True Success According to the Truly Successful

Success–almost everyone plunges headlong to anything that will give them this elusive goal–even our neighbor’s dog. And I’ve seen many folks invest everything in their lives only to get an empty success–accolades and awards but with broken marriages and families. Later they confess with laments how they wasted their entire lives in pursuit of “bogus” success.

So what’s true success? Let’s window shop a little and see what others are displaying on the windows of their minds about it.

Listen to Bill Gates. He thinks success is a “lousy teacher.” It makes you believe in a big lie–one of the biggest lies, in fact. “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” However, he believes that the way to become successful in the software industry is to “come up with a breakthrough software.” True success is when you come up with new, radical ideas.

One last success idea from Gates–he believes his success comes with partners: “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.” So, true success is never by an individual alone.

Now, let’s turn to Albert Einstein. He believed that real success is work, play, and meekness. “If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.” That’s contrary to most “successful” people we know who want to broadcast every bit of their petty successes. Moreover, success to him is living life for others. “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”

How about Mother Teresa? To her, true success is in being faithful in small things. “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” She even added: “I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness.” And then, she said something I often ponder about: “God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try.”

Gates, Einstein, and Mother Teresa–truly successful folks, yet they spoke of simple success principles we rarely see in the world of those too eager to take hold of success in our times. In the words of the great 3, I see simplicity, community, and meekness–the very things abhorred by people ravenous for recognition and accolades today.

Finally, let’s hear it from the truly and genuinely successful Folk for all times–Jesus Christ. To him, true success is making a big-time investment in heaven, never on earth. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys,” [Luke 12.33].

And once he added: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions,” [Luke 12.15].

But still, you see even some church folks weighing success in terms of money and possessions. It seems, no one wants true success.


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