There are two kinds of success in life that we need to identify with if we are going to live unselfish rewarding lives. These are:
- The Intervening Successes: The kinds that are not enduring but fail the test of time even while serving us well for periods of years during our lives; for example:
Financial Success: A necessary pursuit because we need money to sustain careers and to support families. But a pursuit that fails the test of time because economies waver and are generally defined by factors outside our control; i.e.- 94 million Americans are unemployed at this time and 46 million live below the poverty line.
Career Success: Clearly a necessary pursuit but one that fails the test of time because successful careers are subject to the vagaries of mankind/governments/employers and they too often sacrifice family stability. Same national statistics mentioned above apply here.
Family Success: A pursuit with endless rewards, but that too often self-destructs as a 50+% national divorce rate confirms.
Social Success: Always comforting, but fails the test of time because friendships are fleeting and do not impact the core decisions we make in life.
Health Success: A necessary pursuit, but fails the test of time because consistent good health is always beyond one's control.
While the successes profiled above each fail the test of time, they all need to be pursued because each makes a measured contribution to an individual's successful passage through life.
- Continuing Success: The one enduring definition of success that I believe stands the test of time, that best serves mankind and which is essential to bringing a peaceful mindset to our declining years is "making a difference in other people's lives."
The persistent feature about this long-term concept of making a difference in others lives is that if we fail to do so -- we will regret it through our declining years -- a truly hellish position to place ourselves.
Evidence Of The Above
During my 30-plus years in golf it has become clear to me that about one-third of the several hundreds of men I have met have had that disappointing feeling late in life because - looking back - their lives have lacked sufficient meaning since they put their personal welfare ahead of the well being of their families and others.
Unfortunately, this often leads to the following heartbreaking consequences during their later years: depression, excessive drinking, womanizing and broken marriages that often lead to isolated deaths. I have seen it all.
One of the most widely accepted truisms on this subject is: "People who live deep fulfilling lives always caring for others will not only be comforted along the way but will not fear dying."
Take heed and remember... your children are watching.