Think of it this way . . .

We know, of course, that God is all-powerful and in complete control of all things. The exception to this is the fact that He has given us – because we’re – created in His image-the responsibility of controlling and disciplining ourselves to the extent of our ability. And He has given us that ability in this respect: if we recognize that He is the Master Controller, then we (if we’re wise) will seek and follow His instructions in this admittedly challenging endeavor in order to live a self-con-trolled/self-disciplined life; which will then be considered successful Ralph Waldo Emerson offers reflections on such success in these words:

How do you measure success?

to laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people

and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty;

To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child, a redeemed social condition,

or a job well-done;

To know even one other life has breathed

because you have lived –

This is to have succeeded.

Did you notice how Emerson didn’t once refer to success as being something we finally acquire, or something we have due to our DNA, or something we come to possess, or how he never mentions personal gain as a major point. No, he emphasizes a higher striving outside our selves. It’s according to what and how we give ourselves to others. Note the verbs he uses to describe how this success comes: to laugh, to earn, to appreciate, to endure, to give of self, and to have succeeded at this higher calling as a job well done.

– John D.

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