At the beginning of this series I posed the concept of “One:” doing one thing with focus—starting with any one thing to get motivated and going, but eventually determining the most important thing to do in a day, even seeking God’s special guidance by asking something like, “What one thing would You have me do today?”

A video I’ve referred to talks about an individual’s “Most Important Task,” and urges, “Say no to everything that doesn’t support your immediate goals.”

But immediate goals, like “the next ‘one’ thing” or “Most Important Task,” if valid and worth pursuing, should arise from core goals, heart goals, life goals, shouldn’t they?

So could it be that those of us who find ourselves “wasting time” are doing so because we haven’t quite pinpointed our personal purpose, right now, on this planet? Or, if we did have a pretty good idea at one time, did someone or something, or numerous circumstances, knock us off our course?

Success is so often displayed as acquired wealth or fame. But I doubt anyone reading this blog is aiming to be a multi-billion-dollar entrepreneur, sports super star, or US President. (Although some who visit here may wistfully dream of fame as author or artist…)

How do (or would) you define success—personally, I mean in terms of your own life situation and personal life goals? Think about this for a while today:

At what do you as an individual want to be successful, in what area of life? By the time you reach life’s end, what do you hope to have achieved?

Or, what is the most important aim for the particular phase of life you’re now living?

What you want to be successful at right now might not be the same as what it was ten or twenty years ago, or what it will be ten or twenty years from now. Once, perhaps you were a student and your idea of success might have been graduating magna cum laude (or just graduating at all!), or winning some prestigious academic award (or, just finding your niche in business, service, or one of the arts). Later, married and with children, your concept of success might revolve around your parental or marital role, being the best parent or spouse you can be, for instance.

Then there are the areas where your interests and creative talents might lie. Maybe you’ve recently taken on a new aspiration of that sort. You write or paint or sculpt or weave now and hope to get published, or establish yourself as a viable entity in your art or craft. Maybe you’ve started a business or are pursuing a ministry—or long to do one of those things—and your thoughts of success revolve around that. Or perhaps your aspirations have become more spiritual, and your longing for close communion and walk with God makes other aspirations fade, except as how they fit into that large desire…

You get the idea.

Or do you?

Do I?

If  you, like I, are not out to make millions or be known to millions, perhaps you’ve never really defined what success would look like for you. “Life” can demand so much in itself that you may have been spending most of it dealing with crises and others’ needs and demands, on even a willy-nilly basis, maybe just trying to keep your head above water financially or  emotionally, so that you’ve never really developed and defined any personal life goals. Maybe you’ve had your occasional whimsical day dreams, but not a pointed personal pursuit.

If so, how does the saying go? “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”?

What’s your aim in life? What, for you, would be personally satisfying “success”?

Does it involve money? Be honest here. Where might money be a crucial factor—or seem to be?

Does it involve fame?

Does it involve creative expression?

Does it involve attaining a certain level of faith and spirituality?

Think about these things, and come back tomorrow, possibly with a definite springboard to spring off of, and we’ll pursue our pursuits further, and maybe with clearer direction.


For a set of links to all the other posts in this “Meandering Forward” series, go to this page, which will be updated daily as new posts appear in the blog content.

4 thoughts on “What Does Success Look Like for You?

  1. You have me thinking. Life’s demands…food on the table….firewood gathered….bills paid… health needs……other people’s needs….crisis management…. Survival is often success, especially in what we call third world countries and increasingly here as I listen to co-workers who put in 40+ hours a week and still qualify for food stamps and heating assistance. Other end of the spectrum I have a cousin who by her facebook posts, lived “the good life” East Coast, jetting to Colorado skiing, pictures of her kids swimming off their yacht…but recently divorced. None of that is the abundant life that God has for us. He wants us to live above the circumstances.
    I have been a goal setter. Met many of those goals over the years, but also felt like I was too often putting out fires, doing the next thing without consideration of meeting goals. I am thankful to live in a country where we can realistically aspire to do more than that. Searching for clarity and direction for the next season.

    1. Yes. “Survival is often success”! We who have the leisure to explore other avenues might not realize that truth and see how heroic some people’s survival has been. Good thoughts, Laurie.

  2. “Life can demand so much in itself that you may have been spending most of it dealing with crises and others’ needs and demands. . .”
    This is how I felt so much of the time during our homeschooling years. Between curriculum, co-op days, sports, scouts, church, . . .it often seemed we were barely keeping our heads above water.
    Now, as we give care to our aging mothers, we’ve noticed how things come into perspective again, much like they did after each birth. A elderly person or a newborn operate on a slower speed. This helps one slow down and reminds one of what is most important: loving each other.

  3. Lovely thoughts, Katie. See next post for a slow-down I had all ready to post when I read this!

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