Who Defines Success

Who Defines Success? - Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.

The word is as slippery and slithery as a wet fish, and means different things to different people. Our personal values are shaped by our family and society. And in that moulding process there is a range of influences. Western societies have high socio-economic values, and the closer you conform to these and acquire a high-status job, a lovely home, a family, cars and yachts, a second home by the lake, and whatever other trappings, then we're beginning to reach success! (Or are we?) Your peers will congratulate you on having reached a pass mark in this mysterious entity - success.
Who defines the definitions? 

So, who defined "success" for you? Was it created by the high expectations of your background that were positively reinforced by your circle of family and friends, and some of the influences of your education that became a part of you, without a whole lot of critical analysis on your part? Did you merely soak up these values from your earliest years and express them as you worked to realise them? There's a good chance that you did, because I reckon that's how most of us are socially conditioned as children and young people growing up in our world.
We are like sponges with high soak rates that keep on absorbing the atmosphere of ideas and values; in fact just about everything in which we were submerged that touched and shaped us. Does this happen uncritically? Yes and no - some stuff we perhaps wonder about as questionable, and then reject. But a lot of stuff seems to permeate us uncritically and becomes a part of us.
Life is lived 

Would you accept that success is also closely related to life? If we feel alive, in tune with our world and not racked by a sense of failure, guilt or ruined relationships, with a reasonably positive self-image we may feel a wholesome sort of success, even if we never attain celebrity status!
On this reckoning, "success" appears to include a measure of acquisition beyond merely material things obtained by hard earned cash. A lot of it seems related to our sense of personal wholeness and well-being. Did I have to work for this, or was it given by the Giver of all good gifts?
Look, I realise, that if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is success! But does that mean we're trapped in never-ending uncertainty? By no means! I also accept that each individual is entitled to their own views and definition of success, even though, as we have seen, a lot of the stuff that surrounds us rubs off, and a fair bit of it soaks in beyond skin deep.
Beyond the surface 

At a deeper level that we ought never to overlook I believe that "success" relates to reaching and accomplishing our ultimate goals. For, myself, these include turning from my self as the centre of the universe, and putting personal trust in Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross to receive the free gift of salvation. It means giving my life to him who gave his all for me. It includes searching God's word, delighting to get to know God through prayer, worship and fellowship with other Christians, as I seek to serve others and find out more of God's will for my life. Ultimately "success" is not related to how successfully I was shaped by my society, the amount of material objects I may acquire or to elevated social attainment, but as I walk with God through the wilderness of this quickly passing and very illusory world.
Long ago, young Joshua was told how to be successful, and it had a lot to do with finding God's will for his life by meditating on God's word. Then, in spite of huge challenges and obstacles, Joshua would not be alarmed or discouraged, 'for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go' (Old Testament, Joshua 1:9). Now that really is success - never earned, always received by faith, day in day out, through hardship, trials and opposition - the Lord being with his treasured, redeemed people! That's a better definition than one merely shaped by society.
Michael J. S. Austin's books and articles offer serious discussions and answer s for life's big questions -  'How do I know which is true - Theism or Atheism?' 'Is biblical Christianity finished, or does it still speak to the 21st century?' My title, 'DAWKINS' DILEMMAS' answers, 'will Richard Dawkins' atheism grip millions, fade or stir lingering doubts?' and shows how Dawkins' atheism works hard to shut its eyes to the glory of God revealed in creation, conscience & supremely in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Find out how biblical Christianity uncovers Dawkins' dilemmas and why atheism lacks rational foundations. My second title, 'LOST RELATION - finding humanity and God' is a serious discussion on how the evolutionary beliefs of Charles Darwin undermine the validity of human reason to the point where, if Darwin was right, you would never know! He says as much himself when he admits to a loss of clear basis for his own thinking, if it's only come from monkeys - read to find out more about Darwin's greatest discovery! Check my books on Amazon and other main bookselling websites - & BUY TODAY! Personal email for book enquiries and brief discussions about published articles: mdaustin@iolfree.ie Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D.  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5052897