March 14, 2017

The Sidewalk Prophet’s Guide to Finding a Successful Life.

* As a note to the reader, this is going to be a heady and philosophical article. I threw in a lot of curveballs that could be hit by a toddler. It’s going to say some things you know. And I wrote this for the person who is at the point in their life where they say, “Why don’t I make enough money, have a great relationship, live in my dream home, and inhabit the body I feel sexy in?” In other words, I wrote this for myself. And I hope it helps you.


We live in incredibly fragile and complex bodies. 

We share a planet that is volatile and nurturing. We have constructed multiple philosophies and religions to help us navigate life’s unpredictable terrain. There is a never-ending stream of information and experiences available to us. There is one common thread in these philosophies, religions, and experiences, that scholars and children have directed to us: Go within.

We have heard variations of this concept when a teacher or a parent was giving advice about how to live a successful life. There is a lot of information about what “going within” should look like and what it will produce in our lives. Good marketing says that “going within” will produce more peace, joy, focus, money, love, sex, and the top tier life we in the West, strive for.

Conversely, there is a lot of talk about the externalization of our desires which sounds like, “When I get this, then I will feel that.” It’s rational enough because certain experiences do deliver a pardon from the scourge of tortuous reconciliations we have to attend to on a daily basis. We have discovered ways to experience and replicate bliss through the acquisition of external objects, substances, and other bodies.

Ultimately, without and within are like a helix. A thought can animate the body to create an action which impacts the external environment, much like a tuning fork’s vibration can activate another tuning fork to hum. And in the midst of this helix, a code has been inscribed for each of us.

In much the same way that the 20 amino acids are the building blocks of DNA, which are the building blocks of our cells, there are also 13 primary building blocks to living a successful life.

I call it the Sidewalk Prophet.


Our bodies are our proof of destiny. Where we are born, our gender, and our skin color set a certain trajectory for our lives. For instance, I was not born a black male who grew to be six foot seven inches and plays basketball. The culture that correlates with our race can be like a railroad track directing the experiences our bodies will have.

Our bodies are a template of destiny and the magic of its unfolding rests in the energy of our hearts. Why does one person want to compose music, while another builds the instruments, and someone else simply dresses well and attends the symphony? This is no accident—it is destiny.

We have no control over our basic impulses, with who and when we fall in love, and no real say in how the energy of survival will direct our paths. We are all responsible to keep our bodies alive for as long as they are destined to be here. So success is predicated on surrendering to our destiny. We are not making it happen, nor are we victim to it either. Rather, we are conduits: vessels for creation to move from the internal landscape to the external material world.


The concept of destiny doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. What is the point of life if it is already formatted for us?

We cannot leverage how our life happens, but can decide how we think about it.

Life falls on the just and the unjust, but our solutions are different. The rain falls on the wicked and the pure. The sun shines on the corrupt and the saintly. All of life is coordinated in a seemingly random paradox. The only sense it makes is what we make of it. Destiny will determine what our lives are meant for and determines how our bodies are to be used this lifetime.

The margin between success and apathy relies on how each individual chooses to perceive his or her destiny.


We are all acting in concert with one another. If there were no other humans to interact with, we wouldn’t need businesses. Money wouldn’t matter. We would just be a body in the wild, operating on instinct. Nothing would matter. But, with billions of people on Earth, everything does matter.

This is the juxtaposition of freewill. It is a form of perception and expression. People who exercise their freewill are often called rebels, reformers, artists, and innovators. Everyone else is referred to as “most people.” Yet neither are more special than the other. We are a pendulum of personalities.

The perception of freewill directs our expressions, and the helix of internal and external worlds shapes our personalities. So success in life has little to do with who we are, and more to do with how much we feel like we are participating in our destiny, through the expression of our freewill.


Bishop Jakes says that, “For every level there is another devil.” In other words, our bodies are going to age. There is no escaping it. Our destiny is written into our DNA. Our capacity to audit our lives determines whether we will have success instead of distress.

At every stage of life, we will either be at peace or at war with our transitions, depending on our capacity to lean into our destiny. Auditing is about being curious about the next step.

What have I learned?

What is asked of me now?

How shall I move forward?

We must take time to audit our lives during all of our transitions, large and small. In this way, we will remain receptive and perceptive to our destiny.


Being receptive is a feminine trait or yin energy. Being receptive means getting out of our own way. The language of success and existence is oftentimes muddled by masculine filters. Expressions such as “Make it happen,” “Go after it,” and, “Attract positive energy,” can be a bit confusing, especially when we’re told that all we need to do is “go within.”

We have bills to pay. We have kids to raise. We have to orchestrate the functions of our lives. And we get really busy trying to decide what to do next.

Receptiveness simply means listening. When we listen, we must be in the present moment. When we’re in the present moment, we surrender the idea that everything is up to us. Successful lives are infused with grace through receptivity.


Deciding simply means acknowledging that something is already done. We cannot imagine something, if it is not for us to imagine. If something is is possible and probable, our decisions are just agreements with the energy, asking to be birthed into the world through our actions. Successful people know this: There is no wrong decision.


Choosing is simply bridging the gap between our inner and outer worlds. Implied agreement colors within the lines of our decisions. Successful living is a result of continually choosing.


Our lives will come to an end, and the chapter will close. But with each waking day, we are living successfully when we try again and we persevere in the direction of our calling.


The Bible says, “Be still and know I am god.” Creation lives within us and is moving through us at a pace that our rational mind cannot control. Sickness or intention will slow the body down. We can access the energy of success in this stillness.

Inspired Action

When we are still, we can listen. When we listen, we will begin to feel. When we begin to feel, our bodies will begin to be animated. The soul will stir. The rush of desire will agitate action. This can often feel urgent, and at times it is. But urgency happens when our perceptions are in opposition to our inspirations. The spirit is moving, and when we take inspired action to move with it, we will live successfully.

Community Connections

Everyone is a teacher. Everyone is a student. Nobody will come into our life unless they have a message for us. The company we keep and the community we contribute to are the keys our success. We reflect each other and, as such, remind each other that life is temporary. But some cords can’t be broken.


There is a mystery to life built into our destiny. Why is it that some people marry their high school sweethearts and others muddle through life from one romantic affair to the next? Sometimes, the person we spend our life with can feel like they were meant for us. Maybe so. Maybe not. Partnership holds success in love, prosperity, wealth, health, and the good things in life. The lasting mystery of love resides in the core of partnership.


Love is the building block of success. It intertwines all the other components. Love and destiny are one in the same.

I offer this list as encouragement because we are all figuring life out. We are all in this together. We all have pain taking different shapes in our lives. We all long for something more or something less than what is present right now. Some of us will be content at times. Others will spend this life accumulating scars.

Life is a journey with the ultimate guide being our destiny. Success comes simply by living it.


Author: Rebekah McClaskey

Image: Flickr/Oh Debby  

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock 

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