Redefining Success


“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

How do you define success? This thought struck me after having a conversation with a friend about possible career options. In today’s society, I find it troubling that many of us define success by our career achievements and other material possessions. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fantasize about owning a beautiful ranch in the mountains equipped with a luxurious barn and arena. (Sorry not really into those snazzy and expensive cars). However, is my life still successful even if I do not acquire these dream items? Well, the answer depends on how I choose to define success and my life as a whole. Success isn’t the “attainment of popularity or profit” like Google dictionary would have us believe. Rather, success, in my opinion, is doing your part, taking your God-given place in the universe, and giving with all of your heart.

What I mean by doing your part in this world is simply giving back to the world and trying to leave it a little better than it was before. While not all of us have the means to travel to places in dire need, there are other things we can do to help those less fortunate than us. We can volunteer in other settings in our local community; nothing we do is insignificant! Yet, I truly believe the most important ingredient in doing your part is shining with grace. Simply put, we must allow others to see our inner peace and holiness. Patience, kindness, love, warmth, etc. all make a tremendous impact in this life. Unsurprisingly, it these characteristics we typically only extend to loved ones and friends. It is so much harder to display these forms of grace with a stranger or with someone who irritates us and whose presence negatively alters our mood. It is no easy feat to shine with grace, but it is those rare individuals who do so that forever impact us and whom we find ourselves being drawn to. I struggle every day at work in the retail world with customers who are less than kind and while I restrain my tongue, I do not radiate warmth and kindness, as God would like me to. Jesus was the friend of sinners; people whose society misunderstood them. We should try to extend grace to all people even those we believe to be undeserving of it.

Furthermore, it is my firm belief that God has gifted us with certain talents that each of us excels in. Some people are blessed in the arts with natural creativity while others have a mind for science and numbers. Additionally, there are individuals who are skilled in multiple areas. It is these people who find themselves challenged when they are at a crossroads in career choices. Which passion or talent do they follow? I, too, found myself in this conundrum. It isn’t easy and I did originally choose the more stable and secure career choice (medicine). However, in my career love triangle, with God’s help, I realized I was more passionate and in love with writing and the creative arts. That’s where my God-given place is in this world. There is no doubt in my mind; it just took me longer to see it.

There are many uncertainties in this life and, while I find that frustrating at times, there is beauty in it. Beauty in not knowing where you will be in 10 years or what the face of your beloved will look like. However, the greatest beauty this life holds are those persons who give with all their hearts. Those people who expose themselves to heartache because they know how great the rewards can be if they take a risk. Our journey is “not a path of continual success but of multiple failures (Sarah Young).” Trust in the Lord and lean on him as you journey uphill. He will help relinquish your fears. The theme of many of my blogs this coming year will be about taking risks because so many of us shy away from the unknown. So many of us fear making the wrong choices; so many of us fear living outside of the box. All of those fears are meaningless and take away from the life God has gifted us. Remember, He is our strength and shield; we have only to put our trust in Him. After all, Jesus conquered the world.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

-Jeremiah 29:11


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