What Success is: The Starting Point 

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Now that we know what success is not, how do we define what it is?  Maybe what you always thought was true has now been turned upside down.  That’s okay.  That’s more than okay; you are now at the starting point of an incredible journey.  One that may even take you places that you never dreamed you would go.  You may even see some old childhood dreams re-emerge.  One thing is for sure, if you stay on the path you have now begun, and work at it continually, you will have real success.  Most of all have fun!  Dale Carnegie once said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” 

Dictionary.com defines success as: the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like. 

I would like to define success differently.  To me, success is constant improvement and movement toward a worthwhile purpose, while constantly raising the bar as you reach small achievements.  At the same time, you will be enriching your and everybody else’s life that you come in contact with.  This definition sounds quite confusing, doesn’t it?  I can simplify it by saying: Success is taking the next right action.  Let’s take the latter definition rather than the former.  They encompass the same thing, but remember I am seeking simplicity and so should you. 

You must decide now how you will know when you have achieved success?  Because of our worldly programming, most people feel successful by having one or more of the following things occur in their lives: 

  • Someone tells them they are successful. 
  • They have an internal feeling of success. 
  • They measure their achievements. 

The first two of these are probably based on our past experience and most likely do not really reveal any success or

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failure on our part.  Rather, they are more of a reflection of us doing what we have been taught by society.  The third one can work one of two ways.  If you have broken your achievements down sufficiently, then yes, you can use your measurements of achievement to see some success in your life but it does not measure all success. 

The best way to measure success is to take an honest look at the “fruit” you are producing in your life.  Some success if only measured by achievement, can be really discouraging.  You may be in a position where you are really working hard to achieve a result in your life.  You feel you are getting nowhere.  The truth is that you are on the verge of a real breakthrough.  Or you may have just been working on a project that may take years to complete.  In these situations, it wouldn’t be fair to yourself if you were measuring by results.  Sometimes the results may be a long way off. 

Many years ago, I came across a short prayer that I believe encompasses all success.  It is called the prayer of St. Francis and here it is:  

“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace; that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light; that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen.” 

I remember when I rediscovered these words several years ago.  I was introduced to this prayer as a child, but my mind and spirit were not ready to take hold of the truths that it reveals.  Later, as I was doing research for this book, they popped off the computer screen as I was researching success.  These words encompass what it means to take the next right action.  They will lead to real success in all areas of your life. 

Let’s now examine briefly, the areas in which you should be seeking real success for your life.  This list is meant as a guide only; you may add other areas to it, but most of the growth you are seeking in your life will fall under one of these categories.  They are in no particular order and will be discussed throughout this program, so I will only list

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them here. 

  1. Vision Success – Are you doing what you were created to do? 
  1. Financial/Material Success – Figure out how much money you need and then figure out how to get that money. 
  1. Family Success – Your family should be a refuge from the world; a place where you build others up and support those you love most.  Is it like that for you? 
  1. Relationship Success – Do you experience fulfilling relationships or are you stressed out with those you spend time with? 
  1. Recreational Success – Life should be fulfilling and fun.  Is yours? 
  1. Physical/Health Success – How well you are able to practice this program all depends on how you feel. 
  1. Spiritual Success – The most important aspect for your existence is your relationship with God; it can always be improved. 

As you gain real success in these areas, your life will become – satisfying, fulfilling and fun.  All of these areas work together to create who you are as a whole person and you need to be focusing on all of them in order to make significant progress in any of them.  For example, you cannot focus only on recreational success without doing any work on your financial matters.  This will lead you to poverty.  Also, you can’t focus only on financial and material gain without working towards improving your relationships.  This will lead to lack of fulfillment and loneliness.  There are numerous examples and I have known many people who have tried to excel in one or two of these areas without working on them all.  Trust me; the result has always been the same.  Failure in all areas, even the one or one’s they were concentrating on.  Take control of your success now by improving your whole life. 

God Bless

Michael at R2W

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