The Myth Of Keys To Success

The Myth Of Keys To Success

What the world thinks about it and why it's wrong.
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There’s a myth that the world would like you to believe—you and you alone are ultimately responsible for your own happiness. You have to love yourself first. You have to find fulfillment in your life. You have to live the American dream of freedom and prosperity. The “key to success” is finding love, happiness, wealth. And if you follow very calculated steps laid out for you in a million different self-help books, you’ll inevitably find fulfillment in something.

The truth is, that’s all a load of bull crap. (Sorry, sorry, I know. Language.) But it is. Fulfillment cannot be found in anything this world has to offer. There is no key to success. Sure, there are lots of good things that bring “success” by the world's standards. But in the light of reality, are those things truly “success”? That’s a hard word to define, I’ll admit. You can successfully meet a goal or achieve some award or eat a sandwich (though that last one can be kind of difficult sometimes). But success is a very subjective thing—what might be considered a success for one person might be a failure to someone else.

So how does the world define success? Health, wealth and prosperity. To our society, you’re successful if you have a high-ranking, high-paying job with a large house (or two), a happy family, an expensive car (or yacht, or both). To be successful, you have to have material things that display that. Things like a stable career, marriage, home life, finances. But you know the funny thing about life? There’s no certainty. And you know what’s even funnier? Material things don’t last. All that money you earn and all those things you buy with it won’t stick around forever. Or rather, you won’t stick around forever, and when you leave this earth, none of it is going with you. It doesn’t last and the pleasure you find in anything this world offers won’t sustain you.

Ultimately, fulfillment can come from nothing this world has to offer. There are certainly ways to plan for financial security, gain more confidence and find a better paying job. But those things never have and never will equal true success. It’s not about your bank account, it’s about your heart. And I’m sorry to say, your heart will never be satisfied by earthly things. Relationships, money, work, school, popularity, even yourself—none of those things can bring true joy. Those things have no saving power. Relationships can encourage and support you—but ultimately, people are broken creatures and they’ll let you down at some point. You will never even be able to find fulfillment in yourself.

So don’t base your idea of “success” on the world or its offerings. Base it on God and his offer of salvation and grace. A strong relationship with him is the only thing that can bring true, enduring joy. His version of success is far different from the worlds, but it also far better. It’s not founded on material things or social expectations, but rooted in growing us in sanctification. And while it may not be easy or necessarily fun, there is so much more freedom and joy that comes from following his will, his vision of success. Ultimately, our “success” isn’t in rooted in the world, but in our God who created it. It’s found in following his eternal plan of love and grace, not momentary pleasure. We are not bound by material things, but freed to live by a whole different set of standards that offers joy and peace and comfort and grace when we have nothing, when the world says we have failed. So maybe there really is a “key to success.” It’s not anything a self-help book will tell you to do, though. It’s the ability to look at all that you have and say “I don’t need any of it because I already have something so much better than all of it. I have God.” That is real, true, enduring success.

Cover Image Credit: Desktop Nexus

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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How To Trust When You Feel Reluctant

How my sweet niece taught me the ropes of trust.

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What does it exactly mean to "trust"? I'm not too sure. I think that trust has so many different levels, and manifests differently given the scenario. The general definition is something like this.

The firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength in something or someone.

Which makes sense, but how trust materializes can be a really interesting, malleable thing. Yesterday, I was sitting on my couch staring out the window, all curled up in a blanket. I heard a little knock at the door, my niece and her Mimi poked their heads in. Little girl had just woken up from her nap, and Mimi was seeing if I might want to get some snuggles.

Oh, I just couldn't help but love her even more with those sleepy, little, quiet eyes and slow movements. Mimi placed her in my arms, but when she did, I could see some tension move into that little one's shoulders. She was a little more rigid. Still sitting with me, but stiff, not quite sure if I was safe. Then, she looked up at me and studied my face for a few small moments. She gave me her sweet smile and then she snuggled her shoulders and leaned in. There it was, trust in the sweetest of ways.

We were both just tucked in for 10 minutes or so, exchanging peeking smiles, and looking at each other's hands and fingers. All the while, my little niece was reminding me of myself.

Just 15 minutes before she came in, I was feeling that same stiffness in my shoulders, the tension of the day and my agenda. A rigid discomfort, and unsureness of where I was. I felt questions rising up in me. I was sitting in what I knew was right at the moment, but stiffly. Just like my little niece, still sitting and accepting the situation, but not eagerly.

It's a bummer, but I think I actually do this pretty often. I will accept the current that I'm swimming in and agree, yes, I'm in the right lane, but I'm not exactly embracing it. In this world, flavors change and we are called to adapt. That adaptation doesn't always come within a flicker or a blink. We might do so a little reluctantly, hesitantly, and cautiously. My niece taught me something so dear and so beloved yesterday. She taught me the exact answer of what to do when that stiffness starts to crumble your trust.

She reminded herself who was holding her. She studied my face and recalled where she had seen it before. And then she determined me safe.

Bring on the snuggles.

I found myself taking my nieces advice, and practicing this same remembrance. I needed to behold the face of my Father and study it, seek it. I had to remind myself of whose I am and where I am, how carefully I am held, how beloved I am, and how His Truth is the only certainty that I need.

"You have said, 'Seek My face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, Lord, do I seek.'" (Psalm 27:8)

We must remind ourselves of those moments we came to know Him better, a wrinkle of His face, or a tender commonality that we've seen in His kindness. Take note of each encounter, and hold the things you learn as treasure with full trust and assurance. Allow yourself to really weigh into Him. Give every piece of yourself, because in His truth are the delights of trust, of reassurance, of quietness, and peace.

My little niece reminded me that far greater than anything can we behold on earth, is beholding Jesus' face.

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