08/21/2015 11:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Steps to Self-Mastery for Success and Happiness

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Wealth, prestige, and power constitute the world standard for success. For some these prizes have come through hard work, for others through luck or inheritance. Yet none guarantee happiness. As the greatest measure of true and lasting success, happiness requires more, and self-mastery is the critical key.

Looking deeper at what makes people genuinely happy, we see that people who are happy usually have, or can get, what they need when they need it. The essential word here being need not want. Wants might include the wealth and power mentioned before, but needs could include information, assistance with a problem, or peace of mind, in addition to material possessions. We can infer then that happiness is enabled by an ability to create at will what we need, mentally, emotionally and materially. Although this sounds like a hybrid of the Law of Attraction and great portfolio management, to measure success in this way is really determined by our levels of willpower and self-control, which when combined lead us to self-mastery.

1. Determine Needs versus Wants

To get to a state of inner equanimity and outer control, we begin by analyzing the difference between our needs and our wants. Generally, true needs serve our inner wellbeing and the benefit of others. When we are in service to the common good, we feel greater peace and we become aligned with the collective law of abundance. In contrast, wants gratify the senses and our egos, keeping us narrow-minded and protective of our personal self-interests. Take a moment to consider the spectrum of needs versus wants in your life right now.

2. Engage Willpower and Evenmindedness

Once we have set course with legitimate needs, the use of will force is necessary to generate positive movement in the direction of our worthwhile goals. The potency of our willpower is essential to temper distracting desires and to overcome habits and addictions that can undermine our noble efforts. Start by defining one small goal. Place all your effort and will in that direction. Eliminate all fear, doubt or belief in limitation as these inner forces sap energy, weaken the will, and deplete the body. Cultivate the endurance of a long distance athlete in your mind and practice evenmindedness in all circumstances. Do not allow anything to steal your peace and willpower.

3. Simplify and Focus

Simplification concentrates our efforts and helps us to focus on true needs that serve the good of all at some level. Eliminate distractions and practice concentration techniques like conscious breathing to train the attention single-pointedly like a laser beam. By focusing the power of thought intently, we become adept at catching any repetitive habits of the mind that are negative or scattered which pull us from the goal of self-mastery.

4. Attune to the Universal Law of Wisdom

By stilling the personal ego-centered mind and opening to a higher channel of intuitive perception, we become able to download the abilities or resources needed to create what we need at will. All answers and solutions exist in the realm of potential. We just have to tap in. Anyone can manifest success through attunement with this universal law of wisdom. Meditation is a highly beneficial practice to help us achieve this goal, as it builds the capacity to quiet and train the mind. Once we have overcome our restless thoughts, inspirations for right course of action can come effortlessly to help us achieve success.

5. Never Give Up

Self-mastery requires an undaunted faith in what is possible and our ability to achieve it. At the very moment that a temporary failure is upon us, we must refuse the thought of ultimate failure, "The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success, "1 writes Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a Yogi. A key practice to keep the necessary faith is to employ gratitude for what we have now rather than focusing on what may still be missing. In this way, we move in the direction of happiness.

By using the strength of inspired, focused thought to create what we need, we also become able to create happiness at will through the power of our expanded consciousness. Begin now by deciding that it is possible to be happy. Then become determined to be happy! Refuse to give up. By choosing to be happy in every moment of our lives regardless of external circumstances or measures of our net worth, we have succeeded at self-mastery. And by manifesting genuine happiness at will, we claim true success at life.

1 Paramhansa Yogananda, The Law of Success, (Los Angeles: Self Realization Fellowship, 2010) 31.

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