January 23


Today's quotation:

A successful life for a man or for a woman seems to me to lie in the knowledge that one has developed to the limit the capacities with which one was endowed; that one has contributed something constructive to family and friends and to a home community; that one has brought happiness wherever it was possible; that one has earned one's way in the world, has kept some friends, and need not be ashamed to face oneself honestly.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Today's Meditation:

I want to be a success, have no doubt about it.  On the day that I die, I want to look back on my life and know that I was successful, that I accomplished many things that were useful and helpful to other people in the world.  What I find fascinating is that my definition of "success" continues to change as I grow older.  I'm no longer as interested in being successful in the eyes of other people (though I certainly haven't completely outgrown that ideal), and I no longer see success as the outcome of different sorts and levels of competition.

We live in a world in which we're constantly exposed to "success" as financial gain, the acquisition of power, or the defeat of others in direct competition.  Our "successful" role models are athletes, movie stars, musicians, politicians, and business people who have made millions of dollars or who have constant media exposure.  We hardly ever see success as the housewife and mother who has brought up her children to be loving, caring, well adjusted human beings (unless she gets her memoirs published and sells a million copies and goes on book-signing tours, of course!).  We hardly ever see the successful business person as the one who kept a business going through thick and thin, providing jobs and insurance for many people even if he or she never did become wealthy or powerful.  The artist who never found commercial success but who stuck to his or her artwork, the writer who never was published but who continued to write, the poet who never found recognition but who continued to write verse--these are all successful people who just haven't found the public recognition of their success.

I thank Eleanor for her definition of success.  It's a definition that I can live by, and it's one that frees me from the need to be recognized publicly for my contributions to the world.  But it frees me only if I choose to believe in what she says, and that I do. 

Questions to consider:

In what ways are you a success (and the answer "none" is not acceptable--we're all successes in many ways!)?

How would you benefit if you were to redefine your concept of success?

How would others benefit if you were to redefine your concept of success?  Family?  Co-workers?  People whom you influence?

For further thought:

There are no secrets of success.  Success is doing the things you know you should do.  Success is not doing the things you know you shouldn’t do.  Success is not limited to any one area of your life.  It encompasses all the facets of your relationships:  as parent, as wife or husband, as citizen, neighbor, worker and all of the others.  Success is not confined to any one part of your personality but is related to the development of all the parts:  body, mind, heart and spirit.  It is making the most of your total self.

Wilferd A. Peterson

more thoughts and ideas on success



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