Success

When you visualize a successful person, who do you look at? The Wall Street tycoon? The Olympic athlete? The famous actor or actress?

What impresses me about the word success are the many interpretations that allow this word to achieve such a broad meaning. Definitions spring up from a plethora of opinions constructed by unique cultures and environments. Many seem to think it is defined by a level of status, wealth, fame, or comfort.

In my life, on occasion, I am drawn towards these broad definitions, and as I observe much of the media today, success may have the appearance of requiring minimal effort to obtain. “Buy this product and you’ll be a step closer to a happy life”, or “join our organization and you can reach your goals” are just some of the hooks out there vying for our attention.

Success may seem like a short and direct avenue with reward in sight, though once you actually decide to take the path towards accomplishment, the once spacious trail narrows, roots suddenly appear to obstruct the way, and success assumes an evasive nature.

As I’ve learned from my Christian perspective, the definition of success is really quite counter cultural. Success, by most standards is not easy to obtain, and without luck takes substantial effort. To climb the mountain you must train, to get that dream job you need to put in the time and effort to be competitive. To be satisfied in life, many times you need to show humility and defy our self promoting culture.

What defines success to you?

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My buddy Jordan deciding to take the left path on our way back from a camping trip.

 

Perspective

I recently returned from a two-week road trip with my good pal Seth Newby. Near the end of our journey we had the  opportunity to bike past Fisherman’s Wharf and check out the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This structure is spectacular to behold, reaching a maximum height of nearly 750 feet. Two main supporting cables are each composed of 27,572 intertwining wires that if stretched out to one continuous distance could wrap around the earth… three times. The main towers pose as sentinels that require the submission of each passing freight intending to enter the bay. From a distance this is a quite a spectacle, but when you’re actually on the bridge, vertigo kicks in and you realize how big it really is.

Perspective
Seth looking up at one of the gigantic main pillars of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Being on the bridge gave me a whole new perspective on the bay as well as downtown San Francisco, and as we were cycling across, the two pillars obscured much of the surrounding view. This made me realize that life is really molded by perspective. The closer in proximity you allow something to be in your life, the more of your outlook it influences. As with the Golden Gate Bridge, if you let something or someone become close enough to you, it will essentially begin to “tint” the lens through which you view the world.

Takeaway. What perspective, for better or worse, are the influences in your life bringing you?