Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thoughts on Success and Measuring Up

I have this bad habit - this broken thing inside of me - that needs to "measure up".  I keep trying to reach some far-off standard of success, approval, perfection... (you could pick almost any word and insert it in here).  It drives nearly everything I do, and at the end of the day I often go to bed feeling somehow "less than"... because I didn't attain the goal (which doesn't actually exist, by the way).  It is a never-ending cycle of striving and feeling disappointed in myself.

I've been reading German authors lately (I go through phases in my reading).  Today I started on a Viktor Frankl book.  I didn't even get through the Preface before I read this:

"Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run - in the long run, I say! - success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it." - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Jesus said it like this:  "What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving.  Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." - Matthew 6:31-33, The Message

The trick is to get your heart to believe what your head already knows...

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

.....and what a trick that can be!! But it sure is beautiful when you catch little glimpses of it playing out!