How Do You Measure Success?

Reva Lachica Moore

“I’ve been so depressed lately. I wonder what else is out there. What do I have to look forward to? I feel I’m not successful at all,” said my young friend Brad.

“Why would you say that? You’re successful in your business. Don’t you like what you do?” I countered.

When you hear the word SUCCESS, do you immediately picture someone amassing great wealth? How do you measure success? Everyone measures it differently. Some measure it by how much money they make. Some by the number of titles attached to their names. Some by the number of properties they own. Some by how well known they are, and so forth and so on.

It is normal to want to be the best and to achieve more than your peers. To many, reaching the top in one’s chosen profession or job is the usual standard by which success in life is measured. It’s a great feeling to be able to sit back and ponder on your life later and say, “Look at what I’ve accomplished and look at what I have.”

There’s nothing wrong with desiring to be the best in what you do. If our forefathers didn’t have dreams and the determination to accomplish, our country will not be what it is today.

Great dangers however come with wanting too much. Making plenty of money, wanting more fame, wanting the top position in anything can become an obsession. Creating wealth and loving money can cause anxiety due to the risks involved. The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Wealth gives power, which could corrupt a person to the point of taking advantage of others.

The stress and pressures of a job can become detrimental to one’s health and also affect one’s family life. When a successful entrepreneur or a career workaholic couldn’t find time for his wife and children – then his success becomes a failure.

Many years ago, my neighbor Jena knocked at my door. She looked distraught and exhausted. “Reva, I am divorcing Jim! He doesn’t have time for our children and me. He stays at his office 16 hours a day!  I’ve had enough!  I cannot take it anymore!” I didn’t know what to tell my neighbor. Two months later, Jena and her children left home.

When I started working after college, I, too, wanted to soar to the highest star – to be the best in my field and pursue graduate studies. But then my sons were born and my focus quickly changed. No more schooling. No more supervisory job. If I could go home with a good pay check to provide and care for my children, I’d be content. And I was quite content.

Parents normally want the best for their children. I tried my best to teach my children good manners, self-esteem, discipline, aspiration, appreciation, respect for people, et al. I wanted them to have the feeling of compassion for the less-fortunate and so I had to be their example. But best of all, I taught them appreciation, honor and love for God. In the end, it is not only what you’ve done for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that would measure yours and their success.

Before I hang up the phone, I said, “Brad, someday when you have a child of your own, your life will have more meaning. You will teach him to be a good, productive citizen and a God-loving person. And if you could make a difference in one person’s life and to many others, then you’ll feel you’re a great success. And besides, you’re forgetting something. Remember, we have HEAVEN to look forward to.” There were a few seconds of silence.

“You are right, Ms. Reva. I need to remember all of that.” Brad agreed with me.

The Bible in Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”


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