For some reason a number of my friends recently have expressed feelings of failure. I can’t talk. Currently unemployed, I have watched friends and members of my family forge successful careers in their chosen field of study while I, with yet another birthday rapidly approaching to creep me ever closer to another significant number, am still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.
What is it about a society that measures success only in terms of wealth, career, qualifications or sporting prowess? When a footballer is paid more to play one game of football than a senior high school teacher makes in a year, you know something has gone terribly wrong.
So, you may be surviving on a low income, searching for challenging and meaningful employment, struggling to complete a PhD or to stay fit. Does that make you a failure? I don’t think so.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had a positive impact on someone’s life? I don’t mean saving someone from a house fire or donating a kidney. Have you held someone’s hand and listened while they grieved? Have you slipped a couple of dollars to the frazzled single mother at the supermarket checkout? Have you told someone “I believe in you” or smiled at a stranger in the street?
I bet you have.
True success in life is about making a positive difference to our world. No matter how small the act, no matter the number affected – one or one thousand – when you improve the life of another, your life has meaning and purpose far beyond the superficial judgements of an avaricious society. Success is yours.
“Give us days to be filled with small rebellions – senseless, brutal acts of kindness from us all.”
– Jars of Clay, The Shelter