Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A Recipe for “Success”

Do you know what you really need? I’m not talking about material things. I mean, what do you need to make your life all you want it to be?

Author Stephen Covey says that people all share a few essential needs: the need to live, the need to love, the need to learn and the need to leave a legacy.

When he says we need to live, he is not talking about physical health. It’s certainly important to breathe, but in many ways it may be even more important to live a full and whole life. Indian mystic Osho says, “The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.” A question I ask myself is, “Am I just going through the motions or am I really living my life?” I don’t want to live on the outside while I'm dying, little by little, on the inside.

Covey also says we need to love. And I believe we also need to be loved. Both are important. I am coming to appreciate that my relationships with other people may be the most significant reason for either my happiness or my unhappiness throughout my life. Studies show that social connection is vital if we are to be happy.

Then Covey tells us that we need to learn. And learning does not stop once we leave school and enter the workforce. I don’t ever want to stop growing and, hopefully, improving. I want to be a life-long learner. There is so much to discover in the world; I am saddened I can only learn the smallest fraction of it in one lifetime.

Finally, we need to leave a legacy. It’s not about leaving money. I want my life to count for something, even if it seems small in comparison to some others. I truly appreciate this thought often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. It may be that he did not actually pen these words, but they are nevertheless wise and worth repeating.

 “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and 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 little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

How do you measure up? Are you living fully, loving completely, learning constantly and planning to leave a worthwhile legacy?

This is a recipe for “success” in the truest form of the word.

-- Steve Goodier

Image: flickr.com/EvaSwensen

No comments: