Another Definition of Success

In “The Strangest Secret”, Earl Nightingale gives his definition of success:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

You don’t need piles of money.

Lots of achievements.

A degree. Or a house. Or a car.

You just need to set a worthy goal, and steadily work toward making it a reality.

Do that, and you’re a success.

Toxic Positivity?

Believe it or not, positivity can have a dark side.

There are people who refuse to acknowledge anything as negative. Some even say everything is perfect as it is. That it can’t be any other way.

I think for the most part people should be positive.

Focus on the good.

Be optimistic about the future.

Not everything in life is positive, though. Maybe you’ve noticed that. 😉

Problems still exist, whether you are willing to acknowledge them or not.

But it’s better to approach problems with a solution-oriented mindset.

Some people experience setbacks in life and throw up their hands. “Nothing ever works out for me!”

Setbacks are lessons. You have to be willing to learn from them. To use them for your growth.

If you start a business and it fails, don’t give up. Figure out why it failed. Then try again. Learn and start again. Repeat until you succeed.

Don’t ignore the problems in your life. They rarely go away on their own. They usually just get worse.

So yes, be positive. But be wise in your positivity.

Imposter

Is it just imposter syndrome?

Am I really an imposter?

I’ve been writing about success. From my mom’s basement.

How inspiring.

I’ve been writing about some pretty highfalutin concepts. Concepts I have little-to-no personal experience with.

I think I need to start from the ground floor.

Success leaves clues

Very few people have become successful on their own.

Almost none, in fact.

They had help.

Someone else has already done what you want to do. Or something similar.

Study the lives of these people. Learn from their failures, and their successes.

Lots of successful people write books. About their lives. About what they’ve learned. These books are a road map to success.

Read these books. Lots of them. Soon you’ll know what to do.

Or at least how to get started.

What is success?

Success implies greatness. Or at least above-averageness.

That doesn’t have to mean financial success.

It could mean you’ve raised great kids.

Or you have a great marriage.

Or that you’ve inspired others to be great.

Maybe you’ve quietly made a lot of little contributions to other people’s lives.

Ultimately, I think success means living your dream life, and helping others live theirs.

Success is weird

Confused by successSuccess is definitely not “average.”

How many people do you know who you’d define as “successful”?

To be successful you have to push yourself. Most people don’t want to bother. Who can blame them? After spending 40 hours or more at a job they hate, they’re exhausted. All they want to do is relax.

Most people don’t know what to do, either. It’s one thing putting in even more work than necessary. Not knowing whether it’s even going to pay off is more than most people can take.

There are ways to know what to do, though. Success leave clues.

Question Everything

Question marks galore!

“Why, ” you ask?

Oh, you’re off to a good start!

Time after time in General Conference speakers have said, in essence, “Don’t take my word for it. Pray to know the truth for yourself.”

Don’t believe me? Good. Look it up.

General Conference talks aren’t the only thing you should question, though.

Question the things you were taught in school. Question the things you hear on TV. Question the things you read on the internet. Especially from bloggers.

Many of the things we’ve been taught our whole life are lies. Most people just assume what they’ve been told is true. They base their whole lives on false assumptions and lies, then wonder why they have so many problems.

If you don’t know there’s a God, start there. If you don’t know the Book of Mormon is true, ask (read it first, though). I didn’t do that until I was 26, despite being raised in the church. I know it’s true, but find out for yourself.

It’s a lot easier to be lazy and believe everything you’re told, I know. But you’ll have more success in life if the information you’re using is actually reliable.

Or will you?

The Pursuit of Money

Chasing a winged dollar

In high school I had to take a “Careers” class. I only remember two things from that class:

  • We watched a video on sexual harassment one day. The video warned about giving “meaningful looks.” What the heck are “meaningful looks?” I was a teenage boy. And now I was terrified of being sued for looking at the girls around me.
  • Another day we took an aptitude test. My results said I should be an artist. No way. I couldn’t make money as an artist. I enjoyed writing and drawing, but I didn’t think I could support a family doing those things.

I went to college to be an engineer. That didn’t last long. Before long I was just taking the classes that sounded fun. I only went when I felt like it. My grades suffered.

I got a letter from the college. They told me to take a term off to think about my life. Then I could ask to come back.

I wasn’t going to beg to come back. Forget that!

I got a call center job. I hated it, but the money was okay. I spent the next few years bouncing from one call center job to another.

Five years later I went back to school to learn Japanese. I decided to take some other fun classes while I was at it. After a year I started getting more serious. It didn’t take long to burn out after that.

Years later I was out of work. By then I’d gotten married. I had a son. I applied at the call centers I’d worked at before. They never got back to me. I didn’t have any other experience.

My wife said I should go back to school. I’d been wanting to for a while. I majored in Computer Science. I was excited at first, but my heart wasn’t in it for long.

My grades went downhill. My adviser told me I’d have to change majors.

I left school instead. I applied to an online university. They wanted me to get a computer certification before enrolling.

I started studying for the certification tests. I couldn’t focus. I was so bored.

I went to college for six-and-a-half years. I have zero degrees. There were some fun and interesting parts, but mostly it was a waste of my time. And not just because I didn’t get that parchment.

I worked in call centers for a few more years. My last job laid me off. A few months later I was separated and living in my mom’s basement.

I’ve spent twenty years pursuing things I thought would make me money, and making myself miserable. I’d say it was a waste, but at least I’ve learned something from it:

DON’T WORK JUST FOR MONEY.

The Ultimate Man

Heavenly Father with outstretched arms

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?

Matthew 7:11

Imagine the best father ever.

Then multiply that by a billion. By Infinity.

That’s Heavenly Father.

The perfect father. The perfect man.

He knows us perfectly. Better than we know ourselves. Better than we think we know ourselves.

He loves all of us, unconditionally. No matter what we do.

He loves us all equally. Whether we’re kings or paupers.

He gives us all we need to succeed. We just have to ask.

He gave us a Savior. He was willing to watch His only begotten son suffer. Imagine only having one son who carries your genes. Then imagine watching Him suffer for the sins of everyone who ever lived. Everyone, including the people who mock Him and you. Including the people who deny either of you existed. The people who say they don’t need you. Not only does He suffer for everyone’s sins, but he feels all their sickness. Their afflictions. Sadness. Depression. Anxieties. Every negative thing ever to happen to anyone, anywhere. And all you can do is watch. Whenever one of my boys gets hurt, my first impulse is to run to them. I can’t imagine what it was like. I’m sure it was all He could do in that moment to hold Himself back.

He is infinitely patient. I’m especially grateful for that. I don’t think there’d be hope for me if He wasn’t.

He gives us agency. He lets us choose. Will we make use of the Atonement? Give up? Keep trying?

If we do keep trying, he makes sure all things work for our good.

If we keep trying he gives us strength to make it easier.

He listens to our prayers, and answers them. We just need to listen. He guides us and helps us to know what to do.

He knows all. The past. The future. The hidden. Our very thoughts.

He is understanding. Heavenly Father was once a mortal, too.

He is trustworthy. If He says something, it is so. He can’t lie or break His covenants.

He wants us to be like Him. To have everything He has. That is His purpose in life.

It’s His work. His glory.

He wants it even more than we do.