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Friday, July 22, 2011

What is Success?

[Questions today from Ramon:]  A Wayne i got a question for you........ What's the difference between a Job and a career ?????  And is a person considered successful because they  have a job????  And last Q. What do you consider a successful person????     Have a good day at work......

[Response]  First off, I’m glad you asked the question about success.  I guess I would ask, “How many people do you know who earnestly desire to be losers?”  Clearly most everyone wants to be a success—a winner.  My view of success has changed over time.  Once I wanted to be President.  I wanted some kind of ultimate, showy symbol of success.  Look at my list of jobs—an orange tree hoer, a student, a teacher, a clerk, a blender, a clerk typist, a clerk again, and finally a computer person.  Surely, if I defined myself as a success or not by these jobs, the verdict would not be all that breathtaking.  On the other hand, I have come to feel that I have been very successful in life because I have lived what I think is a meaningful life.  What do I mean by this?  I mean that whatever job I held or more broadly the values that I lived for were Christian values.  This fundamentally is a view that the disciplines of love as they are related to people and to the physical world are paramount.  Please refer to the Teico paper I mailed to you. [See blog]  In my view if Ramon Green exercises the disciplines of love to the best of his ability wherever he may find himself or in whatever he may undertake, then he is a resounding success.  When he gets to be 67 and looks back over his life, he will not feel regret, but rather a deep, gratifying feeling that he has been blessed.  I know this is not the usual definition of a career, but for me this is it.  In other words, you can affirm this career playing basketball at Coleman or being President of the United States or repairing air conditioners or being a rocket scientist.  A person could do all these things and essentially have one career as a disciple of Jesus—as an apostle of objective love.  You are in this career affirming the long-term, even participating in the eternal.  My acquaintance with you, Teico, George, Alton, and all the rest was a very big thing in my life.  I viewed our relationship as part of my career—something that contributed immensely to meaning in my life.

Now the common understanding of job and career is that career is long-term and job is short-term.  That is, I can have a career in computers, but in that career at one time or another hold many specific jobs—desktop support, networks, servers, programming .  The frequent career question is “What field are you in?”  See this quite literally and envision yourself standing in a field perhaps surrounded by a fence.  This field is like your career.  The specific work in which you engage in this field is your job.  You can change jobs while remaining in the same field.

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