We don’t have to look very hard as we go through our days to find people who are struggling to find success. Some just want to get by and have their basic needs met, I’m not talking about those people. According to Solomon, these are the oppressed. They are oppressed by some system (either a government, institution, family, or their own thinking). If they change the influence of these circumstance, then they will be able to thrive.
What I want to focus on are all those people who are striving hard after big goals. These are the people who work extremely hard, take the extra shift, put in the extra time, and sacrifice just about anyone and anything to make it. What is usually behind this undying devotion to success? Is it not often vanity? Isn’t it a sense of pride that sees oneself as slightly better, or gifted, or having more potential than others. It’s that part of ourselves that is convinced that we deserve more.
Have you ever noticed that obtaining success is never the end point? In fact, most who have reached very large goals will tell you that staying on top is far harder than the journey to get on top.
King Solomon is credited as being the wisest man who ever lived. He said that there is an evil that lies heavy on mankind. This “evil” or “trouble” is for a person to have wealth, possessions, and honor (basically everything for which we could ever ask), but lack the power to enjoy them. (Ecclesiastes 6:1-3)
I would like to point out the wisdom that Solomon is illuminating for us is very appropriate for our modern culture. If you are not careful, you will set your mind on a set of rails that only go in one direction. Yes, the guru’s are correct, if we set our mind on something and put in the time and work extremely hard, we will rise up under a tremendous amount of personal steam. But the mind that is set on these rails is a mind that will never possess satisfaction or peace. In fact, the power of this trait which is so celebrated in our culture brings with it a very deep sink hole, the lack of power to enjoy the success one has.
It doesn’t need to be this way. However, the only correction is to learn the skill of enjoying what we have. This means we must survey all of our life and learn how to be grateful and celebrate what we presently have, our present lot or position, and our present status, even while we are pursuing more.
It’s a subtle nuance that if missed, we will forever be on a treadmill and despite all we gain, we will possess nothing. The secret is found in the spiritual development of gratitude, humility, and service.
- Gratitude: Being thankful for where we are is highly empowering. It doesn’t mean settling, but appreciating your journey. It is like enjoying the view while we climb the mountain, rather than waiting only till we get to the top. Thankfulness requires a subject and an object. We are thankful to something, for something. This is where honest reflection and contemplation will bubble to the surface that our present success is not based solely on us, but on countless others around us. Once we see others as integral to our success, we can now possess something that otherwise is impossible. Go deeper here, until you recognize the underlying force that is the impetus for all your change and effort. God is in this space.
- Humility: Once we see God and others as vital to our present success, we create a feedback loop with gratitude. This is the antidote to the fear of failure and the anxiety that drives some people toward success. Humility alters our deepest motives. It is no wonder that scripture says God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Humility will allow us to rest. It says we have done enough for today and it allows us to shed the identity that comes from our pursuits and find an identity with others. This keeps us from looking down on others. It allows us to see ourselves in others and this is key to our enjoyment of life. A life shared, is a life enjoyed.
- Service: Gratitude and Humility are profoundly spiritual gifts that transform a heart, mind and life. Once we begin the process of promoting others, we align our life on the true rails of success. If our rising up comes at the cost of others, then we will never have the power to enjoy anything. If our rising up comes along with our ability to bring others with us, then it is a shared success and enjoyment is the byproduct.
I’m so privileged to have been coached by people who truly believe in building others up as the means to obtaining our goals. I see a generation of young entrepreneurs who truly get this. The Experts Academy (which I am a part) is one of Brendon Burchard’s coaching communities. Robin Sharma is another coach along with countless pastors, professors, and friends. All of these people (some at the pinnacle of success) all share a servant leadership philosophy.
Servant leadership is the ability to influence others, not by title, but by a heartfelt love of others and our craft. Jesus typified it, then he taught 12 people, and that changed the world. It is the only path to success.
If we would enjoy our success, we must start today and enjoy the success we possess today. Don’t defer this process or we will derail our life. Then lets ask ourselves, how can we take our present level of success and help empower another. If we learn how to flex that muscle, not only will we be as successful as we can be, but we will enjoy everyday in that journey.
And that is a life worth living.