sensitivity, empathy and understanding. When you expand your self-concept to include others, you find in it space for them. You should not practice compassion to impress others or expecting rewards. However, when you have compassion, you will seek abundance not only for your happiness but also for the happiness of others and try to reduce their suffering. As you help people your influence grows, and opportunities increase, while the wishes and blessings of others increase your positive energy. It is the reward of good karma. The universe compensates you for the help you render and the good you do. When you let others share your happiness and success, it multiplies your own happiness and abundance. Through your compassion, you instill hope and faith in others, and inspire them to follow your example. You become a lamp that will bring light and cheer in their lives.

Intelligence

Intelligence is the ability to know, think, understand, and analyze your perceptions and use the knowledge according to your discretion to solve your problems and achieve your goals. Human intelligence plays an important role in several functions of the mind, such as perception, observation, learning, thinking, comprehension, analysis, reason, problem solving, decision making, estimating, creativity, intuition, foresight, discretion, etc. It can be enhanced, polished and molded through study, observation, learning and use. Using it, you can find opportunities and threats present in your environment and increase your chances of survival and success. It also helps you to know the distinction between right and wrong and deal with ambiguity and uncertainty.

There are many types of intelligence, such as verbal, visual, auditory, mathematical, logical, intuitive, etc. Each plays an important role in letting you make sense of the world and interpret your perceptions and experience. They are not separate entities but rather aspects of the same intelligence.

Your intelligence is Nature’s gift to you. It sets you apart from others, to the extent you polish it, express it and use it to resolve your problems, control your impulses and emotions, and establish equilibrium in your life and relationships. Use your intelligence to know how to attract right things into your life and keep them for your enjoyment, peace and happiness.

Interest

Interest means what you like, curious about, love or where your mind rests automatically. It is the quality, which attracts your attention, concern or curiosity. When you pay attention to something, it grows in importance and value and becomes interesting to you. It is indeed a form of attachment, or a manifestation of it. All that you create or make happen begins with interest. For example, if you are interested in abundance and positive aspects of life, they will eventually flow into your consciousness and become part of your life. Interest evokes and sustains dedication, concentration, whole hearted attention, passion and enthusiasm. They are the essential ingredients of success in any field. If you pursue in life what you are primarily interested in, your chances of success multiply. When your interests are aligned with your goals, you will experience inner harmony, which gives you a greater ability to express your talents, skills and latent energies.

When your interests are properly aligned, you do not feel conflicted because your mind and heart remain in harmony with each other. They enable you to learn from your experiences, know the possibilities and limitations, remain curious and open minded, accept challenges, take risks, test your limits, explore the unknown and the hidden, and thereby improve your skills and talents. The secret of success, therefore, is to select a career or a profession, which is in harmony with major interests, and pursue them with determination. When you follow your life according to your deepest aspirations, you experience peace and fulfillment and inner harmony. Prosperity arises from dedicated and concentrated effort, which is best possible when you are engaged in doing what you love to do. Therefore, you should aim only for those goals and aspirations which are directly influenced by your major interests.

Love

What you love loves you in return. Sometimes there may be resistance, but eventually if your love is strong, all resistance breaks loose. If you love material wealth, wealth will manifest in your life. If you love relationships, your life will be enriched with relationships. Your knowledge and wisdom grow in the direction of your life. Thus, love guides, directs and influences your life. You enjoy what you love, excel in what you love to do, and care for those whom you love. Your love manifests as acceptance, appreciation, harmony, peace, recognition, loving relationships, caring and nurturing help, and happiness. Your love for things can be selfish or selfless. Selfish love is eventually counterproductive as it separates you from the things you love or those you love.

Many successful people suffer from loneliness since they cannot overcome their self-love and selfish love for material things. Sometimes they love the ownership rather than their possession. They end up owning things but suffer from emptiness as they alienate the people who love them. Your success should not take away from you your capacity to love and appreciate people selflessly, especially those who contribute to your success and love you genuinely. You cannot force yourself to love anything. You have to prepare yourself for it by cultivating the higher qualities of compassion, friendliness, caring, gratitude, sacrifice and selflessness. When you have these, you allow your heart to feel love and extend it to others in your life. If you have love in your heart, you will not suffer from the scarcity of loving and positive relationships or the damage caused by negative emotions. You will enjoy your success by helping and healing people, serving others and creating opportunities for others to succeed in their lives.

Humility

The most difficult thing in the world is to remain unaffected by the rewards of success. Many people lose their balance, after becoming successful. They forget to look back and remember from where they have come. We can always celebrate our success, but it is important that we remember the basic virtues that keep us firmly rooted to the ground. Humility is the most important among them. Without humility, it is difficult to achieve success and much more difficult to sustain it. When success goes to your head, it leads to your downfall. Those who climb the steps of life, without looking down, are bound to fall from the heights at some point of time. It pays to be modest and unassuming to fill the cup of your life with knowledge, experience and abundance. Life is always eager to teach us lessons and those who succumb to pride and arrogance receive many.

Humility means feeling confident without vanity and conceit, accepting challenges unassumingly with courage with faith, and rejoicing in your victories without pride and arrogance. It is to acknowledge those who are worthy of respect and reverence, and learning from others without feeling small and inadequate. Humility is all about balance. It lets you know your strengths and weaknesses and accept them realistically without feeling high or low about yourself. The know-it-all attitude does not help you to forge relationships or improve your knowledge and skills. People, who lack humility, learn their lessons the hard way. If you overrate yourself, you may set unrealistic goals and take wrong decisions. Alternatively, if you underrate others you may make mistakes in choosing right people or using them for right purposes.

Humility enables you to accept suggestions, learn from others, be considerate, thoughtful, helpful and humble in your relationships and communication, and express gratitude for the help you receive and the success you achieve. It lets you keep your feet firmly on earth, and your imagination soar. When you are humble, you do not feel the compulsion to prove yourself or indulge in pretentious behavior. The universe conspires against those, who are arrogant and conceited. It is better to be humble and avoid unnecessary controversies and conflicts on your way to success. The least that you can do in your life is to become an obstacle to your own goals through your negative behavior.

You can express your talents and skills in various ways. Arrogance and pride are definitely not among them. Humility is a virtue, which opens the doors of friendship and appreciation, and secures the help and cooperation of others. If you are humble, you receive help from many because you do not hesitate to ask for help, show your vulnerability, or accept rejection. Since you respect others, they will serve you willingly. You can be proud of your accomplishments, but you should be humble in your thinking, attitude and behavior. You can aim for stars, but with your feet firmly on the ground. To your pride under control, you may rejoice in your victories, but you should remain balanced in defeat. You should have faith in your abilities, but you should not let your self-confidence turn into arrogance and cause your downfall.

Simplicity

Simplicity is like a straight line, or music without noise, or a person without titles. You manifest it in your life when you remove the clutter and keep what is necessary. Simplicity implies ease, straightforwardness, order, organization and clarity in both thinking and behavior. You reach it through mastery, understanding, experience, insight, discipline, wisdom and self-control. If you master it, it serves you well in life, as it improves your efficiency and effectiveness and leads to peace and perfection. If you want to be successful, you should set clear and precise goals, minimize distractions, and follow a strict discipline, using efficient methods and means, and finding straightforward solutions. When you simplify your life, you will have time and opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills, spend time with your friends and family, rest your mind and body, find freedom from stress and strain, do the things you love most and put your resources to more efficient use.

We cannot completely remove complexity from our lives, since we are not in complete control of our lives. The world is complex enough to worry us. We have to deal with people who are by nature unpredictable and complex. Since we do not always have the answers, we cannot help making things difficult and complicated for ourselves. The world is attracted to glitter and glamour. Many people do not even appreciate simplicity. Yet, simplicity is important to keep your focus, maximize your efficiency and effectiveness and conserve your resources. Therefore, try to bring simplicity into your life wherever possible. Focus on the important. Eliminate redundancies. Delegate tasks. Minimize expenditure. Improve efficiency and effectiveness. Avoid micromanaging. Establish rules and norms. Organize everything, and finally, use what is necessary.

Generosity

We are well aware of the corrupting nature of wealth. When success goes into their heads, people lose their balance. When Jesus declared that it would be difficult for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle, he was not suggesting that prosperity was a curse, but that it could corrupt the minds of people and lead them astray. One of the dangers of accumulating wealth is, it tends to make people too selfish and self centered. All religions urge their followers to be aware of the attachment created by our desire for material things. As our attachment grows and as we accumulate material things, our hearts begin to constrict and we give less and less. Our lives undergo transformation as old relationships fade away, new relationships are formed, new standards of achievement are established in place of the old, and our hunger for further success and achievement grows in intensity.

All wealth belongs to God. In fact, material wealth is a trap, set to test the nobility and refinement of our character. When abundance flows into our lives, we become its temporary trustees. We have a right to enjoy it and share it with others, but we cannot cling on to it forever. It does not belong to us in the strict sense of the word, because God is the true Owner of everything and someday we have to return to Him what belongs to Him.

There is a law of compensation operating in the universe. It is what we can loosely translate as the law of karma. What you give, you will receive manifold. What you receive, you have to give back at some point of time in your life. If you hold on to things, which belong to the universe, you may likely reap its negative effects. Spiritual wealth is perhaps more important than material wealth and we cannot accumulate it enough, if we are attached to material things and remain under the influence of our egoistic and selfish thinking.

Abundance flows into your life because of the generosity of God. When you receive it, it becomes your prime responsibility to permit its free flow back into the universe so that its movement is not impeded and its purpose is not defeated. The riches that come into your life are not meant for you alone, but for all those, whose welfare has become your responsibility and whose progress in life depend upon you.

We have to remember that our success is not achieved by our individual effort alone, but with the help of many. The support and generosity of many make possible the dreams of one. Even the group, nation, society, or community, to which we belong, play an important role in our survival and success. It is not necessary that only those whom we know help us. People whom we have never met and never seen play their role in shaping our lives through their thoughts and actions. Therefore, it would be unwise on our part not to share our fortunes with others and carry the karmic debt we incurred beyond this life.

The true purpose of prosperity is to overcome attachment to material things and give expression to the highest aspirations in you, as you free yourself from the petty demands of your egoistic self and become a self-aware individual, with a refined character, noble attitude and an expansive mind and heart. Your material wealth will not become an obstacle on your path to salvation only when you learn to control it rather than be controlled by it, and make it a source of happiness and solace to others through giving and sharing. This way, you carve your path to the heavens and earn your right to pass through the "needle."

Generosity should be practiced with regard to not only material wealth but also other aspects. You can do it by sharing your thoughts and ideas with others, helping them solve problems, find resources or information, or sharing your love and happiness. You can be generous in your appreciation and support and cooperate, and collaborate with others since cooperation and collaboration are aspects of generosity only.

Curiosity

Curiosity means eagerness, enthusiasm, desire and interest to know about something. It is the main driving force in our progress and that of our civilization. It plays an important role in the growth of young children as they want to know about everything and keep asking questions and seeking answers. It is not confined to humans only. Even animals possess some curiosity. They want to know what is happening around them, where they can find food, and whether they are safe or not. In humans it serves as an important motivating factor. It prompts us to go out of our comfort zones and explore the world to satisfy our needs and adapt to it.

There is also a negative side to it. In the hands of unscrupulous people, curiosity can turn into prying and meddling, and cause a lot of grief to others. Positively speaking, it increases our knowledge and awareness, prompts us to seek new relationships and opportunities, know the world, stay in the present and solve our problems and ignorance by being creative, inquisitive and inventive.

Because of curiosity people venture into the unknown and the unfamiliar, and try to unravel the secrets hidden in the world. In a proper frame of mind, it sustains our interest, propels us into action, and fills our minds with wonder and enthusiasm. As we become adults, we become less interested in the world and less curios. We take things for granted and become preoccupied with our routine lives, whereby we stop learning and growing. Therefore, it is important to keep our curiosity alive and use it to achieve excellence and superior knowledge. Revive your childhood curiosity to know yourself and your potentials and keep learning and expanding your knowledge and awareness.

Initiative

Initiative comes with the freedom to think and act. It implies leadership, ambition, interest, enthusiasm, control and commitment. In a competitive environment, it puts you in control of your actions and ahead of others. It is a rare quality, which is found mostly in entrepreneurs, authors, scientists and resourceful individuals who want to achieve excellence in their field. Success is achieved mainly through intelligent and self-motivated effort. Extraneous factors may play a role in testing and strengthening your resolve, but without interest and initiative you cannot progress far. People and circumstances may encourage you or inspire you to achieve success, but ultimately you have to take the initiative to control your life and actions. Successful people know that they have to find motivation and purpose within themselves and rely upon their talents and skills to achieve success.

Hence, they take responsibility for their actions and lead themselves without waiting for inspiration or instruction from others. Since they are self-directed individuals, they do not blame others for their failures. They own their failures and learn from them. Since they show courage and initiative and are unafraid of taking risks, they distinguish themselves as leaders, pathfinders and torch bearers. They become popular for their initiative and effort in helping others and helping themselves.

Conclusion

Remember these fifteen qualities which can change your life. Write them down a piece of paper and keep it within your gaze for frequent reference. Your life will change to the extent you manifest them in your life. If you practice them sincerely, they can transform your life beyond your imagination. I have no doubt in my mind that these qualities can pave the way for your excellence in any field, elevate your consciousness, build your character and help you to transcend your lower nature. Therefore, practice them regularly, finding opportunities in your daily life. For your convenience, I am restating them here.

  • Optimism.
  • Awareness.
  • Discipline.
  • Determination.
  • Courage.
  • Faith.
  • Compassion.
  • Intelligence.
  • Interest.
  • Love.
  • Humility.
  • Simplicity.
  • Generosity.
  • Curiosity.
  • Initiative.

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