What is success really all about? Are you successful? Am I successful? Well, I am that I am. The only answer comes from God and the Spirit within us. Success is really about being All we are created to be.
Many of us have been brainwashed into believing at an early age that success’ come in some very limited forms. Doctor, Lawyer or Stock Broker is the career paths most of our parents would have chosen for us if they could have. Who knows if we would have done any better? Many of us have dreamed of being a sports hero, singing star or a famous author. The real question is not if these choices would have been right or wrong for us, but why we would chose?
Did we arrive at the decision to become a doctor because of our overwhelming need to solve the negative elements of the human condition? Perhaps we looked at being a lawyer as a way to solve intolerable social injustice? Maybe we felt that if we could only assist people early enough in their lives to develop a proper portfolio than they would not have to rely on their social security and thus thought to become a Stock Broker? These are all very honorable reasons grounded in a passion for doing what is right.
What of the child who aspires to become famous for the sake of fame? Could he/she find a way to use this to the advantage of others? I’m certain they could. It happens all the time. Famous athletes, musicians, actors and authors donate huge sums of money and at the very least vast amounts of their time towards many worthy causes. Yet, this is rarely the reason one aspires to delve into these career paths whole heartedly.
The truth of the matter is that much of our choices in following a career path have been initiated by an unquenchable need to be seen as more than we think we are, to yearn for what we think we don’t and to have the things we only think we want. We bought into the advertising and are being seduced by the most deceptive marketing plan of all time. In this we have inadvertently turned from God and towards the idols gods of the day. We have given up success for what we have been shown success to be.
Do I have your attention?
So many of us today continue to follow the mirage and ignore the oasis. We sit by so eloquently sipping the sand instead of dropping our cup deep into the well. We chose what we have been taught is the finest of sparkling water over the essence of all the there is. If only we would put down the illusion and realize that only the living water can quench an infinite thirst.
Money, power and fame have sucked us into an unreality. We have been given a key that unlocks no lock. Years, decades and centuries of influence from worldly sources have taught us to poke our paddle deep into the river and make our way to the top as fast as we can. Guess what, many have struggled their entire lives to get to that place, some have even found their way by doing everything they thought they should do to get there. They struggled, toiled and sold their souls for an empty box adorned with a beautiful ribbon.
There is no guarantee that every box adorned with a pretty ribbon will contain the same gift. (Ron Ash)
You see, not everyone is meant to have the same thing. We must look inside ourselves in order to find our own special gift. The secret is in the inner mans ability to recognize ones passion. This is the system created within us that allows us to be who we are created to be. With this comes joy and timeless endeavors. If that sounds like happiness to you than you now truly understand the nature of success.
Success cannot be gauged by money, property, cars or clothes. It is a measure of the I Am, that I Am. Within us all is the special talent that will enable us to initiate the first steps in His plan for us. It is here that we begin our journey towards Our ultimate destiny.
These other distractions are placed in front of us to slow us down. Absent of sustenance they will never truly be able to hold our attention for more than a few short months. This is the absolute irony which I relate to the sipping of the sand. The more we drink the thirstier we get.
How many times in our lives have we yearned for a material possession? We thought if only I could have this I know I will be happy. Perhaps we sacrifice by saving. Maybe we compromise our ethics in some way. Finally, after all is said and done we hold the idol ever so dearly. “Wait until they see me in this!” Ah ha! What we were looking for was part envy and part pride. In not truly understanding our relationship with God we chose these idols as our foster parents. We let things tell us and others that we are as good as they are.
The entire scenario kinds of reminds me of fishing with a lure. When I was a kid on the pond I seldom had live bait available to me. Periodically my mom would buy me a few new lures as my older ones were wearing out. The thing about a good lure is that you can catch many fish with it cast after cast. The fish just don’t know the difference between the lure and the real thing. They put all their energy into chasing that lure and get nothing in return. One of two things will happen when the fish gets tricked; they get thrown back hungry or get taken back and eaten.
In all fairness I have to say that it is ok to own nice things as long as you don’t allow them to own you. Understand that the happiness derived from them is temporal. I guarantee you that that dream car you’re driving today will feel just like the car you traded in within a few short months. Watch out! You don’t want to get reeled in by another lure.
Last night I mentioned to my wife an incident that took place several years ago. I was in my final years of high school and was working on figuring out what I wanted to study in college. I have always had a talent for being very insightful and as long as I can remember people were always talking to me about the issues which troubled them. Somehow, absent of advice, they always felt better after talking to me. The funny thing is this made me feel elated. I would get people stopping at my table in the cafeteria during lunch, coming by my house after school and more than a few late night calls that always started with, “Ron, can we talk?” I remember those nights well; barely awake with the phone hand set as my pillow. I never minded though. Something about it all just filled me up.
One day my dad came to me and asked, “Have you decided what you’re going to be when you grow up?” Although I did not appreciate his choice of words; what teenager would? I told him that I wanted to be a psychologist. “Oh know that’s all we need!” Perhaps he figured he may be subject to constant analysis, so he adamantly rejected my decision. He continued, “Why don’t you go into advertising. I have a friend in Boston who will give you a job right when you get out starting at six figures.”
Be careful parents. You have an incredible power of influence over your children. Use it the right way. Even when my father gives me advice today I take it into serious consideration. In this case I went for it hook, line and sinker. His dream became mine, but it never materialized. It was not part of God’s plan.
Parental influence is an incredible tool for manipulating the current of the ocean in which our children swim. I am reminded of an automobile accident when I was in as a teen. The memory of a 1974 Chevrolet Impala crossing the yellow line and hitting my tiny sports car head on will be etched in my mind forever. Who knew that people drive drunk on Sunday mornings? The most prominent thing was that big chrome grille forcing me closer and closer to the side walk. It was crash, poof, crash and my car catapulted backwards into a telephone poll. Flames were shooting out of the engine and my door was jammed shut. Suddenly I gained strength that I never knew I had and forced it open, got out and went to the nearest house for help. My first thought was to get some water to put the fire out, but the closest thing I had was a tea kettle given to me by the Old Portuguese women who answered the door.
Talk about being angry with that driver. I just had some major repair work done on my car only the day before. Now it was totaled. Even worse was that the drunk driver had no insurance and it was not even his car. As my mom attempted to explain this all to me I grew even angrier.
“Mom, he better pay for my car!” I exclaimed repeatedly. It just wasn’t right. She then explained to me that she talked to the attorney and was told that the only thing we could do was attach the drivers pay. “Good” I said. “He deserves it!” That is when my mom responded with a few words that looking back today contributed more to my character than every text book I read in college. “You wouldn’t want someone to do that to you Ronnie.”
Well, let me get back to my point. We all know what we love to do. It is our passion and our gift from God. This is success and we must never let anyone tell us different. This is the true reality of our being. All other things are just going to leave us hungry, thirsty and wanting more. Remember one very important thing. It is never too late to dip our cup into the well.