Does success equal money, fame, and power? Many of us feel that the most successful people are those who are wealthy and are continuing to increase their wealth. Certainly, each of us needs to have enough money to support our families, but is that all there is to life?
Understanding what success means to you is the foundation for building a plan for your life’s work. You cannot make progress toward your goals without being confident that achieving them will lead to your vision of success.
We are free to make choices in life. What path will you choose? Fame and fortune or meaning and purpose? The world around us may view success in terms of wealth and power, but is that how we see success for ourselves? Only when all parts of our lives are in harmony will we be truly successful. And, I would suggest to you, that making a difference in the world is central to the fulfilled life.
Most of us want to get everything we can out of life. We know that some get more and some get less. Exactly what the more or less is may not be so clear to us. I suspect most would think first of fame and fortune. It is a common belief that the most successful people are those who make a great deal of money or are highly regarded by others.
Ask yourself. What is your idea of success? Is it to make as much money as possible? Is it to be famous? Is it “to get as much as you can out of life”?
Possibly, you define success as getting away from it all: pushing away the material world, pushing away all of the problems, becoming one with the spirit of all humanity. Your focus is inward. Success means that neither the riches nor the troubles of the public world can invade your private world of perfect inner peace.
This is a philosophy of life bound for failure. We live in the real world. We cannot isolate ourselves from it. We are in the midst of it, with its cares and troubles, it joys and rewards. We may want to retreat into an inner sanctum, but retreating from the world is only possible for those who have enough money to live in ease, or are willing to beg the necessities of life from others.
I don’t want to get away from the world. I want to engage it even more actively than I have in the past. I want to keep my adolescent idealism. I want to do what I can for the world. I want to make the world a better place. I want to be more involved, not less involved.
But to be more involved means that I must set aside my desire for fame and fortune. So much as I focus on getting what I can for myself out of the world, my impact on it will be lessened. What I really need is a way to deal with all of these problems: money, poverty, anxiety, material accidents. I need a way to deal with them so that I can accomplish something in spite of all the pressures and in spite of all of the challenges that come my way.
Resolution, meaning firm determination, along with self-reliance, personal freedom, and high moral standards are the American values that have made this country great. These are the personal values that will make your life a success. They are the values that will give you the will you need to make a difference in the world.
Conquering the American continent required a passion and determination that are rarely seen any longer. The early settlers came to America and opened up its frontiers with a Bible in one hand and an ax in the other. They came as prepared as they possibly could be, but drove into a wilderness that was unknown to them.
This American drive to “subdue the earth” and conquer the wilderness has now come in conflict with the needs of global sustainable development. However, it is not in conflict with our personal needs. Self-reliance, freedom, and resolution still empower us to do what seems to be impossible. Americans are the most optimistic of people. Keep that optimism before you and your life will become a success.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. —Albert Einstein
What is a person of value? A person of value has a positive impact on the world. A person of value opens up new ways to think about the world around us and teaches us how to ensure justice, freedom, and peace. He is a person who makes the world a better place. That is true success.