Monday, August 10, 2009

What is Success?

If you follow my sister blog Preston's Path to Prosperity, you know, or at least I sure hope you do, that the premise is to document one person's rise from living an average, non-exceptional life to one that is truly outstanding and the thinking and beliefs that lead to that rise.

The problem is, it's a bit of a lie. Why? Because, I have already achieved success. However, you probably wouldn't define it that way.

By and large people have a very superficial definition of success. It looks something like this:

Must be a millionaire or better
Must hold a position of importance
Must have an attractive partner or partners
Must be healthy and in North America that generally means muscular/sexy body and plastic surgery so you have an attractive, youthful appearance as well as good overall health
Probably famous
Owns beautiful mansions, cars, clothes, etc.

I think most anyone would agree a rich, handsome, well built man with a gorgeous young wife and lots of ostentatious wealth would be a poster child for success.

Motivational Speaker Anthony Robbins understands this and that's the life he leads. He has to. Not for his benefit but for yours.

Let's face it, if Tony gave all his money to charity and lived and dressed very modestly, if he didn't work out and was as skinny as he once was, (although still healthy), if he married a very average or below average looking woman (even if she was an outstanding personality) and if you had never heard of him, you would not for a moment think he knew anything special that was worth listening too. At least, not without someone else recommending him.

So even though, at his core he was the exact same person, living his life exactly as he chose, living a life of boundless happiness, married to someone whom he loves and is loved by deeply, with fantastic knowledge that could change your life in an instant, you would not perceive him to have achieved success, at least not unless you got to know him. Anthony must have all those superficial signs of success on display so people will listen to what he has to say.

Here's another example of success that flys contrary to the thinking of the masses.

Mother Theresa.

Was she rich? Heavens no. She lived an extremely modest life.
Was she beautiful? Internally yes, where it mattered but she not a women men would look twice at.
Did she hold a prestigious position in life? Not my most people's standards.
Did she have an attractive mate? Not a worldly one, no, never.
Was she healthy? Yes, but not in the Hollywood sense that North Americans use to define it.
Did she own lots of great things. No.
Was she famous? Yes, but she did not seek it nor would it have made her any less of a success if she wasn't.

Let's face it, if you took her out of her religious attire and put her on the streets people would sooner think she was a baglady than a truly successful person. I'm sure you would agree they would be horribly wrong.

So then how do we define success? What makes a person successful?

The difference between a successful person and everyone else, is a successful person is defining the life they live while everyone else is allowing life to define them.

To put it another way, successful people are walking in faith. They are asking God for what they want and walking towards that in faith that the Lord will provide. They are not limiting what they are asking for, for they know that the Lord has no limitations. They are not living in doubt or fear.

Although they face daily uncertainy because the way forward is not clear it does not disway them. They have come to the firm realization that like walking through a dense fog, as you make each step forward you'll be able to see your immediate surroundings and take another step forward. Even when they do bump into something, that's okay, they expect and accept that that is going to happen. They just move around the obstacle and keep going. If they come to a wall they trust God will provide a way over, under, around or through and diligently search for that until they find it. If they step off an abyss they know God has a rope around them and will pull them back up. So while it may frighten for the moment, they do not doubt in their heart they'll soon be back on solid ground. In time they make it to where they are going.

Everyone else meanwhile avoids the fog, worried they'll get hurt or lost or merely be directionless because they don't know where they are headed to begin with. So they either move away from the fog, and have their path defined for them by the fog of life or sit still, not going anywhere, until the fog and their life passes away.

So to succeed you must have a clear vision of where you want to be that emboldens you, you must have deep lasting faith in your heart that you will arrive there and you must, must, must be taking action to achieve that vision (do not wait for God to place it before you, boldly go and claim it).

Vision, faith, persistant action those are the hallmarks of success. Even if you have not yet arrived, you are defining what life you are living and that is success.

What everyone else is doing, irregardless of their place in life, irregardless of how many of the superficial signs of success they have, is merely existing.

So our poster child of success could be rich and famous because of his parents, could have a gorgeous partner and many fancy things because he has money, he may even be given ownership of the family business but without vision, faith and persistant action of his own, he is still merely existing and is no more spiritually rich or fulfilled than a pauper. He is not successful, he is merely a dim shadow of the success that came before. So do not put stock in those worldly things.

Success is a state of mind, a state of being. And I have already arrived.

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