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  • Writer's pictureSt George’s Church, Wilton

Thought For Today: ‘Are you on a collision course with fame, fortune and greatness?’

Like many keen readers I tend to download books onto a Kindle or Tablet. Even my daily reading of the bible is done online, (coffee in one hand, computer mouse in the other hand - which is why I avoid putting both hands together to pray).But, one of the things I’m enjoying, during this present suspension of normal daily routine, is reading a ‘real’ book.

Nothing quite compares to the feel of paper or the flicking over of a page. So, I’ve embarked on a hardback edition of ‘The Great British Dream Factory’. Sub-titled, ‘The Strange History of our National Imagination,’ this book is a serious but entertaining sociological study of life and culture in England. Pop music, cinema, politics, the Miner’s Strike, our shopping and leisure activities; they all provide a simple backdrop for a complex study of who we are and what we value.

As I am making my way through this excellent 650 page tome I am struck by the numbers of references or allusions to success, (or as often as not the lack of it). This immediately reminds me of a classic Business Management book I read several years ago, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people’. For 25 years Stephen Covey’s book is said to have helped millions from all walks of life to lead successful and satisfying lives. Although it is a book I enjoyed, and occasionally still dip back into, I have struggled with the definition it gives of ‘successes. A definition that by default aligns or equates success with achievement.

A similar book, though I haven’t personally read is, ‘How to Be a Huge Success’. It comprises of motivational quotes and tips from a variety of well-known ‘successful’ people. The back cover asks, ‘Are you on a collision course with fame, fortune or greatness?’

Are you on a collision course with fame, fortune or greatness?’ -this is so often how ‘success’ is perceived in our society. Whilst a lot can be learned from other people’s lives and experiences, and whilst it may be productive to cultivate and emulate some of their practical examples, I’m not convinced that success can be measured by what you achieve, what you earn, or how well known you are.

To my mind success is a matter of being you, of being the person you were always intended to be and being comfortable in your own skin. Success is about living in your full personal potential, a potential that isn’t measured by or compared to someone else. Success can’t simply be measured by your education, your employment, your skills, your looks, or your possessions. It is about you being you. It is about you being loved and you loving others; it is about what you give rather than what you acquire. It is also about indwelling the truth that you are totally loved by God for who you are, not for who you might one day become.

So, when it comes to the subject of success, then perhaps the values that I prefer to measure it by may significantly differ from the values the plethora of motivational achievement books measure it by. But to quote one very successful scientist,"Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value." Albert Einstein

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