I often wonder if we have totally missed the point in our lives. As I look around me, it would seem that we have changed our focus from family to fame, from purpose to prestige, from meaning to madness. Most of us are chasing a strange animal in life: SUCCESS. But when I ask what is meant by success, no one has ever been able to give a tangible and coherent definition of success! So many folk set goals for their lives, and devise and implement fanciful vision for their future, with one goal in mind: SUCCESS! But, what is success?
In the midst of our headlong dive into the success chase, I often find a deep and desperate longing and hunger for something more. No longer do fat bank balances and fancy cars and exotic destinations fulfil our need for meaning. And perhaps there is the word that we need to stumble over and think about for a while – Fulfilment! Does our mad chase and rush after the elusive SUCCESS actually fulfil our need for meaning and significance in our lives. If we are all brutally honest with ourselves, I think that we have to answer a decisive … NO!!
Looking a little deeper we will find that our definition of success has to go beyond the temporal, beyond whatever our out-of-control capitalist, free market system parades, but never actually delivers. To find meaning and purpose in this wild world, we must consider other issues like Relationships, Giving, Legacy, Love and Compassion in our definition of success. Success has to move beyond merely the tangible and include mental, emotional and spiritual fulfilment and significance.
Our quest for significance in life has to look beyond simply our own contentment, and move toward investing ourselves in others. Only then can we begin to understand significance and meaning in our lives. I like to call this process in our lives The Quest to Live Beyond Success!
As we look outside of ourselves and invest in others, only then does our own life begin to make sense. I have always taught my students and clients that the best way to learn is to teach. The most effective way to truly understand any subject matter, whether it is learning a new language, math, quantum physics, or whatever it may be, is to take the subject matter, prepare a class presentation, and then teach the material to others. In the same way, my challenges and upsets and emotional and spiritual hiccups in life can only be truly understood not when I question what is happening to me, but when I can find someone else facing the same or similar challenges, and then to walk with them through their challenges. Only then do I begin to understand my own challenges and begin the process of healing!
We need to learn to live beyond ourselves, to invest ourselves in others, to live with meaning and purpose. We need to learn to live BEYOND SUCCESS!