What Can We Tell Men About True Success?
Trent rose rapidly to become the youngest K-Mart manager in the history of the company. They sent him to troubleshoot a store that was losing $1,000,000 per year.
Trent supervised the renovation of the store, then orchestrated a turnaround from losing $1,000,000 a year to making $1,000,000 a year. He said, “I was part of that. When it was all over, I would get to work at the usual time, about 6:00 a.m., sit in the parking lot, look at the store all lit up, and ask myself, ‘Why am I so miserable?’”
To not get what you want can be painful. Perhaps more painful though, as Trent discovered, is to get what you want and still not be happy. Of course, a lot of men don’t reach their goals. Many more men, however, do achieve their goals only to find out that success—at least success the way they had defined it—doesn’t satisfy. What’s that all about?
All men want to be successful in what they do. That’s normal and healthy. However, many men get carried away and end up catching “success sickness.” Success sickness is the disease of always wanting more, but never being happy when you get it. It is that intangible pain that comes from not achieving goals that should never have been set or, like Trent, achieving them only to find out it didn’t matter. Regrettably, many men don’t learn this lesson until they’ve given it 10, 20, or more years—often the best years of their life.
Failure means to not get what you want. Another way of defining failure, though, is that failure means to succeed in a way that doesn’t really matter. What, then, is success that matters—true success?
Paul Meyers, one of America’s great entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and a friend of mine, just sent me an interesting list of his “lifetime accomplishments.” Paul, who (as I understand it) has given away tens of millions of dollars, is in his 70s. He wrote, “One of my grandchildren asked a very important question the other day. ‘Paw-Paw, you have done a lot in your lifetime. What do you consider to be your major accomplishments?’” He listed these five:
- To know Christ as my personal Savior and that He is the Lord of my life.
- That my five children are following the same Way.
- That my grandchildren, one by one—through prayer—are drawing closer and closer to God and are also following the same path.
- That all my businesses are dedicated to God for His glory and use, because I know and understand that it is all His anyway.
- That my skills and talents have been used by God to help support ministries whose purposes are to promote the Great Commission as stated in Matthew 28:18-20.
Apart from God, life has no meaning and no purpose. Fortunately, Trent figured that out and now leads a contented life. He has found success that matters.
Together in the Battle for Men’s Souls,