The word “success” can and has been defined in many different ways. The dictionary definition is:
1. obsolete : outcome, result
2 a : degree or measure of succeeding
b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
3. one that succeeds
Out of these definitions, the second one is the most accurate portrayal of the practical application of success.
The preeminent definition of success
In the Bible, the word “success” is only found once:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night; that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
– Joshua 1:8
The Bible connects success directly to the Word of God (“book of the law”) and what we do with it. It is not mentioned explicitly, but the implied first step is reading the Bible. Without reading it, you will have nothing to meditate on regarding it (step two). The third step is then implementing it (“observe to do”). The result is prosperity and success.
I do believe that money can be a part of success, but it is certainly not the main part. Any connection that money has to success is not the money itself, but rather what the money provides: freedom, peace of mind, etc.
Success and satisfaction
If success were merely achieving an outcome – reaching a goal – there is only momentary satisfaction followed by emptiness. Not only have I experienced this myself, but I have heard many others express this as well.
Recently, I heard Jeff Goins interviewing Michael Hyatt on his podcast, The Portfolio Life. They were discussing how to achieve goals that you set. Jeff talked about goals he had set a few years ago, including publishing a book, becoming self-employed, and making enough money for his wife to stay at home. He set a timeline of 10 years for these, but crushed it by accomplishing them in less than 2 years. On his first day of being self-employed, he had that empty, what-do-I-do-now feeling. He reached his goal and had nothing else to reach for (it wasn’t written or obvious to him, anyway).
If success is simply achieving your goals, then what happens afterwards? You set new, higher goals. And then you achieve those goals. And the cycle continues.
If you have to continue to set new goals after achieving old ones, is it considered a success? If so, does that make it a stopping point?
Not at all.
A person that achieves their goal and stops becomes known as a has-been.
Success is not a destination
At best, success may be compared to a pit stop. It’s not a place to stop and never continue. It’s a place to reflect on the trip so far and recalculate the next portion of the journey.
We also need to realize that we can’t get to the destination unless we go through these other stops along the way. If you are travelling across the country in your car, you likely will have to stop at least once to fill up with gas.
We all need these points to celebrate, relax, refuel, refocus, and get ourselves back on the road.
This is the point of this podcast. It’s not about the destination, even though the destination is important. It’s about the journey to that destination.