Competing Views of Success

Competing Views of Success, by Chris Brady

There are competing views of success in our world. Achieving success
in your life will depend largely on how you define success in the
first place. I must admit, my own personal definition of success has
changed drastically over the years.

One view of success in the world is measured by victory. We’ll call
this the Victory School of Thought. If you are in sports or business
or any type of competition, success is defined by winning.
Interestingly, though, some of the most successful in this category,
such as legendary coach John Wooden of the UCLA basketball team,
defined success as doing one’s personal best and giving full effort
toward that end. In his view, winning was a natural by-product of
this philosophy. It certainly worked for Wooden. He remains the most
successful coach on record in nearly any sport at any level. However,
Wooden, even though he was so successful, is still rare in his
philosophy. Most consider winning as the true measure of success.

Another view of success involves “capturing” things; whether it be
titles, status, recognition, fame, or material possessions. We’ll
call this the Attainment School of Thought. This is the “He who dies
with the most toys wins” philosophy. This view is a close cousin to
the Victory School of Thought.

While these two schools certainly have their good points, and victory
and some of the trappings of success are not wrong in and of
themselves, they do both come with a fundamental flaw. That flaw
relates to the real way we human beings are wired and what truly gives
us satisfaction. The flaw in the thinking of both the Victory School
of Thought and the Attainment School of Thought is that the things of
this world can please us, that they are worthy as an end-goal in our

The third and final School of Thought, I believe, is the Eternal
School of Thought. Here true success is found. While it is okay to
pursue victory in our lives in our professional endeavors (and who
among us does not like to win once in a while?), and it is okay to
enjoy the rewards of hard work and prosperity, real success is found
in filling what one author called “The God-shaped void in our hearts.”
You see, humans scratch around on the earth, busy about all kinds of
things, pursuing all sorts of pleasures and objects designed to bring
satisfaction, when the whole time what they are really searching for
is a relationship with their Creator. How do I know this? It’s what
the Bible is all about, and it is what has happened in my own life.

My last post was about Indianapolis Coach Tony Dungy. After reading
his book, Quiet Strength, I would recommend it to anyone. And I will
pull one more piece from that book to illustrate what I’m talking
about here. According to Dungy,

“God’s Word . . . presents a different definition of success – one
centered on a relationship with Jesus Christ and a love for God that
allows us to love and serve others. God gives each one of us unique
gifts, abilities, and passions. How well we use those qualities to
have an impact on the world around us determines how “successful” we
really are.”

I love Dungy’s definition of success. It focuses on God’s grace and
what He has done through Christ on the cross, and shows that our
grateful response should be one of service to others and sacrifice for
God’s glory. That is true success. If the other, worldly definitions
also happen here and there, so be it. But the world’s definitions of
success on their own are hollow and lead to increased depravity as
people strive for more and more, hoping to fill that “God shaped
vacuum” that no amount of “the world” will fill. Real success comes
from that relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ, and
living out our days fulfilling, to the limits of our ability, the
calling He places on our lives.


About gabulmer

Christian apologist, husband, father, runner, blogger, leader with LIFE Leadership.
This entry was posted in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s