Success Is Found In The Journey, Not In Just Achieving The Goal

Success Is Found In The Journey, Not In Just Achieving The Goal

Strive towards your calling with passion while overflowing that energy into the lives of those around you, bringing them up along the way.

533
views

When you see a Ferrari drive by or a yacht sail past you, what do you think of the person who owns those things? Would you be inclined to believe that they were afforded opportunities that you weren't or that they possess qualities that you lack, thus allowing them to attain such status? I'd contend that each of us, whether rich or poor, intelligent or "average," have the same capacity for success and that it is ourselves that ultimately hinder us from reaching the goals that we create. Each one of us has to play the hand we were dealt as though it were the hand we wanted in order to pioneer a path to success.

Still, those more successful or wealthy seem to have something that we lack, something perceivably intrinsic to who they are as person. Attributes and skills such as social likability, a broad lexicon or vocabulary and knowledge or intelligence in a variety of different areas are the most potent examples. We personify them as being "gifted" or "unique" but fail to see how it is that we could ever reach the same heights. Yet these traits are not fixed, but variable, and are tirelessly developed over many years. Small, seemingly insignificant decisions that are made every day, compound on one another in a manner that is similar to how a financial investment portfolio benefits from compounding interest. Those minute positive decisions that bring the aspiring professional closer to their goals, builds on the previous positive decisions, which creates an increasingly significant and noticeable change with each subsequent addition. Therefore, when we look up at that person and observe how everything they do seemingly brings so much wealth or success, it appears as if they aren't putting in nearly the amount of effort that we are, yet are reaping far greater rewards for their toil. The difference between us and them isn't some intrinsic quality that makes them better than us, but is in how they chose to respond to those minute changes that brought them closer towards their desires versus how we choose to do the same.

Although the abilities may not be intrinsic to the individual, the desire is, and we will inevitably establish a standard which represents a degree of success that we wish to achieve; one of which that fulfills our desires. Once that desire is quantified through the formation of goals, we will recognize the calling on our life; the intrinsic desire that we had all along perfectly matches the calling. "I was made for this!" one could exclaim. At that point, there will come a moment where we are given a glimpse of the summit of the mountain that towers before us and are left with an opportunity to respond in one of two ways. Either we will say, "I have got to get to the top of that mountain because what I've been shown is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined," or we will say, "there's a mountain, I can't go." In order to reach the top, to achieve these seemingly impossible goals, you have to defend your life with your life and not allow your time, heart or energy to be consumed by things or people that only give comfort in the valley and are not going up the mountain with you. This is where the vast majority of people (as I observe it) fall behind and end up compromising on the vision that they once had.

Why, then, is it so easy to lose hope and get distracted, despite having every intention to accomplish what we set out to achieve? The secret, I believe, lies within us. Behind every aspiration, every goal that we strive towards, there is a sinister antithesis that lurks in the shadows. Lying in wait for us to lose hope and compromise in the pursuit of our calling, it steadily takes root while suffocating the vibrancy that once fueled our fervor for achievement. The further we get, the more opportunities for failure arise. This faceless, silent enemy that feeds on our fears and insecurities is the fear of failure itself. As we strive to transcend our weaknesses by avoiding failure through our accomplishments, we suppress that which is defeating us from within. Combined with the ensuing agony that so often accompanies failure, we are overrun as our despondence impels us to concede in the face of seemingly, impending defeat.

What we have to accept is that failure is the very thing that catapults us towards success. A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new nor learned that risk is the price of opportunity. Yet, if we become so focused on the final outcome that we don't enjoy the years in between and the people we meet along the way, then (if we even get there at all) we will arrive alone. Recognized for our success yet not for who we are, leaving us unfulfilled. So why not enjoy the process and share in it with others, every step of the way?

I, too, have goals and aspirations that I am striving towards. I attempt to make small, seemingly insignificant changes in the pursuit of those goals such that I am not looking towards an end goal but yet am living it out each and every day as I work to make it a reality. That is the true, historical meaning of Carpe Diem: to seize the day and prepare for the future. I'm spending my time focused on bringing what He has breathed into me to life and I intend on bringing as many people up with me as I can. Each of us have an opportunity to achieve greatness and can make a meaningful impact in the lives of those around us. To establish the ultimate goal as acquiring accolades, wealth or power is to exalt ourselves over others, rendering them as potential sacrifices on the altar of our achievements. What will it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul? All of the joy we are capable of experiencing from these things is limited and we will keep hitting the ceiling of that enjoyment. We will keep fixating on the next time or the next big thing until we acknowledge them as being insufficient to [ultimately] fulfill us lest we die chasing after the wind. Therefore, as you develop goals and pursue your calling, remember that your abilities are not marked by what you are but who you are. You define the degree of success that you're capable of by making it happen every day. Be who you're meant to be now, today. Embrace it and lead a life worthy of your calling. You and I have one shot, one chance to make a difference, so what are you waiting for?

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

Popular Right Now

10 Things I Learned When My Best Friend Got Pregnant In High School

In this world where you can be anything: be a friend (and be a good one).

5615
views
Life: full of amazing, unforeseen circumstances. How you roll with the punches only reveals your strength.
True friends are like diamonds: bright, beautiful, valuable, and always in style." -Nicole Richie

I remember when I first heard the big news. I didn't want to believe it. My heart dropped. I was worried for you. What would happen? How would you get through this? Nothing we knew would ever be the same. Our world was about to change forever. I recalled the verse Isaiah 41:10, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you." I knew God was with you and would always be. I knew God needed me to be here for you, no matter what.

Turns out, you had this all in the bag. You handled everything with grace and dignity. You were strong even on your hardest days. You were overwhelmed with faith and you inspired me with your perseverance through the hardest times. I could not be more proud of who you became because of the cards you were dealt.

To Meaghan: I love you. I'm always here, no matter where. Hudson is so lucky to have you.

Here's what I learned from you and your sweet baby boy:

1. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT the end of the world

Start making plans for the future. Pick out clothes, decorations, and toys. Help with all the madness and preparation. She would do the same for you. Plus, 9 p.m. runs to Toys-R-Us just to buy the baby some socks (because you do not know the gender yet) is always a good idea. You have to focus on the big picture. Life doesn't stop even when you want to.

2. No matter how much you want to freak out, remain calm

Getting unexpected news is never easy to hear. If needed, cry. Cry until you cannot anymore. Then, get up and be strong, she needs you. Be flexible (You want to come over to hang out? Right now? No, I'm not in the middle of ten thousand things, come on over). Be available (yes, even for her 3 a.m. insomnia calls just to see "what's up?") "Meaghan, why are you even awake right now?"

3. Radiate positivity. Always. 

This is an emotional time. The LAST thing she needs is someone bringing her down. "No, honey, you're glowing!" "You do not look fat in that bikini!!" "You are rocking that baby bump!" "Oh, that's your the third day in a row you're eating a Sonic burger for lunch? You go girl!"

4. Be ready for all the times: happy, confusing, stressful, sad, (but mostly) exciting

Mixed emotions are so hard, but look for the silver lining. With your support, she will be strong.

"Who knew picking out the brand of diapers to buy was so stressful?"

5. This world is a scary place. You never want to be all alone, so don't be. 

Like the song says, we, really do, all need someone to lean on. Just being there for someone goes a long way. "Meaghan what the heck are you doing in MY bed? How long have you been here?"

6. Lean on God. His plan is greater than we could ever imagine. 

When you don't know where to go, or who to turn to, pray! Pray for the burdens you feel. Pray for the future. Pray for patience. Pray for the ability to not grow weary. Pray for a heart of compassion. Pray. Pray. Pray.

7. Something we never knew we needed. 

Some of the best things in life are things we never knew we needed. Who knows where we would be without this sweet face?

"Hudson say Lib. Libby. L-- Come ON!" "CAT!" "Okay, that works too."

8. "Mother knows best"...is accurate, whether you believe it or not

Turns out, seventeen-year-olds don't know how to plan baby showers. Our moms have been there, done that. They want to be involved just as much as we do, so let them! Listen to their guidance. After all, they're professionals.

9. There will *almost always* be a "better way" of doing something...but, be a cheerleader, not a critic 

This is something many people struggle with in general, but it is not your DNA, it is not your place to be a critic. Let her raise her own baby. You are there to be a friend, not a mentor. ****Unless she's about to name the baby something absolutely terrible -- for the love of that baby, don't let her name that kid something everyone hates.

10.  At the end of the day, it's not what you have or what you know; rather, it is all about who you love and those who love you

Life has adapted, but for the better. We grew up, learned, and became stronger. All the while, we stayed friends every step of the way. We still have the same fun and most definitely, the same laughs.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Happy National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and it just so happens to be the month I was adopted!

510
views

If you didn't know, November is National Adoption Month! It's extra special too because November happens to be the actual month I was adopted! In honor of National Adoption Month, I wanted to share my adoption story.

When I was little, my mom used to read me a book called Horace. The children's book was about a cheetah cub who had been adopted by two tigers. Every night when his mom tucked him into bed, she would tell him "we chose when you were a tiny baby because you lost your family and needed a new one. We liked your spots and wanted you to be our child." (Keller 1991) Horace, the cheetah cub, always fell asleep before his mom could finish his adoption story. Horace feels out of place - he loves his mom and dad but wonders where he came from, so he goes on an adventure to find where he came from.

I have never felt like Horace. I am the only African-American in my family, yet I have never felt out of place. I have never not felt loved and accepted by my family. I have always known this family is my family, and exactly where God wanted me to be. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I have what is called a closed adoption. What this means is, I do not have direct contact with my birth parents. When I turned 18, I was allowed to reach out to Bethany Christian Services, which is the agency I was adopted through, to attempt to meet my birth parents. However, 23 years later, and I have yet to do so. But I will get to why later.

Before I came around. My mom, Constance, had a very difficult pregnancy with my big sister Kathryn. My sister Kate turned out healthy and gorgeous! But her doctors advised her to consider things strongly if she wanted to have another child. My mom and dad both wanted another child, but they kept this in mind. Both my mom and my dad Gary felt called to adopt.

If you are not familiar with how adoption works, first a disclaimer: every story is different! So I am not stating that this is exactly how it works each time, I can only speak to the process my parents went through. For them, my parents were interviewed by Bethany Christian, and then their information was sent to many different people who were seeking to put their children up for adoption. My parents did not specify gender, race, ethnicity, etc. Typically, you do not know who is interested in you until further down the line. My sister was five years old at the time of my adoption. Before I was born, my sister started to pray "Dear God, please let my little sister or brother arrive here safely. Amen." My parents were pretty confused... while they were going through the process of adoption, they had not been selected to be parents yet, let alone would they have told my sister she was for sure getting a sibling. My parents would say "Kate, mom isn't pregnant! You aren't getting a little brother or sister." She would reply "Yes we are. God told me so just trust me." Closer to my birth, my sister decided she definitely wanted a sister. She even then described what I would look like. And she started to give me a name: Anna.

Finally, my parents got the call that they were going to be parents again. My birth mom had met my parents once during the interview process. She said she picked my parents because my mom resembled my birth mom - both are blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and fair skinned. When my parents came to meet me for the first time, I fit the exact description my sister had been praying for - and although I did not have a name, they knew right away that I would be Anna, just as my sister had decided.

I was born on November 11th, 1995, and I was born with a staph infection. This kept me in the hospital for eleven days. Once I was healthy enough to go home, my parents brought me home on November 21st. While I look different from my family and I am not their biological daughter, I have never questioned my place in their family. I love my family so very much. My adoption is the biggest blessing of my life, and every single day I feel so lucky that I get to call my family mine.

Adoption is such a gift, and it is a true sacrifice for those who choose to give their children a better life. This month honors those in need of adoption, those who have adopted, and those who have been adopted. It is such a special thing to be a part of that. I know my parents love my "spots" and I love their stripes. To those who were adopted, Happy National Adoption Month. Share your stories - they are special and so are you.

Related Content

Facebook Comments