I heard someone say that if you want to check someone’s status, you look at the man’s watch and the woman’s handbag. Hmmmm. Titles, money, houses, cars, lavish vacations, toned bodies…What markers do you use? How do you determine if you are living a truly ‘Successful’ life?
The Oxford Living Dictionary defines SUCCESS as “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” This seems fine, but then it further defines it as “The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.” Herein may lie the crux of the problem, and yes we do seem to have a problem as evidenced by the high levels of dysfunction, depression, etc. in current society.
So the issue isn’t the “aim and purpose” aforementioned, the issue may be in the striving for fame, wealth and social status. I have no scientific proof, but I’m almost certain that most of us in a conscious or subconscious way evaluate our success by measuring ‘what is’ against ‘what should be’ in our lives. Then, unfortunately, we let any perceived deficits interfere with our joy and peace levels.
Yet it is clear that many of societies ‘success markers’ do not always bring fulfilment and happiness; they are those with tons of money and fame that drug themselves to oblivion or take their own lives. If you are measuring your success by the car you drive or the house you live in, what happens if a natural disaster sweeps these away? If you measure it by your ‘Director’ title, what happens when the organisation lays you off? Even if you are measuring your success by the person you marry, what happens if they walk out the door? Or by the kids you raise, then they move out? What then?
Mother Teresa said: “God does not require that we be successful only that we be faithful.” I think she was on to something. Clearly in this dynamic world where changes happen in an instant, and wealth, people, businesses and jobs come and go; it doesn’t appear to make much sense to tie your self worth, purpose or fulfilment to positions, people, prosperity or power, but rather to be Faithful to Fulfilling a Purpose that has lasting or eternal value.
I personally believe there is nothing wrong with material possessions and wanting nice things, not at all! I do think there is a problem if you let those things determine your worth or success. There is certainly nothing wrong with being ambitious or ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ but it’s not the Title of ‘Vice President’ that makes you truly successful, but rather the lives you impact for the better as the Vice President. It’s not the millions that make you successful, but the lives you change with those millions. It isn’t who is on your arm, but how you positively affect that persons life that speaks of success.
So my personal definition of success sound something like this “Success is the ability to stay faithful to the call of God on my life.” After many life lessons learnt, I now measure my success by my ability to daily walk towards purpose and potential, whilst loving and bettering the lives of those I touch!
Wishing you much Joy & Success!