Summary: How do you define success? Different people define success in various ways. While one’s achievements along the five p’s may be celebrated in their lifetime, rarely do they lasts past them. What we need to evaluate is true success that
Success and Happiness
How do you define success? Different people define success in various ways. Success to some is the accumulation of goods. To another, success may be academic achievement and post graduate degrees. And yet to another, success may be financial security or a good job. Ron Jenson says the world usually defines success around the five p's: power, position, prestige, pleasure, and prosperity. Successful people are those who enjoy the good life of the five p’s. Advertisers tantalize us with the possibility of their attainment. The media glamorizes the results of having them. Such definitions have many fatal flaws when we consider the experience of the rich and famous. Listen to the comments of these famous millionaires:
John D. Rockefeller: "I have made many millions but they have brought me no happiness."
William Henry Vanderbilt: "The care of $200 million is enough to kill anyone. There's no pleasure in it."
John Jacob Astor: "I am the most miserable man on the earth."
Henry Ford: "I was happier when doing a mechanic's job."
Andrew Carnegie: "Millionaires seldom smile.
The vast majority of people who have won the lottery were actually less happy than before
Boston College has a Center on Wealth and Philanthropy. For the last couple of years, they have been surveying 165 households with an average net worth of 78 million. They asked questions like, “How would you describe the ultimate goal or deepest aspiration for your life?” Graeme Wood of the magazine “Atlantic Weekly” wrote a summary article of the study which stated, “If anything, the rich stare into the abyss a bit more starkly that the rest of us. The truly wealthy know the appetites for material indulgences are rarely satiated by such things. No yacht is so super, nor any wine so exquisite that it can soothe the soul…”
While one’s achievements along the five p’s may be celebrated in their lifetime, rarely do they lasts past them. What we need to become aware of and evaluate is true success that lasts. Consider this: Jesus said: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” True success in this life requires a fundamental change in one’s thinking from the world’s perspective to God’s perspective. The fact is: What the world regards as success is not what God regards as success. Many people fawn over power, position, prestige, pleasure, and prosperity. God does not.
So instead of determining one’s success by the world’s standards, we should determine what success is by God's standards, for He is the one who has created us, He is the one who will judge us and He is the One who defines the standards for success. Success is much more than the five p’s. So how does God define success? Obedience and faithfulness to Him. God's measure of our success is whether or not we are loyal to Him and obey Him. With the death and resurrection of Jesus, obedience is rewarded with eternal life.