Define what is success for you, to become successful

Please email me if you find a typo or something unclear. Thank you. Sophie

I sleep poorly the night before every Playground session. It takes me hours to fall asleep, and I have trouble-filled dreams.

So when I got up this past Saturday, it was freezing cold, in the single digits outside… single digits in Fahrenheit is very cold… double digits in the minus in Celsius.

So I pondered what I had to look forward that day.

For a long time, for years, when I looked, when I asked that question, I only saw one thing to look forward to: my morning tea. Rich British Blend Tetley with full fat milk…

But those days are over, I am struggling with the bad health my milk consumption has bought me. I can still have tea, but now with hemp milk I make myself from hemp seeds, or sometimes almond milk. I have a nut butter machine just for this purpose. The tea is drinkable but not a source of joy, not a good enough reason to get up in the morning, not something to look forward to.

And yet, nowadays I get up, every morning, with spring in my step.

Most people get up in the morning because they didn’t die the night before.

Or because they have to… need to… should. Because of some pressure.

I have neighbors downstairs now, and I can feel their attitude regarding getting up… Not pretty. Not pleasant.

Yesterday I listened to the whole two sided vinyl record made by famed radio person, Earl Nightingale, from Nightingale-Conant.

I had never heard it before even though in its heyday it sold more than a million copies… especially sales people sought it out.

The most important sentence, the real secret, in that talk is this:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

What does this mean? What does he mean by that?

He means that you set out to achieve something, and then little by little you get closer to achieving it, that is what is called progressive realization. Little by little, step by step.

No jumps, no sidetracks, no running on empty…

I don’t have any successful persons, anyone in my environment, who is successful based on this interpretation of success.


Because of the Anna Karenina Principle.

The Anna Karenina Principle says: from Wikipedia: The Anna Karenina principle states that a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms an endeavor to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one where every possible deficiency has been avoided.

The original sentence was: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Deficiency, according to the Wikipedia definition is eliminating or avoiding every way people don’t get happy families, or as in our case, every single way people don’t get successful: progressively realizing of a worthy ideal.

The biggest issues, in my experience with my students are

  • 1. No goal, ideal, purpose is set, or it is too vague… like I want to be happy, peaceful, I want to make a difference… etc. If you don’t know where you are going any road takes you there… This leads to indiscriminate selection of the doing part. The doing part can be changed as frequently as one may change their underwear… maybe even more, but none stuck to… applied consistently.
  • 2. Too many purposes cause weak insufficient motivation: not all energies go towards a defined ideal, purpose, or goal.
  • 3. The goal lives merely as a wish… no real action is taken towards it… it lives as a pie in the sky: I am entitled to it. It will come to me. Leaving it to others, circumstances, god, a mind-movie, etc. to deliver it.
  • 4. Complacency… what I have is good enough

If you have the habit of not being successful in your life, you probably won’t be successful in my programs either, unless the leopard can change its spots.

When you are in one of my programs, your first job is to get and commit to what the purpose of the program is, what the promise of the program is to you.

For example, the Playground promises: It is never too late to have a happy childhood.

The purpose of the program is to make you whole and complete so you can be on the side of Life and create a purpose for yourself, not merely survive.

  • To become whole and complete by removing all wrong and wrongdoing, by you or others, from past incidents by revealing the invisible machine that is running your life… the racket: by removing the payoffs, that is the trigger.
  • To become whole and complete by remove the upsets: by removing unrealistic expectations by seeing that societal agreements, all the agreements we assume were made were never made. Parents never promised to love their children, for example. No population has ever promised to be nice and fair and kind to their fellow man.
  • To become whole and complete by learning to communicate effectively, in a way that makes life work for you and the other.

If and when you forget the purpose of the program you are spinning your wheels, and are not successfully doing the Playground.

The Playground frees you up, prepares you, gets you past the first few boulders in the 7 boulders view of accomplishment.

The 7 boulders view is this: you have a direction, but you can’t clearly see what it is… it is like a horizon. But there are obstacles in the way… we call them boulders.

Your behavior, your character, your addiction to pleasure or attention or do-gooding, or applause, or being liked… for example.

Your lack of skills, lack of strength, your lack of will power, your low TLB, your narrow cone of vision, your inability to focus, your dislike of learning… for example.

The Playground can prepare you to take these boulders on and succeed… prepare you to become the person who can…

The most successful participant has placed the Playground to the service of his ultimate goal: to become a successful businessman. A stepping stone to his ultimate goal.

That is the secret of his success in the program, that the program is a stepping stone, a way to become the person who can.

The rest of the participants either don’t have, haven’t formulated, or never ever contemplated creating a purpose for their lives. They live day to day. The quality of their life is defined by circumstances. They have good days and bad days, a life of a roller coaster.

I used to have a life like that. A roller coaster life.

Exhausting, draining, not pleasant.

In 1991 November I did a Landmark seminar. I don’t remember which of the 20 different seminars I have taken, my guess is it was Integrity.

In that seminar the participants were asked to write down what our major complaints were about our lives.

My biggest complaint was this roller coaster life… of always living on the edge, emotionally, financially, healthwise, relationshipwise… in every way.

The next step was to create a purpose from that complaint, without trying to fix it.

Now, if you pay attention:

  • Wanting to fix it means that you say: it is wrong. That is the first hurdle to creating a good purpose.
  • The second hurdle is to avoid blaming circumstances, yourself, or other people for the issue.
  • And the third hurdle is to turn what is irking you into useful… What?! yeah, useful.
  • And then, the fourth hurdle: what remains is considering that the complaint is what makes this great and a perfect match for you.

So from that huge complaint I came up with the following purpose:

The purpose of my life is living on the edge, generating distinctions of transformation for humankind and sharing it with the world.

  • Living on the edge is saying the complaint with different words… more like an intentional activity… i.e. owning it.
  • Generating distinctions… that is useful… I can use the view from the edge to see stuff that can’t be seen from the comfortable middle.
  • and sharing it with the world is my contribution

Without the last part, the contribution, I would have dropped it long time ago.

But for me, my ITCH, is to be significant, maybe even famous one day.

So this is a perfect purpose for me… Painful and perfect.

A few words about the ITCH: the ITCH is that emotional need we all have, to feel important, to feel significant, to feel validated, loved, wanted, to matter, to be OK…

In Maslow’s Theory of Motivation Maslow said that humans are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be addressed.

Needs at the bottom of the pyramid are basic physical requirements including the need for food, air, water, and sleep. Once these lower-level needs have been met, people can move on to the next level of needs, which are for safety and security. Once these needs have been reasonably satisfied, he or she may be able to reach the next level, and eventually after all the lower needs are met, they can reach the highest level called self-actualization.

Maslow believed that all people are motivated to move up the hierarchy toward a level of self-actualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by the in ability or unwillingness to meet lower level needs. He believed a person cannot become self-actualized if he or she is starving for food or if they are still seeking love and affection from others.

The Playground, by removing all the reasons we are stuck, by removing all the wrongs from our childhood, we can start to move up Maslow’s pyramid all the way to self-realization.

One of the fundamental wrongs we entertain and remove in the Playground is that our parents/society didn’t give us what we needed: attention, validation, feeling wanted, feeling that you matter, feeling that you are OK.

One of our tools is Hillel’s three lines:

If I am not for me, who is for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now when?

When you can identify the needs that are still unfilled, unsatisfied, you can start providing it for yourself. Why yourself to yourself?

  • As long as you want validation from others, you’ll be unhappy and unsuccessful.
  • As long as you want fulfillment from something outside of you, you’ll be unfulfilled
  • As long as you want to be liked by others, so you can feel OK, you won’t be liked and you won’t feel OK.

And you can put your own unfilled need in this sentence: as long as you want [your ITCH} from others… you’ll be [however lacking the ITCH makes you feel], and at best you’ll extort it, at worst you’ll live without it your whole life.

And if you observe yourself, you either extort your ITCH fulfillment, attention, mattering, feeling OK by doing nasty things to yourself or others… or continue feeling not getting what you want.

You lacked feeling important? Just dupe someone important to associate with you, and never tell them that you are doing it only for yourself. You’ll feel important by association, using another person. Eventually there will be hate there… and you gained nothing.

Only when you learn to provide yourself what you want and need that you are ready, really, for the actions, the work it takes to progressively realize that worthy ideal Earl Nightingale talks about.

But yet again, unless you set some worthy goal, you won’t have enough CONTEXT to start fulfilling the lower level needs that need to be fulfilled by yourself.

When someone sets their sights too low, they won’t do it. There won’t be enough motivation.

In my experience the process ‘What are you building with that?‘ can be very useful.

Another useful way to find out what lies further than your low-brow vision of yourself and your life, is to ask: ‘To what end?

Let’s look at health. I want to become healthy again, after nearly dying of old age back in August. How do I know I was dying? I just looked at my numbers… the important numbers, heart, circulation, lungs were 1%… anything lower than 10% is a strong indicator that you are killing yourself.

But getting healthy for health’s sake is low-brow. The context is the same as the content. It will never happen.

The context has to be bigger than the content.

This is why, when you pay for your ideal food list, but you don’t follow it. This is why you eat whatever is available, or whatever you are addicted to.

But if I asked: you want to get healthy? To what end? or alternatively: what are you building with that?

The answer, if you look, is the next slightly bigger context.

  • Here is a woman. To her getting healthy means that she will be able to travel and check on the water system she organized and donated time and money for… in India. But she needs to get much healthier for that. And she is going to 5 different exercise classes every week, and she is getting visibly stronger, visibly less hunched over. She is 78 years old.
  • A man who is now 93 years old, is exercising every day, losing weight intentionally. His goal is to live till 100. Anything larger? I don’t know, although living till 100 seems to really enthuse him… giving him self-esteem, and a pep in his step.
  • A woman has a child she adopted. She has realized that unless she changes her ways, unless she becomes a good mother, her child will be, predictably, pulled into mischief and a wasted life… So she has doubled up on her efforts to become all she can become. For that future: be a mother who can beat the odds for her child.
  • A man has had a life of humdrum existence. He is lacking importance he sorely craves. He is training himself to become someone who can change the world for people less fortunate than himself by leading classes that teach healthy way of thinking, healthy way of relating.

And so on and so forth.

The other reason you might not have a useful purpose is because your purpose is way out there… and it is vague.

I want to be happy. I want to feel OK about myself.

If that is why you don’t do anything, then the 7 boulders method will work for you.

And the third method, the hardest is to start at that end result, and trace your way back. I won’t write about it now, because it is worth a whole article, maybe even a whole course by itself.

I have the transcript of the Earl Nightingale talk that created the self-development industry now billions of dollars a year strong.

If you prefer to highlight the transcript, go to

I lead a program years ago to dig out, to identify the ITCH. It’s called the Itch workshop.

And now, seeing the need, I am going to do a workshop for those who already know their ITCH, a workshop where I’ll will work one-on-one with the participants to design the process for their own specific ITCH.

If you buy before midnight this coming Friday, you can get a 20% off coupon. Here is the code IMPORTANT

Beat your machine with the Itch strategy

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Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

True empath, award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

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