Friday, 7 October 2011

What is success?

It was Albert Schweitzer who once said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” This got me thinking. What is success and how do I know if I am successful? I think it is important to form your own definition of success. If you don’t, there is a good chance you will waste a lot of time and energy chasing someone else’s version of the word. Now I’m not sure there is right or wrong as to how we define success. The term itself is a subjective thing, so what success means to you might be different from what it means to me or other people, and this is perfectly fine. That being said, I think it is useful to discuss a little some such definitions, because it helps us to analyze whether or not we are moving in the right direction.

I read an article recently where the author was questioning what should be considered success and he comes to the conclusion that success should be measured as the positive impact his work will have upon the lives of other people. For example, most people tend to equate success with money. That is, the more money you make, the more successful you are. But under this definition one could argue that a drug dealer who makes millions of dollars annually is a very successful person. I don’t agree with this. I could give you that such drug dealer is a savvy businessman, but I wouldn’t call him successful, because the impact he has on the life of other people is actually a very negative one. Which leads us to one question: are you working to make as much money as possible, or to make as big an impact as possible?

How do we become a lasting success? What would your definition be? Ann Landers, the great guru of newspaper advice, once wrote, "To a great many people, money is a measure of success. If they are living on a lavish scale, they think they are successes. And yet many are dismal failures." Og Mandino, the author of The Greatest Salesman In The World, says, "The only difference between success and failure is good and bad habits - success is a state of mind." What is your definition of success? Let me suggest this one: Success is the process of fulfilling your purpose in life and doing it well. In short, success is a by-product of a life well lived.

Thinking about these 2 definitions I propose to you that the most successful person who ever lived is Jesus Christ. He knew what His purpose was: to reveal God to us in a person and to offer himself as our Saviour by dying for our sins. He fulfilled it perfectly. I would argue that the life and death of Jesus has easily had the biggest impact on humanity more than any other person who has ever lived. So was Jesus Christ the most successful man who ever walked this earth? Why don't you look to Him in faith? He'll put you on the road to success--God's way!