There was a young man who went to a Guru. He told the guru that he wanted to be on the same level as the Guru, we wanted to be successful. The guru said if you want to be on the same level that I’m on and you want to know how to be successful, tomorrow morning I’ll meet you at the beach.

So the young man very excited was there extra early. He arrived at the beach at 4am and he wore a suit, because he wanted to impress the guru. When the guru arrived, he asked the young man, how badly do you want to be successful at whatever it is that you do?

The young replies, “Very badly!”

So the old man grabbed the young man by the hand and walked him out into the water until they were waist deep. The young man began to think that this guru was crazy.

“Hey man, I want to make money, you have me out here swimming. I don’t want to be a lifeguard. I want to make money,” the young man said.

The old man pulled him out a little farther. The young man began to think that this guru wasn’t wise at all. The old man pulled him out till his shoulders were at the level of the water.

Then the Guru pulled him out farther until his head was about under. At this point the young man was about to go back in, he had had enough of these shenanigans. But then, the old man pulled him out even farther until he was completely underwater.

The Guru asked him, “I thought you wanted to be successful?”

The young man said, “I do,” between mouthfuls of water. At this point the Guru began shoving the young man’s head under water. The young man began to drown. He was scratching and clawing and fighting and doing everything possible to raise his head and break the surface of the water.

Just before he went unconscious, Guru raised the young man up and said, “Not until you want to be successful as much as you want to breathe will success ever materialize.”

If you’ve ever almost drowned, if you have asthma, or couldn’t breathe, you know you think of little else than air. If, like me, you climbing inside a dryer when you were four pretending it was a spaceship, and you suffocated, you know what it is to want to breathe. At that point you don’t care about money, a party, who is on the phone, diamonds, what is on TV, or what your fantasy football league is doing. You want to live.

Most of us say we want to be successful at the things we do. Most of us claim we want all of our dreams to come true. But, we don’t want them as much as we want to party, relax, watch TV, or be popular. Most of us don’t want success as much as we want to sleep.

Would I give up sleep for success? There are countless artists, scientists, writers, and composers who gave up sleep for success. Do you need money to make you follow your dreams? Not until it comes to the point that you would rather follow your dreams than be paid, will you be successful.

If I want to be successful, and for me success is living and loving compassionately everyone I encounter, I have to want it more than I even want to sleep, more than I want to be comfortable, more than I want money. How many times have I chosen my comfort at the expense of others? How can I expect to have success, be loving, accomplish my goals if I don’t want them as bad as I want to feed, breathe, and sleep.

The Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do to you. If I’m not willing to love others as much as I’m willing to love myself—what do I hope to accomplish?

A lot of people in this world search endlessly for a reason why some people are successful and others are not. They search for some magic talisman, they lament their condition, or blame others.

But frankly it boils down to productivity. Success will only come when you are willing to apply the most amount of effort to the best of your ability, in the allotted time that you have. All successful people realize that time is the most precious commodity out there. It is the only thing that you can never buy or buy back.

So successful people realize that they have a small amount of time to accomplish a certain task, so they have to give it their absolute all to that given task. Because, going through the motions is the most disadvantageous thing that we can ever do. We repeat a pattern that we know doesn’t deliver results from all our previous experience with it. What is worse is that we repeat the pattern so often that it becomes our normal.

Often when you do something wrong the first time, you have to redo it again and again till it is right. But, success is following your dreams with your all with your heart and soul. What is more, is that at the end of the day when we have accomplished our tasks, we can answer the question of did we love with a yes. If I am successful at the expense of others what have I accomplished? If I am so intent on getting to my job where I can love, that I cut everyone on the freeway off, what have I accomplished?

Breaking through the barriers…this is the difference: the barriers of our preconceived limitations…linear thinking. It is the idea that there is someplace better to be than where I am currently. That there is a time to love that is more effective than this moment now. It is the notion that there are people that need love more than those around me right now. Here is where it begins.

I wasn’t ready to leave San Diego. It didn’t seem right. I mentally wasn’t ready. The left turn that had loomed for so long was now before me…and I wasn’t sure of my dedication to the task. My friends Jodi and Wes realized this, and invited me to stay for a couple more days.

What I’ve been able to bask in and experience for the last couple days is complete love, kindness, and compassion. Jodi and Wes fed me, bought me art supplies, took me with their friends to sing karaoke, gave me massage, cooked for me, made coffee for me in the morning, and in general provided me with the mental and physical time and space to mentally prepare. These two people have loved on me like no other and I am extremely grateful…and ready— ready for a left turn.