Successful Success

Merriam Webster defines success as:

1: obsolete : outcome, result 2 a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence   3 : one that succeeds

For the most part the North American standard of success is often defined like this:  big house, second big house in the mountains or maybe two,  two luxury cars no make that three, big boat, corporate ladder climbing, six figure income, impressive investment portfolio,  steaks on the giant grill, and nice new fashion threads on your back and bottom.  Am I against such?  No, but people will actually give their life for such.   In losing my life for the above have I actually experienced successful success?

I have been calling on donors to support an upcoming fundraising banquet.  I was enjoying catching up with one donor and he asked me about a recent short term mission trip.  We talked about the people I met along the Amazon River.

He said to me, “I bet their idea of success is not like our idea of success.  How many of them have a big house, car, or a 401K.”  I laughed.  He continued, “I bet they enjoy their success a great deal more than we do.”  This time I did not laugh, but I commented, “Their success in many ways is much more successful and simple.”

Not that I am knocking enjoying any luxurious associations with success, but you can have it all and never experience successful success.  I think it has something to do with having the character to do what is right even when it is difficult.  In other words, material wealth makes for an unsatisfying meal if it is gained in manner that carries no honor, cost you your soul, or your family.

Success can be measured in intimate, caring, and mutually desirable family relationship.  Saying I love you to your teenage son or daughter and getting their mutual admiration, now that is success.  Humbly acknowledging you did something wrong to a family member or friend, demonstrates often uncommon but great success.  Making the ballgame, dance, or time for your expecting child is there any greater success?

Maybe Albert Einstein had it right.  “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”


Do you think successful success has an identity problem?

What are some measures of successful success for you?

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