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What Does It Really Mean To Be “Successful”?

“Success is when you’re seduced into thinking that your joy and satisfaction are not here but there – somewhere in the future, at some moment when you accomplish X or you win Y.” – Rob Bell

Questions plague my mind more often than I desire…Questions about the future…Questions about who I was and who I am and who I’m becoming…

Everyone has a fear that weighs them down more than any other. Mine just happens to be the fear that I’ll never reach my full potential and end up wasting my life.

It’s easy to write about embracing my unique voice in a world of conformity, but it’s much harder to grasp that my story of “success” will look different than that of others. We love the idea of being unique, but we hate the idea of being less “successful” than others.

One of the most bizarre stories in sports is the journey of baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey. A few years ago, I read his book titled “Wherever I Wind Up”. If you’re even remotely interested in baseball, I highly recommend that you read it. In a brief summary, his story is one of high expectations as a teenage star prospect, the discovery of a physical condition that limited his pitching velocity, over a decade as a struggling wanderer in minor league baseball, and the eventual arrival to a regular role in the Major Leagues as a 37 year old. He didn’t have the illustrious career of Mariano Rivera, but success in his journey was was something completely different.

What if it’s not only OK to be different as a person, but to also to experience success differently?

Sometimes, I have felt incredibly “successful” when someone writes me to say that my writing gave them hope. Then there are other times when I envy actors who “made it” in Hollywood, while I flopped miserably…

The human heart can feel successful in one moment, all while feeling like a failure in another. The truth is, success is not defined by society, culture, or comparison. Success is knowing that we’re making choices to become better versions of ourselves.

“Yes, I sometimes fail, but at least I’m willing to experiment.” – Bono

Without failure, how would we even know what it is to succeed? Just as light and dark reveal one another, so it is with success and failure.

Have you failed? Keep moving forward, dreaming anew.

Have you become discouraged? Don’t allow it to steal your imagination. You were created for more than settling for “fine”.

2 Comments

  1. LOVE this! Keep writing!

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