Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
I’m sure most people don’t want to be a failure in life. We want to be successful and live a happy life. Have a look at any good bookstore, or go online. Books abound with titles like How to be a success in Business, The Principles of Success, or Why people fail.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be a success. Let me be clear about that: It’s good to set clear goals for life. It’s about waking up in the morning with a sense of victory, not failure. The road to success will probably be full of rejection, pain, hard work, disappointment, as well as many other discouraging things but when you reach its end you will feel really happy and victorious. Often I’ve heard people say, as you may have: People don’t plan to fail but fail because they don’t plan. And there’s a lot of sense in that.
And the amazing thing is that some ordinary people have been an outstanding success. Warren Buffett is successful for investing and building long-term businesses. Bill Gates is successful for creating a software empire that has changed the way we use computers. Gandhi was successful for leading India to independence from the British.
One dictionary defines success as the satisfactory accomplishment of a goal sought for. To be successful, you must achieve the goal and be satisfied with the outcome.
How do you feel about yourself? It’s called ‘self-image’ and is often misunderstood. It’s not about having a super-inflated ego. Dr Joyce Brothers was right when she said, “A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life.”
It’s a bit of a concern when we go through life thinking the worst of ourselves, saying I’m a nobody, I’m never going to be a success. It’s time to get rid of negative thinking like that.
Achieving Success Requires Setting Goals
The U.S. Space Program has produced many successes and, sadly, a few tragic failures. The successes of NASA help illustrate the importance of goal setting. Perhaps you’ve heard of the three electricians who were working on the Apollo spacecraft. A reporter asked each what he was doing.
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The first said, “I’m inserting transistors into circuits.”
The second answered, “I’m soldering these wires together.”
The third explained, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”
It all depends on your attitude.
In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy set a goal of putting an American on the moon by the end of the decade. In 1969, Neil Armstrong took his ‘one small step’. A specific goal helped NASA achieve a major milestone in history. Someone who desires success will set specific goals.
Dustin Hoffman is an extremely successful movie actor. His film career seems almost dazzling and includes an Oscar for his performance in Kramer vs. Kramer. Yet consider what he says about happiness and satisfaction: “I don’t know what happiness is—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I’d strike out happiness. Walk down the street and look at the faces. When you demand happiness, aren’t you asking for something unrealistic?”
God thinks you are very special, so special that he sent his only Son to die in your place.
You can reach all your goals and still not be at peace with yourself. How can you both achieve your goals and be satisfied? And even if you feel a degree of satisfaction, could there be something more?
Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee supreme success. Christians have their failures, too. But a relationship with God can enhance your self-concept, help clarify your goals, strengthen your determination and help you improve whatever you do. The personal satisfaction Christ provides can make a positive difference, too.
God thinks you are very special, so special that he sent his only Son to die in your place. When you come to know Christ personally and realise the magnitude of his love for you, you can find strength to accept yourself and greater freedom to take prudent risks. You can face rejection with the security that even if everyone else turns on you, God still loves you. Knowing he wants the best for you can increase your determination to work hard for worthwhile goals.