A couple of notes:
- In terms of success, this was not a very successful piece since I missed the deadline for submitting it for publication.
- I began thinking about this notion of success way back around 1984. A colleague of mine would spend our lunch hour discussing a variety of topics, one of which was the notion of success and its impact on grades in school. What was more important, getting the best grades possible and not knowing anything about the topic or trying to understand the material and working towards the best grade.
I started this thinking about success and how it should be defined. The problem is that success is often expressed in terms of how someone does in comparison to what others have done and it becomes a competition issue. If you are not the best when judged against others, then society often deems you a failure.
And that is the problem; success needs to be defined internally, by what one seeks and not what others may think, John Wooden, perhaps best known for the success of his UCLA basketball teams defined success as the
. . . peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
But for this to be a true statement, for success to be defined in terms of what one wants, you must know what your goals might be. And this is often a difficult task in itself.
How does one determine their goals? Will the goals set for today be the same goals tomorrow? One cannot determine their goals in a vacuum; one cannot determine their goals by themselves. There must be others involved.
When Saul became Paul on the road to Damascus, he had to have help getting to Damascus. And while he was in Damascus, Ananias was directed to come to his aid. For Ananias, this was a statement of faith, for Ananias truly felt that Saul had come to persecute him and his fellow Christians. But by the actions of Ananias, Saul became Paul and his mission as an apostle began.
We are also reminded that disciples and the members of the early church would never have reached their goals of preaching the Gospel if they had not been with Jesus and stayed together until Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
And don’t forget that Jesus, though he knew what his mission was to be, even at the age of 12, could not have achieved those goals without the support of his parents.
Success thus comes from knowing what one’s goals are; knowing what one’s goals are comes from having a group with which you can share your hopes and thoughts. This group will include your parents, your teachers, and your friends; as one goes through life, this group will change but there will always be some people there. And one must realize that they will always be the part of someone’s else group, helping others find their goals and ways to be successful.
In the end, success is met when one reaches a goal, but it could not have been achieved without others to help set the goal and find ways to reach it.
And when one helps others achieve their goals, they are also finding success.