An exact definition of success is elusive.
For some people, success is about getting all you want. Some will tell you it is the size of the number indicated in your bank account, or a home address within a certain zip code, or the kind of car they drive. Perhaps it is how envious other women are of your spouse. Others will say it has to de with realizing your hopes and dreams or fulfilling your goals or plans.
It may be one or more of those things…or something else.
But viewing it that way makes you feel like a loser until you get to the finish line. And then what?
That is why I embrace Earl Nightingale’s definition: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” – Earl Nightengale
I love this definition because it allows me to become a success this year, this month, in fact this very moment. Even if I have drifted aimlessly through Life thus far . . . and all my friends seem to be doing better than me. Even if I am homeless. Or I am tired, broken-hearted, and can barely afford my rent payment each month. None of that matters in Earl’s definition of success.
If I choose this moment a worthy ideal, something to shoot for that I am passionate about. That goal, that purpose will quickly transform my life. Without question, it will immediately change everything if I truly vow to never give up taking massive action until I get it – then I am a success!
If you do that…and begin taking action…well, you too ARE a success!
Not once you reach the finish line. You are a success the moment you choose to aspire to that worthy ideal and commit your Life to achieving it.
As Mr. Nightingale says, “If a man is working toward a pre-determined goal and knows where he’s going, that man is a success. If he’s not doing that, he’s a failure. Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
Additionally, if you take action towards something worthy of you, you will wake up in the morning feeling victorious rather than feeling defeated. How would that feel?
It is the kind of feeling that can change your entire life. So let go of your fear and make the decision right now that you will not leave the place you are right now until you have decided what your Life’s work is to be.
You can always change it. What you can’t do…is afford to waste another day living in despair.
So make the choice and take action. Any action. Become a success. Set sail towards the Life of your dreams. The feeling that you are now a success will cause you to walk proudly with your head up high. You will be happy, fulfilled, and satisfied.
All it takes is a decision to take action and you are immediately a success. If you have truly decided that you will never give up, then you immediately become a success – you will simply “live into that decision” – as my good friend Heather Carey says.
Make that choice. Now! Take action. Refuse to quit!
No matter how you define success, though, the truth is that the quality of your Life is determined by the quality of your feelings. If you feel happy every second, would you care that you were poor? Conversely, wouldn’t you be miserable if you were rich and famous, but always felt terrible and unloved? We often think in terms of the “middle man” – Money, Love, Fame, Power, etc. But those things are not what is missing from your Dream Life.
You are what is missing from your Dream Life!
You are what is missing from your Dream Life!
So how do you remedy that? Easy! Picture your dream Life and then place yourself in the dream! You will feel good about yourself when you take action towards your dreams. Do it. Do it now!
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
It would benefit my Spiritual Journey to ask the question of myself on a regular basis:
Why Am I A Bad Christian?
Why Am I A Bad Christian?
If I just assumed that there exists areas where I could improve as a Christian and I devoted a mere 15 minutes each month to sitting somewhere quietly and jotting those things down – how would that affect my Spiritual Walk? What would I learn about myself, others, my religion, and my God? Only the future can say, I suppose. My first thoughts:
I am a bad Christian because:
- I prefer to be “right” rather than compassionate.
- I prefer living in self-delusion regarding my judgmental, hypocritical, and inauthentic nature; more than authentically pursuing greater levels of Joy, Truth, and Love.
- I prefer complaining about my religion failing to become a force of Respect, Love, Truth, Harmony and Joy; rather than doing what I can to help it become that force. My religion is not that failure. I AM. I am a member of my religion. Once I have done everything in my power to help my religion become a force of Respect, Love, Truth, Harmony and Joy – then, and only then, will I be in a position to judge what it is capable of doing. Because maybe it would be more capable if I put forth effort. Until I do, I will recognize my words of complaint for what they are: a flimsy and lame excuse for not possessing the requisite Faith to even try.
From my heart to yours,
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
You create the portrait of your Life. You, and only you, get to choose each day the colors with which you will paint, the brushes with which you will paint, and each and every brushstroke. Sure, some people start with a better canvas. Many people begin their adult life with a much worse canvas.
But each of us has paint and paint brushes. If we would only stop complaining about our canvas, and begin painting, we would soon be delighted with the Life Portrait we are producing.
How are you feeling about the portrait you have painted of your Life thus far? Are you a ‘work in progress’? Are you hoping that some lucky incident will magically give you the Life you desire? Or have you produced the ‘masterpiece’ you always knew you could be?
The great thing about Life is that even if you feel incomplete, frustrated, and like you will never get to where you want to be . . . one simple choice can change all of that.
Tomorrow awaits. It is beckoning brightly. Affix in your mind the person you wish to be. Then dare to paint the Life that you want – one day at a time. Do not settle for anything less. Determine now — this instant — that you will let nothing and no one derail you tomorrow from doing whatever it takes to become that person.
And simply repeat that formula the following day. And the next one after that.
Will you have frustrating days where you feel you did not make progress? Of course.
But if you will make that commitment – each day – I promise that you will look back in six months, and a year, and five years from now and you will be that person.
And should you fail to make that commitment…you can be sure you will wake up six months from now, or a year, or five years . . . and you will be more-or-less where you are today.
The Choice is always yours! Why not start on this person you wish to be today?
From my heart to yours,
On Christmas Day I think it appropriate to dwell for a few minutes on love. Love brought the Master of the universe to this measly planet for me. If that doesn’t scream “love is a CHOICE”, I don’t know what does.
Someone once said, love is “giving someone the ability to hurt you, but trusting them not to.” Jesus knew that we would hurt Him, not just while He was here but probably every day that we live! He chose to come anyway….and chooses to love us anyway…everyday…
So that says to me that I am called to love those around me – even if I know that sometimes it’s gonna hurt.
Here’s to loving like Jesus,
Please direct your attention to the main stage, and (if the Prefixed Life had an unlimited budget such that we could afford him on this grand occasion) to your ring announcer, Michael Buffer.
“For the hundreds who have visited the Prefixed Life…and the millions with the ability to do so worldwide . . .it gives us great pleasure to introduce the Blogging Match-Up . . . which will be decided by fifteen (or more or less) rounds of furious blogging action to determine the Heaven-Weight World Championship. . .
. . .and perhaps . . .
Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing, first . . .
In the Black Corner;
Our Veteran . . .
He Lives in gorgeous, sunny; traffic-, smog-, and crime-free Southern California . . .
Your liberal, left-of-Karl Marx-leaning, Commandments-are-not-our-God. . .
SCAAAAHHHHHHH…TTTTTTTTYYYYYYYYYYYY . . . . .BAAAAAA-LAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK-BURN.
The Prefixed Life is proud to introduce,
In the White Corner, your challenger
She hales from the not quite-so-gorgeous or warm, or beach-front . . .
or cool (unless you mean temperature-wise) State of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
where she has two children, a cat, a degree in nursing, a gorgeous mind . . .
and a bizarre alarm clock.
From the exact center of the famous and historic
Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Scanton exotic triangle,
Presenting . . .
The Naturally-Talented, ‘Not-So-Dumb,’ Conservative-to-the-Right of Genghis Khan, Commandments-Point-The-Way-To-Heaven, Blonde Blogger,
KAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNN “For Patients Because I am a Nurse,” BBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRR-TON.
Blonde Blogger Karen Borton
Ladies and Gentlement, AAAAAAARRRREEEEEE YOU RRRRREEEEAAAAAA-DY?
THEN . . .LETS GET REEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAADY TO CONTRAAAAAAA-PUN-TAL!
And now please direct your attention ring side to our humble referee, dressed in a simple garment of shimmering white, who bears scars in His hands and feet but has the beautiful smiling face of a caring, shepherding, carpenter . . .for the pre-fight instructions:
“Alright, Karen and Scotty:
We went over all the rules in your respective locker rooms before this bout. Obey My commands at all times. Love your God and fellow humans with all your heart. No low blows, no kidney punches, or feline jabs to the diaphragm.
And remember, the Goal is NOT to knock each other out; the Goal is NOT to Divide or Conquer.
Our goal here is to unite, empower, equip, find common ground; and, ultimately to enhance and deepen our relationships with God, fellow humans, our planet, our communities, our respective Houses of Worship, our families, and even with ourselves;
So . . . touch gloves and let’s have a good, clean, Truthful, Joyous, Loving and fun match.
And may the THOUGHTS that lead to SALVATION . . .
This post begins with OVERCOMING FEAR: THE COURAGE TO BECOME A HERO (PART 1)
We all want and need heroes. And we can all become heroes. But JFK was certainly correct when he advised of would be heroes: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
But if you know your purpose and Live with direction, courage is often nothing more than the power and testicular fortitude to say “No.” J. K. Rowling hit it right on the mark with: “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” – J.K. Rowling
Sometimes it takes a great deal more courage to stand opposed to our friends. And sometimes that is what a Real Man is called upon to do.
And the rewards are incredible. According to Morihei Ueshiba: “Loyalty and devotion lead to bravery. Bravery leads to the spirit of self-sacrifice. The spirit of self-sacrifice creates trust in the power of Love.”
No matter what, though, we have One Friend we need never stand up to, we have One Friendship that will always be completely in our corner, and fully backing us.
And NOT just when we ‘are good.’ When we fail. When we fail miserably. When we sin in the worst and most despicable way. When our friends desert us and our problems appear insurmountable. When everything in our world seems dark, and when all other lights seem to have failed.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 NAS
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 NAS
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
Haile Selassie said, “We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.”
The prophet, Isaiah, offers this on courage: ‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.’ – Isaiah 41:10 NLT
There is no higher praise a man can receive than being labeled courageous. There is no moniker evidencing greater disdain than calling a man a “coward.” In most tribal cultures courage, for men at least, courage is the only characteristic measured in determining one’s place in society.
A man who possesses an abundance of courage will be forgiven a host of other shortcomings, but it is difficult to appreciate any other quality in a man who lacks courage.
“Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”, as Maya Angelou astutely penned.
“Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency” – Maya Angelou
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10 NIV
According to Winston Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Indeed, courage is multi-faceted in the way it manifests itself. It can be seen in one who faces death or destruction bravely. It is witnessed in the character of one who is unwilling to sway her opinion in the face of peer pressure or government or religious coercion. It may be seen in the soldier charging a machine gun nest to save his buddies, but is no less valid when it is a man deciding to become the unshakable emotional fortress for his family — when life becomes complicated and troubles abound at home.
I do not know if it is only where I live, but it often seems like Christians focus on blindly following rules. Interestingly, we know better. When the question is asked at Church, ‘How are we saved?,’ no one at my Church answers, “following commandments.” So we intellectually understand that rule following is not what it means to be a Christian.
So why do we focus on rules so often? Why do we make doing or not doing things one of the most important aspects of our Christian walk?
I am not saying that no lying, no swearing, no tattoos, no stealing, no smoking and the all-important supreme focus of the Christian’s life: no sex of any kind outside of marriage (and seemingly only controlled, conservative, and minimally-pleasurable sex within), are terrible ways to live life.
Well, actually, I might take issue with them if they are not . . . uh . . . strictly Biblical…but that may have to wait for a future post.
But the important question is: Why do we do this? Does any of this “no fun” behavior help us to be Saved? Or does it just confirm Lucifer’s first rebellious accusation against God: That He is a tyrannical dictator who just makes rules without the consent of His governed . . .
Am I wrong in thinking that if we just follow rules without knowing why or under what circumstances we should or should not follow those rules — than we should call ourselves “Church-ians” rather than “Christ-ians” ?
Really. Do these behaviors, these “thou shalt nots” make us better Christ-ians?
If so, then I assume that every single Girl- and Boy-Scout is a shoe-in for Heaven, right?
Does the Bible ever indicate that any of these things we refrain from has the power to save us?
Does refraining from them somehow make us better Christians?
How about better people?
Or have we forgotten what the first six letters in the word “Christ-ian” actually stand for. I mean, if we embraced the name we seem to devote much of our focus to, our name may become the slightly more unwieldy: “I-don’t-do-that-ian” or “I-don’t-enjoy-sex-ian” or “No-tats-under-my-shirt-ian”.
It seems that we follow these ‘rules’ that God may-or-may-not-have-established but have no reason to do so except all our fellow Christians do so.
Which makes me wonder: If everybody else decided to reject and jump off the “Salvation Bridge” or the “Salvation Cliff” . . . would you?
I would Love to hear your thoughts.
From my heart to yours,
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’” – Matthew 19:16 NIV
When I read about the “rich young ruler” from Matthew 19, I sometimes get sucked into the things about him that make him likeable. This man has the world by the tail. He is young and already “made it.” He is rich and has power and authority. You get the sense that his presence and poise are off the chart. He certainly has been taught the best manners, is charismatic and has a great outlook on Life.
You might say he has a dream life. He is the guy that every man wants to be.
And he is the guy that gets any lady he desires.
He is the alpha male.
I find myself wishing I had that guy’s life.
Or, maybe, wishing I had the house on the corner when I drive through Beverly Hills. Or had more money. Or was more important. Or was better educated. Or better athletic abilities. Or . . . well, the list goes on for quite awhile . . .
But notice the question he asks Jesus in Matthew 19:16: ‘What good deed can I do to ensure I go to Heaven?’
Did he really ask what “good” thing can he do? Is that what going to Heaven is about? Do we forget so easily that Being Saved is about Who We Are more than What We Do. And even Who We Are counts very little compared to Who Came To Save Us!
Yes, I know. In your House of Worship . . .and in mine, too – we give lip service to “grace” or “God’s Love” or “the Plan of Redemption.” And yet, it doesn’t take very long to hear a conversation where we have again forgotten that God has better things to do than walk around like a despised foreman with a clipboard: Always on the lookout for someone who is not doing their job properly.
God doesn’t send out his Angelic task force to take notes every time we screw up. He doesn’t stay up late at night to ensure He sees when we decide shalt-ing is more fun, even when we know we should be ‘thou shalt not-ing.”
I often mess this up in reverse, too. I tend to become so very pleased with myself when I do something great – or even mildly good.
And, of course, somewhere on the inside I am just sure that their must be loud celebratory trumpet fanfares in Heaven denoting my good work. On the inside I smile smugly because I know that God has been watching . . . and God must think I am all that and a bag of honoring-you-parents-while-not-taking-God’s-name-in-vain right about now.
Until, that is, I remember that if I gave a million dollars to church while saving an animal and an elderly lady and doing this while reciting a memory verse – and not bearing false witness or coveting . . . well, God can and does much greater things all the time. He is NOT impressed.
Nope, not even a tiny bit.
Something about my Righteousness and filthy rags I sometimes hear in a small whisper.
Fortunately, that whisper is usually drowned out by that Trumpet Fanfare that is crescendo-ing right now! Yay me!
No. God is not the Big Scorekeeper in the sky. We are going to screw up – and He yearns to have us ask forgiveness as soon as we are able. But not for His ego. So that we can be rid of the shame of our mistake and go back to living a great life! And sometimes we are going to do something fantastic. But this does not merit an entry on the imagined scorecard God keeps for all humans.
God Loves us so much! What He really cares about is who we are and who we are becoming. It is why we face challenges and why we must confront the things we fear. If we don’t, we will always be stuck in our comfort zone and we never become all we can truly be.
God knows this. It is why he allows us to face Life’s difficulties.
Oh, back to the enviable young man that spoke to Jesus in Matthew 19.
Did you notice how Jesus responds to him?
Jesus does not call him out for his sins. He doesn’t put him down. Jesus doesn’t write a blog posts with trumpet references.
At the same time, He does not shower him with affection or praise, either. See, God is not into either one. He doesn’t pile on the guilt when we screw things up, nor does He lavish the praises when we get it right. God does what he always does: suggests ways we can improve and be a little bit better today than we were yesterday.
Jesus pointed something out to this man that he could not do. Perhaps he was not quite as ‘good’ as he had thought himself.
Or, perhaps he was. I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that as long as we are alive, we can get better. There is always more to learn, more to experience, more to reflect upon, more ways to build up our character and become more like Jesus. More ways to help those around us. More ways to Trust. More ways to Love. More ways to live our lives with Respect for everybody. More to learn about living in Peace and Joy.
At the end of the day, it is not our ‘stuff’ that makes us happy. Ask any rich person and they will confirm that. What makes us happy is who we are and who we are becoming. Period. In fact, most people who are rich got that way by passionately pursuing something that they Love…and the riches were a by-product of that passion.
The only thing we take with us to Heaven is our character. More than that, it is the sole indicator of whether we will be happy or miserable, industrious or lazy, rich or poor.
As the late, great, Jim Rohn might say:
“Don’t wish it was easier; wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems; wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”
“I used to say, “I sure hope things will change.” Then I learned that the only way things are going to change for me is when I change.”
“If you don’t like how things are, change it! If you don’t like your circumstances, change them! If you don’t like your address, move. You’re not a tree.“
From my heart to yours,
How does a prefix change the root word? Every English student must learn this lesson. Webster’s dictionary defines the “re” prefix in several ways. One being, as once more; afresh; or anew: reaccustom or reactivate. Another definition is ‘return to a previous state’ or restore
The Israelites had spent hundreds of years as slaves in Egypt. It was a vicious period of living in survival mode filled with decades of forgotten dreams and crushed hopes. It is not difficult to imagine that in their oppression and God’s apparent forsaking of them, they may have picked up new ideas about the true character and nature of God. After all, based on circumstantial evidence, believing in polytheism rather than in a one true God seemed to be working out alright for the Egyptians.
If we are honest with ourselves, even in times of prosperity it can be difficult to remember who God truly is, because it is almost intuitive to think that blessings are a response of proper actions. But how much more difficult is it to trust in God’s goodness when Life has been very traumatic, and it appears that our cries for help have fallen on deaf ears?
Sometimes we need to be reaquainted with the true heart of God when life becomes very dark.
When God does begin to move and answer the Israelites pleas for deliverance, He reveals Himself as one with complete dominance over their enemies. Yahweh literally uses ten plagues to defy and dismantle all of the Egyptian’s beliefs in the natural world while revealing the way he provides for His people.
For example, the Egyptians supreme deity was Ra, the Sun God.
(21) Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” (22) So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. (23) No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
The Bible is pretty clear that we will have trouble. But thanks to God, we never have to live without light in the places where darkness can be tangibly felt.
Zech 9:12 “Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope, and I will restore twice as much to you.”
That is the power of the prefix “re”. God “re-wrote” my story through Jesus. For most of my adult Life, I did not have an interest in a personal relationship with Jesus. . . but my God of Love had other plans! And God always gets what He wants – just ask Jonah’s whale or Balaam’s Donkey.
I encourage you to develop a habit that would forever change my life. I decided to read about the Life of Jesus for an hour each day. I began and before long it became a habit. I was becoming “reborn” in more ways than one. It was during this time of personal renewal that I became a Christian – instead of merely a member of my religion – a “Churchian,” you might say. I discovered a Love that I never knew before.
And I came to believe, as the apostle John wrote, that God is Love.
Now that is “Rewarding”! I hope that you will spend a few minutes each day reading the first four books of the New Testament. It will change your Life!