Originally created 02/29/04

Success can only be found in fulfilled potential

Some people believe success is a number. They think that if they just had a certain amount of money, then they would be successful. Others believe that success is a relationship. They feel they would be happy if only they were married or had a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Still others define success as having "more." They spend their lives pursuing an ever-fading mirage that disappears as they pursue it.

I believe that success might best be defined as fulfilling one's potential. Every living thing on the planet is designed for one thing - growth. Why should humans be any different? Instead of thinking of success in terms of arriving, we should be thinking of it in terms of becoming.

Can you think of anything sadder than not fulfilling your potential? Some people meander through this life as if it were only a dress rehearsal. When I see such people I feel like grabbing them by the lapels and shaking them until they wake up from their lethargy.

There is so much that can be accomplished, so much good that can be rendered!

Ships aren't made to sit safely in the harbor. Books are not printed to remain on the shelf. The human spirit wasn't meant to be enslaved in the mediocre.

In a fit of inspiration I penned the following words and placed them on my desk where I can always see them. I use them as a guide to steer me away from safe harbors and out onto the ocean of challenge. I suggest you cut this column out and place it someplace so that you will be challenged by it daily.

Read these words every day and make them your declaration:

I am tired of walking among the timid

I am weary of dwelling with the weak of spirit

I would rather perish with the bold than be counted among those cold souls that dare not risk or venture.

But I can hear the voices of the naysayers. "All of that risk and challenge might be fine for some people, but I'm happy how I am." But to those people I would ask, might not there be more to life than just being happy? What if being successful means fulfilling your potential in spite of, or at the cost of your happiness?

Think about all the people who have sacrificed themselves, their families, their fortunes or their lives in order to do good. Where would this world be if some people had not chosen to stand up for what was right instead of choosing their own comfort? What if Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln or Harriet Tubman's main objective was just to be happy instead of fulfilling a calling?

So the question is: Are you moving in the right direction or are you stagnant? Are you taking steps, however small, or have you surrendered to mediocrity? Make it your goal to stop thinking in terms of success vs. failure, but rather of progress vs. stagnation.

Reach Charles Marshall, a motivational speaker, author and president of M Power Resources LLC, at charles@mpowerresources.com


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