Motivation and SuccessSometimes it is great for our souls to stop and examine our motives. After all, why are we living?

Many people very quickly measure life by four words: success, money, power and fame. Vince Lombardi, a great football coach, said, “Winning isn’t everything; winning is the only thing.” Along that same line, Leo Durocher, a famous baseball legend, said, “Nice guys finish last.”

What are our motives? What are we really seeking in life? What do we feel makes us successful?

I really believe that the major influence on my idea of success is my father’s life. I grew up as a little boy feeling that my father was the greatest man in the world. Through all the years, I have never had occasion to change that opinion.

Yet according to the world’s idea of “making it,” my father would not have been considered a huge success. He has never accumulated great wealth. He lived in a modest home. Faith and family were much more important to him than worldly success. He even steered away from situations that brought him any fame or notoriety. He doesn’t care what others think of him; he has his values and lives by them.

We need to remind ourselves that whatever we call success is really a pathway and not a final destination. Success is never the goal in life, but the way to reach the goal we have set for ourselves. Success is the opportunity to express our abilities fully, and what is success for one person may not at all be success for another. We need to take personal success out of the arena where we judge ourselves by other people’s lives and by what other people think.

There is a vast difference between success and self-destructive striving. Examine your life and ask yourself questions such as this one: Do you always feel in a hurry? There are a lot of people who feel they never have time for many of the things in life they want. They are reluctant to go on a vacation, to take an afternoon off, or to play a game of golf.

When you consider your motives and your expectations for success, remember these ten wonderful facts:

  1. It is unrealistic to believe that everyone is going to agree with us all the time, like us all the time, love us all the time. We should not expect it.
  2. It is unrealistic to believe that we can be successful in every venture and that we can be perfect in all we attempt to do or be. No one ever has been and no one ever will be.
  3. It is unrealistic to believe that there is any job, almost any task, that doesn’t have its frustrations, its discouragements, its disappointments. Some have more than others, but they are always there.
  4. It is unrealistic to believe there is any relationship in home, work or play that doesn’t have some tensions, some stress, and some differences. As long as we deal with people, we will deal with problems.
  5. It is unrealistic to believe there is any place, city, church, or neighborhood that is ideal, is completely free from problems, or does not need change or improvements. There is no such thing as utopia.
  6. It is unrealistic to believe that we will ever be completely free from feelings of guilt, doubt, inadequacy, anxiety or anger. They are part of being human. They need to be understood and controlled, but they are always present.
  7. It is unrealistic to feel that others should be blamed for all they say and do. All people have their own problems and tensions. Most people want to do better. If we understood people’s backgrounds, we would probably understand their behavior.
  8. It is unrealistic to feel we are entirely victims of fate or outside circumstances and that we have no control over what we think, feel or do.
  9. It is unrealistic to feel that we are the way we are, that we are conditioned by past experiences or environmental circumstances and therefore cannot change.
  10. It is unrealistic to feel that there is only one solution to any given situation or that things are catastrophic if we do not find a solution.