I am referring to the proverbial ladder of success that we are all supposed to be climbing. For as long as I can remember, I have heard the analogy of climbing the ladder of success. My thoughts have been stirring in the area of success and purpose today, so I decided to write them down. People often visit my blog who are googling for encouragement, but one day someone was specifically googling for encouraging thoughts on success and failure. Here are a few thoughts, and I hope they are encouraging.
Don’t get me wrong, I love goals and endurance sports. I did a three-hour cycling (spinning) marathon at Fitness First last year and I wanted to keep going. The gym is located on the 35th floor, so there is a nice view of Manila on clear days. I enjoy pushing myself and I think I would enjoy mountain climbing as well, except heights make me nervous. But when it comes to life, I want my goals and dreams to benefit others through love.
When we were living in Lviv, Ukraine, we often visited the home of our friends Robert and Connie Poland. There was always so much joy and love in their home. One day I was telling Robert, a jolly man with a white beard and hair like Santa, that we greatly appreciated the love in their home. This was his response: “People will not remember you for how much you know or how successful you are, but for how much you have loved them.” I took that to heart, realizing that my desire to do everything with excellence would be missing the mark entirely if I did not make a difference in the lives of people.
We all have diverse talents and abilities, opportunities in life and a certain number of days to live. It makes sense to want to do the most with what we are given. If we try to go after a dream only for what we can get out of life for ourselves, then when life takes a turn, what we are building comes crashing down. If we are pursuing our dreams and goals with the purpose of loving and giving value to the lives of others, then no matter what happens in life, we can pursue our purpose. This is what I mean by having our ladder of success leaning against the right building. If we really believe there is a divine purpose in our mundane existence, then there is Someone who sees our hearts and what we do in secret – Someone who sees our motives and choices and is using a different value system for success than the one shouted all around us in society.
I admit, I watch very little television which is why I have time to read so many books, but I do watch “American Idol”, even though I preferred last season. And between the show, advertisements and billboards I realize how much of life is spent trying to follow what is valued in society and be successful at it. When it comes to something like singing, I believe you either have it or you don’t. Yes, talent can be sharpened and it can help to be at the right place at the right time for a big break, but you are born with certain talents and abilities. What if you are a person who feels like you aren’t good at anything? Who are you listening to for your sense of value and success? As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” God has a different value system from man. He looks at the heart. What lives on and carries weight is what we do that influences the lives of other people for good. Do we love people? Do our actions show it?
I like to read “The New York Times” online, but occasionally I read another news source which has become increasingly sensational with its headlines. There are so many evil, heartless acts committed against people on a daily basis. We have not been born into a neutral world. We need to affect lives for good, and ultimately, for God. If your goal is to be a successful lawyer, businessperson, politician, teacher, athlete, artist or whatever, make it your purpose to serve and help others through loving them. Live for an audience of One.
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