Success is one thing that I find that we all aim towards in every transaction we engage in. Much as the definition of successful achievement may differ from one person to another, one thing that we all agree with is that the deafening applause at the end of a performance is a sure sign of success.
I have found that the passion to reach a dream is often the power that brings it alive and into success. Many times, while striving for success, it almost feels like when one reaches the mountain top life will be lived happily ever after.
Unfortunately, just as the mountain peak is its smallest part, that moment of glory when a dream is achieved soon flickers out as a candle in the wind. This experience can leave a sense of emptiness to one that has worked tirelessly to achieve a goal, only for the audience to wander off to the next drama after an applause that ends almost as soon as it began.
It is not a pleasant experience for companions to watch a friend continue to dance to music that long stopped playing, waltzing to a poorly hummed tune. This downside to success drives its victims into complacency, I believe, because one continually feels entitled due to perhaps an earlier accomplishment. As Bill gates once said “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they cannot lose”.
In the working environment, I have come across some who have enjoyed great success prior to moving into a new environment and still expect to ride that snow ball. The reality is that the old success only earned them the entry ticket and they still need to start all over again–often a rude awakening.
Looking to others that manage to stay motivated and successful in their enterprises, I find that they make an effort to quickly put behind them a success as soon as the goal is achieved and immediately start mapping out new dreams. They place their eyes on the next goal which may be along the same mountain or a totally different conquest. In this approach I have seen that one is able to maneuver the threat of complacency that comes from success while remaining relevant.
Richard Branson writes on virgin.com that “…the world is rapidly changing and as technological advances increase the speed of innovation, it is essential for entrepreneurs to keep up. You should be prepared to learn every day to adapt and stay ahead of the latest developments.”
The Apostle Paul faced one of the most daunting challenges of building churches among the Gentiles, a people who were completely new to the Faith. In this exploit he not only faced aggression from the people he was trying to win to Christ but also from his Jewish community. Despite the hostile environment, Paul enjoyed many successes in this exploit, planting Churches as far as Europe.
In his mission, Paul stayed passionate and motivated. I believe he revealed the secret to his continuous success in the Letter to the Philippians saying “brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.