October 5     

Today's quotation:

We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and our relationship to humanity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today's Meditation:

I've been lucky never to have fallen into this trap.  I've done a lot of jobs that have paid rather poorly, but I've always been able to focus on what I'm contributing and how I'm helping others rather than on the amount of money that I've been paid for doing so.  Of course, when one's a teacher, one is rarely paid well and one is serving rather constantly, so we almost never see success as a large paycheck, but in what our students learn and how they grow as people.

But what Martin says seems to be quite accurate in our world of today, especially in Western cultures.  Sometimes it seems as if we're in a huge game on one-upmanship, always trying to get that bigger paycheck by getting that promotion, always buying the more expensive car because we want to be seen as successful by our peers and colleagues.  It's a very materialistic and superficial way of judging something like success, though, that takes into account nothing of one's emotional or spiritual or intellectual health.

When we define success for ourselves and we do all that we can to meet those expectations, then we can truly call ourselves successful.  And defining it for ourselves is very important because the world in which we live isn't going to offer us definitions that work on a personal level.  Perhaps the most important element of success for me is to make my spouse and children happy, and if I'm able to do that, I help to contribute more peace and harmony to my own little corner of the world, and that's a very inspiring vision of success.

If you have a run with 3,000 people in it, is only the person who comes in first place successful?  Absolutely not-- everyone who finishes is successful.  The winner's trophy is an example of a material reward, but everyone else who finishes has the intrinsic reward of having accomplished something very special.  Material wealth is simply an extrinsic sign of having earned a lot of money, not of being a successful human being who lives with love and compassion.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many of us equate wealth with success?

What does it mean to you to be successful?

What kinds of things can we do today to work towards tomorrow's success?

For further thought:

There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component.  But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.

Deepak Chopra

more thoughts and ideas on success



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