How do you define success?
Do you define it by how much money someone makes in their business? That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I first started reflecting on the word. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that a better definition of success is more about the outcome of what you set out to do rather than a monetary yard stick. For example, a parent that is considered successful in raising their children is admired for how their children “turn out”, not how much money they made while raising them. In my own life, the pursuit of success has been about taking what GOD has given me in the “raw material” of my talent/natural abilities, opportunities, even family, and stretching, expanding, multiplying all to the fullest potential. I’m not discounting the monetary side of success, but I believe it’s more of a byproduct of success than it is an indicator of success itself.
If it’s possible to be both a realist and idealist then count me in. Experience has taught me that there are difficulties and challenges to life that no one is immune to. They may look different for everyone, but they are challenges nonetheless, so looking at the outside of another person’s life and assuming they have it easy is not only a waste of time, but a hindrance to my own ability to move past obstacles. When I was young, I used to hear the older people in church say, “If it hasn’t happened to you, just keep on livin'”. I’ve found this statement to not only be true, but a great reminder to keep my focus on the lane of life in front of me. Envying the car in the next lane only takes my eyes off the road I’m traveling which will either slow me down, or cause an accident.
On the flip side, the idealist in me is ever optimistic, always searching for a way to make things work out despite the hurdles and believing to the very core of my being that no matter what we’re facing, there’s always a positive lining somewhere. It may not always be silver at first glance, but given the opportunity, it will shine at some point.
Blending these two viewpoints has given me a formula to live by. Embrace (yes, embrace) the fact that change in life is inevitable. Then determine in your heart not to let change be the determinant of your success (outcome).
When I watch television, I’m usually drawn to biography type shows or interviews with “successful” people. I always wonder what makes them tick. I’ve found the most notable stories to be the ones about people who have faced insurmountable odds in life, yet found a way to overcome them, hurdle over them, press pass them, to become successful in whatever field they’ve chosen to pursue. It’s fascinating to me to see how other people “make life work”, and it’s a great motivator for me in my own life to keep moving forward. This past weekend I watched an old interview from a show called, A Day in the Life (August 31 2011, Season 1 Episode 3). It featured the songwriter/recording artist/philanthropist, Will.i.am. I don’t know much about him, but he said something when referring to obstacles in life that I haven’t been able to shake:
“There’s always a way to break the code”.
Simple, but true and something I’m pretty sure I’ll keep rolling around in my mind for a long time to come. You never know how someone’s words will impact you until they meet you at the crossroads of your need.
Number 4 on my wish list for you in 2014 is that you would love life and live it to its fullest. I believe that once you define what success looks like for you and then pursue it with all you’ve got, you learn to love life, not because it’s perfect, but because you’ve accepted it for what it is.
Have an great week!
Keep doin’ what you love,