What does it mean to be successful?
Success usually brings to mind financial achievement or being number one. Others would define success by the bumper sticker: He who dies with the most toys wins. Some like to think that success is being busy—on the go, racing from one appointment to another, having much to do with too little time to do it.
The problem with these definitions of success is they exact a high cost. The Executive Digest said, “The trouble with success is the formula is the same as the one for a nervous breakdown.” That’s sobering, uncomfortable, and too often true.
Maybe we need to take a look at where we are and where we’d like to be. Maybe the definition of success that we are familiar with is not the correct one.
I’ve looked at success in a new light and have come up with the following acrostic:
There is no such thing as success without service. The secret of success lies in meeting the needs of others. And when we are meeting people’s needs we will discover fulfillment.
Let’s not measure success by how much we own or much money we have but by a sense of inner contentment. Real success is always internal, never external.
Character is of greater value than how much money or status we have. A man’s best test of character is revealed in how he treats people around him. So measure your success not by your possessions and achievements. Measure success in the quality of your character and conduct.
What really matters is not money, power, and ego but issues of the heart—like compassion, kindness, bravery, generosity, and love. Do you love people more than things?
Excellence is not being the best but being your best.
The popular notion of success has not cut it. A growing number of people yearn for significance more than success. Significance comes by giving ourselves to something that is greater than us and that will outlast us.
A problem in our society is that we are spending our entire lives looking for something worth living for. It would be better if we found something worth dying for. A young pilot in the RAF wrote just before he went down in 1940, “The universe is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the measure of his sacrifice.”
My book, Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character Through Crisis, takes a fresh look at the hard times that God uses to shape our character. This book offers hope that God can be found in crisis and shows how He turns our struggles into defining moments—opportunities to dramatically transform His people. Click here to claim your copy.