Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How do you measure success?

My parents and I were talking on Sunday about success. My mom asked me how many of my classmates from high-school and college are as successful as me. I asked what she meant, salary level or working in the field of degree. I probably also should have asked if happiness in life was part of the equation for success.

I am a closet fan of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. He poses an interesting question in his most recent column. Is life about getting A’s?

So, if it isn’t “A’s,” money, or a job in ones field, what is success? And if success isn’t measured by the above, what is it measured by? In my career, I value flexibility and opportunity. This is why pursuing a higher degree is important to me. When a door opens, I want the ability to step in.

But, what does it profit a man to gain the world and loose his soul? I’m not saying that one shouldn’t have a skill that others find useful. I’m not saying one shouldn’t do their best on the job or at school. I’m saying that there are more important things in life then just material success.

I think my parents are successful people. They have skills that people value, yes. They also work hard. However, their drive for work did not often interfere with family life. I saw and interacted with my parents every day as a child. They believe in God and the fundamental truths of the Christian faith, and they instilled their faith in their children. My dad actively encourages the faith in others, through his book, and also in personal interactions with others. Dad encouraged my cousin Sam in his faith by having him read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.

We should not consider ourselves more important than God or others. We ought to humble ourselves before God and others. We need to obey God. We need to exhibit the fruits of the spirit. And we should measure success the way that God does, persevering to the end. What good is it if I have lots of money and an exciting career if I am not like my parents when I turn 50? What good is it if I gain the world and loose my soul?


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