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I want 2010 to be a successful year. But, more than that, at the end of my life’s journey, I want to hear “Well done.” How do I get there? How will I know if I’m successful?

Will I be successful if I check everything off my to-do list? Keep all of my New Year’s resolutions faithfully? Accomplish my goals?

But what if I manage to check everything off my list except for one thing? Does that mean that I have failed? Or have I only failed if I don’t accomplish at least 60% of the expectations. (That’s how they grade in school.) And if 60% is not failing … would that also be considered success?

Maybe I should start by defining success.

According to the dictionary, success is the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. Or the gaining of fame or prosperity.

Hmmm. Not so sure that last definition is the kind of success I’m seeking (although I wouldn’t turn down the wiggle room in my back account).

If I look at synonyms for success, I find attainment, accomplishment, and achievement followed by best seller (wouldn’t mind that one), box-office hit, triumph, victory, grand slam, coup, stroke of genius, good life, life of luxury, easy street, wealth, riches, fortune, fame, renown.

Something about that list makes me wonder if this is the kind of success I’m really seeking. Sure, I want to achieve what I’m setting out to accomplish but there has to be more to it than fame and fortune. How would I even know if I’d gotten enough to be considered successful?

(Don’t worry. I found a different definition for success that I like a whole lot better. But I’ll save that for Wednesday.)

What about you? How do you define success? How will you know when you have achieved it?
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7 thoughts on “The Measure of Success

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:53 am
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    >I agree that the ultimate success is hearing the Master say, servant well done. He goes on to say, you have been faithful over a few things…

    I just want to be faithful to all the things God has called me to- my family, my Church, my ministry, my writing.

  • January 4, 2010 at 9:53 am
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    >Success for me is being all GOD created me to be. I will likely never totally achieve this goal, but as long as I am moving toward the mark, I am pleased.

    Blessings, andrea

  • January 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm
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    >I long for that same thing. To hear God say well done, good and faithful servant. I can't imagine how that would feel.

    Very thought provoking post today, Candee.

  • January 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm
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    >Hi Candee –

    I agree with the other commenters. Success is all about pleasing the Lord.

    Thanks for a thoughtful post. I'm looking forward to see what you have for us on Wednesday. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Susan

  • January 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm
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    >Totally agree with the comments.

    (Although in a worldly way, I feel pretty successful for just completing a manuscript 🙂

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:50 am
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    >How the world defines success is so often different than how we do,isn't it? It's easy to start falling into the trap of measuring our success by the world's standards instead of by God's!

  • January 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm
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    >Jennifer, I had to smile at your comment. I'd feel pretty successful for finishing a manuscript, too! Great job!

    I think there's a connection between the "well done" success at the end of my lifetime and the "I made progress toward my goals" success of day-to-day life here on planet Earth. Even in the "well done" story that Jesus told, there was a measure of success. One man turned five talents into ten; another turned two into four.

    The world would have said one was more successful than the other. Yet in God's story, each were considered equally successful because they did something positive with what they had been given.

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