Thursday, October 13, 2005

How Do You Spell Success?

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” ~ Mark 8:37 (KJV)

Success is measured by the height of your aspirations,
The breadth of your vision, the depth of your convictions.
Success lies not in how well-known you are, but how well-respected –
Not in your power to take, but your willingness to give.
Success is the small voice you hear within
When you know you have done your best.

~ Hallmark card Keen received

Back in my younger days as a cheerleader, we used to shout out the following cheer: S-U-C-C-E-S-S – that’s the way we spell Success!” This week I’d like to address the question: How do you spell success?

In a recent edition of his column, “On the Run,” my friend Larry Welch eulogized his late father’s full – and successful – life. Larry summed up several lessons he had learned from his father. Lesson number nine struck me the most: “Love unconditionally.” Larry wrote, “I can't think of a nicer lifetime reputation for a person to have than that they loved unconditionally.”

Neither can I, Larry. We are very blessed who have experienced unconditional love from God, our parents, siblings, spouses and/or friends.


Author Unknown

You can use most any measure
When you're speaking of success
You can measure it in fancy homes
Expensive cars or dress
But the measure of your real success
Is the one you cannot spend
It's the way your kids describe you
When they're talking to a friend.

In the same column, Larry shared the following quote from anthropologist and author, Margaret Mead, Ph.D.

"I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.”

Remember This

Author Unknown

God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

God won't ask the square footage of your house, but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

God won't ask what your salary was, but He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

God won't ask what your job title was, but He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of our ability.

God won't ask how many friends you had, but He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

God won't ask what neighborhood you lived in, but He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

God won't ask about the color of your skin, but He'll ask about the content of your character.

“The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." ~ I Samuel 16:7b (RSV)

The following poem was left on the windshield of Keen’s car when it was parked at Washburn Law School during the final week of classes:

Has My Life Made A Difference?

Author Unknown

Has my life made a difference?
After I’m gone will anyone say?
I’m really glad I met him
He often brightened my day.

Has my life made a difference?
Was I willing to take a stand?
Did I do the best I could,
To help my fellow man?

Has my life made a difference?
God only knows for sure
I don’t understand it all just yet
But I know God’s Word is pure.

Has my life made a difference?
Perhaps you should ask yourself the same
You see, nothing really matters
If love’s not our greatest aim.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” ~ Proverbs 31:8,9 (NLT)

Many people characterize success by the number of degrees you hold, and/or by the prestige of the institution where you obtained your degree.

Naomi Patterson, a local columnist, poet and retired clinical psychologist, wrote a very insightful article in a recent edition of The Topeka Capital-Journal. Naomi pointed out a little known fact about ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, who passed away from lung cancer. It seems Peter Jennings never attended college. As a matter of fact, he dropped out of high school. “Instead of pursuing a formal education,” she wrote, “Jennings had pursued his passion, surely having no idea himself of the success he would achieve against all odds.”

Naomi went on to say that many individuals who don’t fit the formal education mold have the “intelligence, heart, creativity and passion to make a meaningful mark in the world . . . without college algebra or knowing the capital of Afghanistan.”
Being one of those individuals who have never attended a day of college, I was especially appreciative of Naomi’s comments. By pursing my passion for writing, I hope to be able to touch lives and “make my mark in the world.”

In my husband’s case, on the other hand, he had to obtain a degree in order to pursue his passion for the law. In the final analysis, it’s up to each of us individually to identify our true passion and to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we are fully utilizing our God-given talents.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which, he simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.” ~ James A. Michener (1907-97), Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Tales of the South Pacific" and other bestselling books

“ . . . and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of [our] faith . . . .” ~ Hebrews 12:1b,2a (KJV)