EVERYBODY wants to succeed—that is almost everybody. There are a few who are content with mediocrity and failure. But what is success? By what standards shall we measure our labors and judge our endeavors? Is one eminently successful if his name heads the list of total deliveries or maximum hours? Not necessarily. Is it success to do a little better than we did last year? I think not. How then shall we measure success?
Success is not determined by a set of fixed standards. Many factors are involved. There is the question of one's ability. Talents have not been uniformly distributed. There is the question of one's health and the circumstances inherent in the situations where one labors. Then, too, the effects of our labors are not always immediately in evidence. It is in "due season we shall reap if we faint not."
For myself I have formulated a definition of success that has brought to me a restfulness that is indescribably precious. It takes me completely out of competition with my contemporaries. I am in no rat race with someone else. Here it is:
"Success is to function at a maximum of one's ability."
Stated negatively: "No person is truly successful who is content to do one whit less than he is capable of doing." It would appear that this definition of mine is supported by divine counsel. Note: "We shall individually be held responsible for doing one jot less than we have ability to do. The Lord measures with exactness every possibility for service. The unused capabilities are as much brought into account as are those that are improved. For all that we might become through the right use of our talents God holds us responsible."—Christ's Object Lessons, p. 363.
How can this personalized philosophy of success be made to function in our everyday situations? Five vital factors are definitely involved. Let me list them:
2. A recognition that there are no limits to God's ability or willingness. "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). Some time ago circumstances compelled me to the formulation of this motto: "You will never know the resources of Christ until you attempt the impossible."
4. The disposition to reach for and to make ever larger plans for the extention of God's work (John 4:35). It is a world task that challenges the workers of God. We are told: "You are entertaining too limited ideas of the work for this time. You are trying to plan the work so that you can embrace it in your arms. You must take broader views."---Life Sketches, p. 208.
The above five factors, properly combined, make possible the functioning of our philosophy of success. This is partnership with God—not competition with fellow workers.