In my high school yearbook I wrote: “Success is the next best thing to loving someone special.” I was 18, in love, and about to graduate. With my whole life ahead of me, I had big dreams and grand expectations.
During those last few weeks before graduation, I spent a lot of time with my friends. It was difficult to say goodbye. We were leaving to start our new lives and we all made promises to stay in touch.
In the high school auditorium we gathered to celebrate before the upcoming graduation. We watched our years of friendship in a film clip created by several of the seniors. Pictures slid across the big screen commemorating several occasions; our school dances, our junior prom, fun times in the cafeteria and a range of other events. While the memories flooded back on the screen, a Diana Ross song, “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” played in the background. Tears flowed down our cheeks as we reflected on every image. Four years of memories filled our hearts. This was the end of another chapter in my life.
At 18, we think we have the world at our feet. We envision our lives of adulthood. We dream big and live hard.
Each person has a foundation of ideals and values they have incorporated into their being. These driving forces create the message they want to send to the world. These dreams and visions are the underlying reasons we do what we do. Whatever you are most passionate about is where you will develop your habits and maintain your focus.
After graduation, I got married. I started my family and my career. Over the years, my career took different turns. I went back to school and sought my degree. What I thought at 18 years of age, I still believe is true. For loving someone special is one of the greatest challenges and highest accomplishments in life. For me, success is not my status of employment, nor is it having fancy cars or living in a grand castle. To me, success is doing what you love to do, whatever it may be, with the gifts and talents God has bestowed upon you. That is success. That a man, who loves much, succeeds much and accomplishes his greatest goals in life may be filled with joy and contentment. He is at peace.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “That man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.”
We may ask ourselves, am I like that man? How would you define success? Do you know where you’re going to?