Dear Jack, I want you to take a sheet of paper and draw three circles. In the first circle write “Vocation”. In the second write “Relationship”. In the third write “God”. Those are the three circles you need to mind if you want all round success.
My attitude towards vocation, and anything I do really, is to pour my life and energy into it. If you want to succeed at what you do, life demands no less. Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might. It’s unrealistic to put in 10% effort and expect to come off better than those who put in 120%. Even talent demands hard work.
Now it may seem some people have effortless success, but move closer and you’ll see it’s an illusion. Those who succeed bring certain energy, certain passion, certain dedication to what they do. It’s the ultimate pose to make hard work seem effortless. It’s art, but it doesn’t take away from the hard work. If it looks excellent on stage there’s unimaginable energy and obsessive attention to detail behind the scene. There’s something called dedicated pursuit. It means pouring your life into what you do. Subscribe to that philosophy.
Now let’s talk about the second circle – the Relationship circle, be it marital or boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Relationships are powerful equations. They command a direct effect on our vocation or professional calling. It’s not as if you can’t succeed without a good marriage, but the strain of a bad marriage is much. And you won’t realise how stressful things are because of your concentration and focus on your work. You’ll be revving your engine on such a high note, like a car with a fuel pump problem on a steep incline. The amount of energy required to climb the ladder of success will become disproportionate. It soon takes its toll. The toll can be too heavy. If the stress is too high it can lead to untimely death. Best case scenario, clinical depression.
Marital stress is debilitating to attainment. A man can’t afford such level of stress. The price is too high. To keep away from a quarrelsome woman Solomon recommends higher living. In the attic! You need a cocktail of energy to succeed: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Spiritual includes values. A loving home is an energy booster to a man. Not Red Bull, or whatever concoction out there can match it. There’s something about going home to a loving wife, friend and care giver. When a home is peaceful it is noise insulated from the stress on the streets of life.
Then there’s our third circle, the God circle. We do behave like God is a once-a-week inoculum – a Sunday-Sunday pharmaceutical course. We deify him as a remote inviolate but don’t feel we need a personal relationship with him. The more successful a man becomes the less needful of God he feels. That is because our conception of God is that of a problem solver, not Father, Godfather, Counselor or Friend. Then there are those who see “God” as a redundant paragraph in the “modern” world script. They are “secularists”. Yet the very breath the secularist needs to exhale God is supplied by that same God. Talk about mercy, and graciousness! He knows our frame, he earnestly remembers and imprints on his heart that we are dust.
You see, we’ve been sold a dummy – the dummy of a godless and rather expensive unwholesome success. We’re being sold we can’t have balanced success, that success is incompatible with faithfulness in marriage. That success and godliness are repulsive of each other. That success is definitely guaranteed through Satan but not guaranteed through God. Yet what we have on record is the God who said, “I wish ABOVE ALL THINGS you’ll prosper and be in health. Don’t buy the lie. Solomon – a rather wealthy man – says God who makes people rich. In fact he says in his book: The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. A negotiated contract with Satan comes at a high price. There’s always a fine print and it’s revealed AFTER signing. The fine print in Satan’s contract always contains sorrow.
Now our God circle has both vertical and horizontal dimensions. The vertical dimension is our direct relationship with God himself: our fellowship and intimacy with him. The horizontal dimension is our relationship with our fellow man, our usefulness to society according to individual grace. If we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. How many people around you have you helped? How many have you lifted? Do you care? Don’t wait until you become “successful” before you stretch out your hand to the less fortunate. Don’t say when I make “X” amount of money I’ll help the poor. What if you die before you reach the “X” amount? You’ll then lose here and there. Wasted opportunities. Irretrievable. Your breath is your opportunity. I’m encouraging you to go for balanced success. Succeed in life, succeed with God.
God speaks of good success (Joshua 1:8). If so be it means there’s bad success. Bad success is godless success, selfish success, irresponsible success, reckless success… though success. If it’s going to kill you, destroy your life, make you diseased, turn you into an alcoholic, make you heartless medically and literarily, destroy your family life, alienate you from your children, turn you into a manipulative and hated SOB (pardon mon Français), what quality of success is that?
Now I know consultants are not supposed to talk about God. We’re supposed to talk “strategy”. But that’s another one of those dummies sold to us and I refuse to buy. Any sharp mind knows there’s a “G” factor beyond strategic equations. There are unknowables. Account for strange results. If you have all the money in the world but no God what does it profit you to gain the whole world but lose your soul? And what is the use of all the excess if you can’t help your fellow man; if you can’t help widows and orphans?
The currency exchange in Heaven is not linked to the Dollar or the Pound or any earthly currency. It’s wholly linked to our relationship with God and our kindness to our fellow man. It’s equitable linkage.
They don’t drive Ferraris in Heaven!
© Leke Alder 2014