Millions of people in our society are striving for “success.” They read books, watch DVDs, attend seminars and do all sorts of things in order to be successful. Many people equate success with having or making a lot of money. Others feel that if they could just become famous or star in a film or in a TV show—or reach any kind of “celebrity” status—that would make them successful. But would it, really?
This week, I found that success has very little to do with money or fame- and so much to do with doing what we were born to do. Success is not about “faking it”, it is about being real with who you are, nurturing your talents and gifts- and sharing them with those around you.
Every week, I try to visit at least two schools to empower students, to motivate them and listen to them when they need an ear to hear.
Recently, I visited grade three’s and grade four’s in a school in Randburg. After my talk, a student approached me as I was getting ready to leave, and gave me a piece of paper. She instructed me to read the note at home, willingly, I agreed. I was looking forward to reading this neatly folded note but because I had to rush to the office, the note completely slipped my mind. I got busy with meetings, deadlines, reports and life and I completely forgot about the note. A few days passed and the note was still unread.
Yesterday I decided to change bags, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the note still in my bag. I opened it and it read, “I love you. Thank you for coming to my school.” At that moment, nothing could’ve made me happier. My eyes were immediately filled with tears… There were no cameras, there was no applause, there was no celebration- in the silence of my house however, I felt great fulfilment. And at that moment, I knew true success: the joy of impacting other people’s lives in a positive way.
Success isn’t in possessions or positions. Success isn’t about us being better than others. Success is not a competition. Success is in the little acts of kindness. Success is about empowering others. True success is not threatened by other people’s success, it encourages it.
In this day and age, we are taught to compete with one another and we put ourselves under great strain to buy things we can’t afford- out of pressure to look successful. But success isn’t a look, success is an attitude.
We are most successful when we are happy, when we are loving, when are helping and empowering others. Which is why we should not waste time on negative emotions —anger, envy, hate— these keep us from being successful.
In our search for success, I encourage us to pursue more than just money; after all, a millionaire who is not happy is not successful. Let us also be rich in love, rich in kindness, rich in compassion, rich in forgiveness, rich in joy- be rich in things that matter most. In doing so, we will leave this world better than we found it.