Saturday, March 24, 2007

Defining Terms: Success

Starting an ongoing series of posts on the various terms and phrases I use throughout Thought Renewal. Definitions are sometimes a bit elusive; and one challenge in communication is talking past each other due to the misinterpretation of what the other actually means.

The first word I want to tackle is Success. One reason is that this is unabashedly a success blog. The purpose of Thought Renewal is to help people help themselves to a life of abundance that God intends for us. This is also a Christian blog in that my starting point, motivation, and end goal is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. (We'll be "defining" God in a later post :-)

So what I mean when I write about this topic incorporates at least those two components. Success has to do with living a life of abundance that comes from the hand of God. When we are enjoying the life that Jesus offers (see John 10.10) we are successful.

Yes, there is a pragmatic aspect to success. When we accomplish a certain goal, win a competitive test, reach a particular benchmark, then we have successfully completed the task in front of us. My definitions is broader than that and addresses more the attitude or position of the heart.

It borders on Earl Nightingale's famous motto: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal." That's a process definition which I like. John Maxwell is right when he says that success is not a destination, but rather a journey (see my quick review of his Road Map to Success). Maxwell has this to offer:
Success is . . .
knowing your purpose in life,
growing to reach your maximum potential,
and sowing seeds that benefit others.
That's good. It speaks to the overflowing life that marks a true follower of Jesus. You see, striving for success is not a selfish endeavor; it is pursuing the life of impact and joy that God intends for each of us.

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