Perspectives On Success
If someone were to ask for your definition of success, what would be your answer? For business and professional people, striving for success is almost universal. But what “success” means for each of us often is very different. Here is a sampling of what some highly acclaimed leaders from the past have said about success. See which ones you like:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill. For the one-time British prime minister, perseverance was a key ingredient for success.
“For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead” – Thomas Jefferson. For the American president, the pursuit of truth was important for the achievement of success.
“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done” – Dwight Eisenhower. This World War II military leader and U.S. president considered the fostering of strong relationship important for the pursuit of success.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” – Nelson Mandela. For this legendary South African leader, aiming for lofty goals was central to achieving success.
“Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it” – Mahatma Gandhi. For this renowned Indian leader, the supreme effort exerted in the pursuit of noble goals was essential to the quest for success.
“Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work” – Booker T. Washington. Success cannot be attained without hard work, according to this educator, author and advisor to presidents.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer. Success, in the eyes of this theologian, philosopher and physician, is impossible unless one enjoys the process of striving toward the desired objective.
The Bible does not use the word success often, but it is clear about God’s view of success: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). True success, it says, involves acknowledging God as Creator and Lord, and seeking to follow the guidelines and standards He has established for right living – including the workplace.
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For followers of Jesus Christ, one measure of success for business and professional people is effectively representing Him in the workplace. For that reason, hundreds of men and women from around the world will gather at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. September. 24-28, 2014 for the World CBMC Convention.
Business and professional leaders from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, Central America and South America will be joining to challenge, offer mutual encouragement and learn from one another in their desire to take an active part in fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). For more information and to register, visit the website, CBMC International.
1. How would you define success?
2. Why do you think “success” means so many things and can look very differently to various people, including prominent national and international leaders, such as those cited in this “Monday Manna”?
3. Are there any of the quotes about success and achievement that you identify with in particular? Explain your answer.
4. What do you think about the Bible’s perspective on success? Should there be a spiritual dimension to how a person defines success and pursues it? Why or why not?
If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Proverbs 16:3, 21:2,5, 28:14; Ephesians 2:10,19-22; Colossians 3:17,23; 2 Timothy 3:16-17