Thursday, August 28, 2008

Success Through One Man's Eyes - Part VII

Peace be with you!
In my quest for a distinct acronym for success I came across a series of definitions which I hadn't mentally connected with the word before. This intrigued me for some reason and caused me to think about the origin and application of the word representing the first "s" in success. Before I tell you what that word is let me see if these definitions strike you the same way.

(The Sea of Galilee)

Whole, pure, genuine; the word I'm using also describes one free from adulteration according to Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. During periods of limited vocabulary usage I would not ordinarily associate wholeness, purity and genuineness with success. Not that it can't be, it's just that my conditioning (please go easy on me for being brutally honest here) about success has often been focused more on concrete and demonstrable character qualities like intelligence and strength. Perhaps even qualities that are visible like beauty, though in the eye of the beholder, have caught not only my fancy but that of Wall Street as a means of describing many forms of success.

So what "s" word being free from adulteration - whole, pure and genuine can I stretch as an indicator of success? Okay, you can look it up now if you want or you can just read on! I am referring to the act of being "Sincere."

So how does being whole, pure and genuine, in short sincere, lead to or help define success? Beyond the obvious answers there is also my not so obvious and perhaps abstract conclusion. Granted, this opinion is but one perspective and thus in reality carries weight with only me and of course I must use the frequent disclaimer is "subject to change" when better information is uncovered. (Just trying to be Honest, Sincere, and Real! Naturally I'm reminded that there really is no new information so what will change?)

In my opinion it doesn't matter what your definition of success is if you apply an attitude of wholeheartedness. Giving your whole heart is not an easy task beyond the lip service. Dedicating yourself to something or someone is incredibly important and often extremely difficult, more so if your heart is not pure but torn or divided. I cannot tell you how many times I tried to accomplish or achieve something only to fail because I hadn't committed my whole heart to the task of person. This is not about multi-tasking this is about surrendering the doubts, the selfish desires or any other obstacle which precludes us from giving something our all. More often than not these obstacles are internally generated not external. Wholehearted surrender to limitless thinking and acting will overcome virtually any obstacle, self induced or otherwise. Even failure is is a form of success when you offer your whole heart because you will have gained valuable experience that only goes unpaid when you quit! I guarantee it!

Purity and genuineness are synonymous with wholeness as they describe a character that is unfettered by the outside world. There is a gravitational pull towards people how are pure and genuine, even when they make mistakes, and they do if they're really human. Pure and genuine people will say, "forgive me, I was wrong." They somehow know instinctively that they don't have to be right all the time in order to be exactly who they are. They have examined themselves sufficiently to reveal an inner knowing that transcends all the obstacles of life.

Sincerity is unadulterated joy and peace with yourself. It says I don't have to be anything or anyone other than who I was created to be to be successful, however I define it. I just have to be me. It's not all about me either. The wholehearted, pure and genuine people of this world look for the best in others. They hold fast to seeing love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in others as well as themselves.

Sincerity is a step in the ladder of success because it is powerful enough to withstand the winds of change and flexible enough to flow with it when necessary. Sincerity leads to success because love is its motive.

Peace be with you my friends.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Success Through One Man's Eyes - Part VI

Everyone and their mother watched as Michael Phelps became arguably the greatest Olympic athlete in history. I guess you could call that success. Most of us stood in awe of his accomplishments - winning 8 Gold medals in swimming, and breaking Olympic records in the process. By itself, that's enough for most of us. But, there is more!

I wanted to write about principles that are relevant to todays young men and how they can measure success. In my acronym for success I intended to use the "e" to denote excellence. As worthy a goal as seeking excellence is Michael Phelps' achievements reminded me of two other "e's" that are every bit as important and relevant today. They are endurance and enthusiasm.

Did Michael Phelps demonstrate excellence in the pool? You bet! Were his skills superior to anyone in China that week? Oh - my - Gosh, yeah Howdy! But, what struck me more than his incredible, unbelievable. almost inconceivable quest to surpass Mark Spitz's seven Olympic Gold Medals was the way in which he accomplished his amazing feat.

Where do I start? Honoring his mother with each glance and recognition of her contribution to his life; sharing his moments of glory with his sisters; acknowledging with enormous humility the contribution of his teammates (all world class athletes in their own right) and demonstrating an image that could be emulated by every young man with complete and utter confidence of acceptance. Wow! How important a contribution is that?

But, there's more! What struck me the most was his enthusiasm and endurance. His enthusiasm for living in the moment; not only of the 2008 Olympic games, but in the years of competition and training that led up to his spectacular achievements in China. Michael Phelps remained focused and present in each event, not with an eye on the future but enthusiastically executing each small victory up the ladder to the Gold Medal podium. This is the message of his victory. True excellence in any endeavor can only truly be accomplished by remaining present in each very special moment of life.

There's still more! Although he remained present in each event, this presence was the culmination of many years of enduring the practices, the competitions, the exhausting rigors of Olympic and world class caliber training regimens that would destroy most of us. Is he gifted? Absolutely! But he also endured for a very long stretch of time. He got up for the game every day, focused on the moment knowing only that he would compete that day or in the next event, if he was healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. He endured by choice; by deciding to do so. That is an attitude worthy of emulation. Frankly, many athletes and professionals in other areas of life enjoy the same perspective. This is just Michael's time in the spotlight.

One last thought, if I may? This is also just one man in the limelight. There are thousands of people in various vocations and avocations that demonstrate similar attitudes. Thank God, though all too often unnoticed, they are present in their teaching or police work or management or gardening or you name it. They too, have that special or spectacular Gold Medal something which they enthusiastically demonstrate in an enduring way.

The reality is that you too, possess an ability equally worthy of emulation, duplication or respect. The question is will you be present each moment of the day? Will you submit your will humbly and subordinate yourself to a cause bigger than you are in order to accomplish your goal.
I believe Michael Phelps did; and we all gained something special from it.