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What success isn’t

The Seven Powers of Success - What success isn'tSeveral years ago, I sat at a table surrounded by teens and young adults as we all stuffed envelopes for one of my direct-mail campaigns. Since nobody seemed to be interacting much, I thought I’d get the ball rolling.

“So, what do you guys want to do when you get out of school?” I asked.

A girl at the end of the table piped up immediately, “I want to be famous!” she said enthusiastically, as heads nodded around the table in agreement.

“Really?” I replied. “But being famous isn’t really a vocation, is it? What do you think you would like to be famous for?”

“Oh, I don’t care,” she answered. “Singing, acting, whatever. I just want to be famous. I think it’d be cool!”

I can’t tell you the number of similar conversations I’ve had with young people all over the country that reflect that same sentiment. But hardly anyone ever looks at the end result and asks himself if, in the unlikely event that he were able to accomplish this dubious goal, he would actually be happy.

It seems that a day doesn’t go by without some entertainment show reporting the misdeed of some celebrity. It’s always the same old story. Only the faces and names change. Some movie star, singer, or athlete becomes rich and famous, and then his life deteriorates into a disastrous mess that becomes late night comedy-show fodder. Even the ones that don’t destroy themselves with drugs, relationships, and abuse don’t seem that happy. So, why use the lives of the rich and famous as a template for our own success?

Looking at these people, the question we have to ask is, “Is that really the best description we have for success?” In other words, is that really what we’re all shooting for? Is being rich going to be enough? Is being famous all that it’s cracked up to be? It certainly doesn’t seem so to me.

 Excerpted from The Seven Powers of Success; Unlock You Strengths, Unleash your dreams. © 2013 Charles Marshall. 

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