Deepak Chopra: 4 Secrets to a Life of Fullfillment
On his 14th birthday, Deepak Chopra's father made a small, yet purposeful,
gesture: He gave his son some novels by Sinclair Lewis and W. Somerset
Maugham as a birthday gift.
Chopra's father was a doctor in their native India, and he wanted his son
to become a doctor, too. Chopra, however, dreamed of becoming a writer. He
ignored biology and chemistry in school. "The people I most admired were
journalists and other writers who were friends of the family," he tells SUCCESS.
"I had no interest in being a physician. But my father knew two things: that I
had a fertile imagination and that those books were all about doctors and healers. At the age
of 14, you're very pliable, so after reading them, I went to my father and said I wanted to be
Imagine the knowing smile on dad's face.
Chopra went on to America to become a
respected endocrinologist, a medical school
professor and, eventually, one of the foremost
proponents of mind-body medicine,
or the combination of Western medical
knowledge with ancient Eastern philosophies.
He is also the author of more than
50 books, including Reinventing the Body,
Resurrecting the Soul, in bookstores now.
And today, when you consider that our
cultureâ??s standard definition of success is
money, fame and influence, Deepak Chopra
indeed has collected them all.
But that last sentence cheapens his
accomplishments. He didn't just become
successful. He fulfilled his own definition of
success. That's a far richer accomplishment.
The fact that he fulfilled the fame/fortune/
power success trifecta along the way (what
he calls the "restricted" definition of success)
is almost a byproduct. "I define success as
the following," Chopra says. "No. 1, the
progressive realization of worthy goals.
No. 2, the ability to love and have compassion.
No. 3, to be in touch with the creative
source inside you. And No. 4, to ultimately
move from success to significance."
That last part is crucial. It's what creates
people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett—
people whose material success becomes
great enough that they can concentrate on
more humanistic and satisfying endeavors,
or "significance," as Chopra says. Through
that work, they become greater than their
success, and ultimately, when they're alone,
out of the spotlight, that's what drives them.
"Material success by itself without significance
to the common good ultimately is not fulfilling,"
says Chopra, and he speaks from experience.
In short, folks like Gates, Buffett and Deepak
Chopra are not the type who think about
making enough money to "retire by 40," or some
other target age. They don't think about retiring
at any age. They're at war with dissatisfaction,
which keeps them fine-tuning their A-game
and their long-term goals. Money is simply the
byproduct of that process.
Now, Chopra warns, that's not to say that
material success isn't exciting. "Oh, in the beginning
it's very exciting," he says with a chuckle.
"Though, over many years of soul-searching
and observing people, I have discovered to my
own amazement, actually, that being extremely
wealthy is meaningless."
He cites a close friend of his, a
multimillionaire, as proof. "This
man's level of happiness or misery
depends every evening on an
e-mail that informs him what his
net worth is, based on what the
stock market did that day. What
kind of life is that? He's a classic
example of millions of dollars not
making a person happy."
success by itself without significance to the common good ultimately is not fulfilling."
So the secret is to forget all about money? Not
at all. "Financial security is very important," says
Chopra, for the freedom it allows. However, the
secret to real success goes deeper. Don't pursue
happiness, he says. Especially don't pursue
excitement, like the kind provided by making
and spending big numbers. Pursue excellence.
Pursue fulfillment. And Chopra has done that by
fulfilling not society's definition of success, but
his own. It's real. It's meaningful. And the best
part: It's all his.
"True wealth comes from creativity," he says.
"Somehow, in modern society, wealth and
money have become equated. Money is not
wealth. Wealth in its true sense is success," as
Chopra defines it for himself.
How does creativity impact success? Creativity
is all about its root word: Create something
of value that wasn't there before. Creativity is
also freedom of thought directed
toward your goals. Very few
people embrace this, Chopra says.
Oh, they talk a terrific game about
life goals and potential business
models and cool new ideas to
increase income streams. But true
creativity requires an open mind
and curiosity, two phenomena
that have become rare these days.
Why? Today, people don't have
open minds. Many of us are closed
off to even the slightest deviation in
mindset, even though most people
would probably consider themselves
"creative" and "curious."
They're liars, says Chopra, and
two factors—the financial crisis
and Sept. 11—prove it.
"Curiosity and open-mindedness
mean being aware of what's
going on in your world," he says.
"What has happened in the last
few years with our economic
disaster is the result of not having
full awareness of what's really
happening around us. We were
forced to do that after 9/11. Now
we know more about the rest of
the world, and we also see the
context in which violence arises,
in which power arises, in which
ecological disasters occur."
You might ask, What does that
have to do with fulfilling my potential?
Well, being locked up in your
own mindset means being locked
out of the world around you. "Creativity, imagination, insight, intuition,
conscious choice-making, love, compassion, understanding—
these are the qualities of a core consciousness that we come with into
the world as children," Chopra says. "But then we get programmed
into the hypnosis of social conditioning, which says instant gratification
is the way to be happy. That's sold to us every single day."
Chopra suggests several ways to break open more creativity
Adopt a growth mindset. Chopra says research over the past five
years has shown that when adversity strikes, happier people tend to
see creative opportunities, while unhappier people see, well, adversity.
"It's programmed through childhood through a phenomenon
called mirror neurons," he says. "If you saw people complaining all
the time when you were a kid, that's
what you do. Your neurons mirror the
behavior." To change your mindset,
step back and ask yourself, How can I
turn this into an opportunity?
Engage the "unfriendlies." This
is not the same as "sleeping with the
enemy." It simply means make an effort
to connect with those you have the
least in common with, or even flat-out
disagree with, and dissect their point of
view until you understand its inherent
value (it's there, alright). This, Chopra
says, is the hallmark of the creative,
curious, open mind. "There has been
a lot of literature on emotional intelligence,
social intelligence, and how
they're all linked. We have a person
who is now president who, on some
level, knew all this. He bonded with
America in a way that was amazing,
despite the fact that his middle name
is Hussein, and he transcends in many ways the definition of
identity: Is he black? Is he white? And yet, he beat all the odds and
Read. Such a simple concept, but a hallmark of learning that's,
again, ignored by many (even with pride by some). But reading is
what allowed Chopra to fulfill two life dreams. The boy who wanted
to be a writer instead became a doctor... who has written more than
50 books. Indeed, you can fulfill multiple destinies. Chopra could
not have done that without reading and more reading. To facilitate
his addiction, he recently bought a Kindle. "I'm now traveling with
the equivalent of 100 books, and I read them all simultaneously," he
says. "Books have always infl uenced my life. I get a strange sense of
joy boarding a plane knowing I'm carrying 100 books."
By: Mike Zimmerman / Source : Success
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