i have two basic thoughts about success tonight.

first,  i think most people have an unhealthy love affair with it.

second,  i think most people have an unhealthy definition of it.

…and the two are tied together.

although we don’t like to admit it,  for most people, success is tied to winning and losing and awards and pay raises and perks and getting the prize and reaching the goal.

“winning isn’t everything…it’s the only thing”…or the ever-popular “second place is just the first loser”. it’s essentially all about the performance and how it’s evaluated.

but that’s not the whole story.   here are some other definitions of success to chew on:

success is all about doing the best you can…with what you have…where you are right now. there are times when we find ourselves in crummy situations with limited resources and all we can offer is the best we have at that moment.  the results may be horrible and the recognition may be non-existent…but it’s still success.

success is all about trying…until you die. in my book,  not giving up is success.   we are so infatuated with the prize, that we fail to realize that simply hanging in there long enough is godly…and good and holy.   you can probably poke holes in my earthy theology,  but to me,  perseverance trumps performance every time.

success is all about who you are trying to impress. ultimately,  god is the judge and jury of all performance.   don’t forget it.   but on a practical level,  why are we so concerned about what people think?   i think that maybe the only people who get a vote when it comes to evaluating my performance…and pronounce me a success or a failure…are the people who are going to be standing next to my remains at my final hurrah.

all other opinions are just that.   opinions.

so get out there and try.   stay in the game.   don’t worry about what others think.   don’t let someone you don’t know squeeze you into being or doing something that god has not wired you to do.


4 thoughts on “Success

  1. “If you’re not first, you’re last” Ricky Bobby.

    You bring this up at a great time.
    I am customizing our closet. My friends are making fun of my project and asking the question why. Well the answer is I sit in front of a computer all day and anything that I can create with my hands and saws and wood satisfies an urge inside me. If I screw something up, the worst thing I am going to have to do is rebuild it. Sure I could admit defeat and hire someone. I could also hire someone to mow the lawn, Hire a nanny etc, paint the house, etc.
    One day, and my wife hopes will be soon, I will be successful on the closet. I guess I am sick and find satisfaction and success in the most mundane tasks. And no one will ever know the success.
    Someone brought in a ringer for our bowling league. My goal is to not let them beat me on average. They can have high score but I will win the race. Next season, the goal may be something different. No money is won; no score is really officially kept. I don’t get my name enshrined. I will just remember I had a good average.

    I just know my relation with success. Someone will always be better than me. There are better Bass players, Bowlers, Graphic Designers, landscapers and soccer coaches than me. I will go to the grave doing my best and if success follows, so be it.

  2. I have been thinking about this competition thing for a while and am admittedly least qualified to comment, but oh well. With four kids, I went to a lot of ball (and even puck)games of various sorts. Cammy’s soccer experience stands out, however. She was at least 12 when she switched from softball to soccer. She had played softball for years because Bethany played softball, and that was the thing to do. She never liked it all that well, but never really knew she didn’t like it, either. It was just that the thing to do. When she switched to soccer, no one in our clan had yet tried soccer. She was coming in at ground zero on as competitive a rec. as there could be (they had a select team in the wings). Plus, as soon as she hit that grass field, her asthma became a real problem. At first, she would simply play until she got so dizzy and out of breath that she had to sit down – sometimes right on the field.

  3. Hmmm…that was not supposed to happen!!
    Anyway, despite the obstacles, she loved soccer. She loved the challenge of learning something completely new and started trying many other unexpected skills. She ended up with a handful of talents and interests we never would have suspected or known to look for. We did eventually figure out the asthma, and of course, she eventually figured out the rules, etc. and held a solid position. The team success mattered, but as corny as it sounds (!), we always knew the success in soccer was in the trying and improving.

  4. Roasting and Toasting a teacher friend who is retiring after teaching middle school for 36 years. Along with a long list of accomplishments I will read his favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt….kind of fits our discussion here.

    The Man In The Arena”
    Speech at Sorbonne by President Theodore Roosevelt
    Paris, France
    April 23, 1910

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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