The Ethics of Success

Success is an ethical issue. Going a step further, success is your obligation to use the resources (relational, mental and physical) bestowed upon you fruitfully. Rather than looking at a situation halfheartedly with defeat in the air, shift your mind toward the obligation you hold to be successful for your family, yourself, your community, the world and the universe. Now, this is not to say if you do not meet the mark that you are a complete and utter failure; however, not committing to be successful when you set out on the smallest to the largest of ventures is an ethical issue, and then it is safe to say you are a failure before you begin. Going even further, I assert if you do not set out for success in all that you do, you are thief. You are in a unique position no matter where you are to choose success or failure before you set forth on your journey. Success is a mindset, not the outcome of your pursuit, but the intention and vigor with which you pursue. Your mind can be oriented toward success or not, there is no lukewarm or in between. More often than I care to admit, I find myself going through the motions.

For example, I am fortunate enough to be able to get up our two little boys every morning and take them to school. I am ashamed to admit that I viewed this as a task and a nuance of my day rather than orienting my mind toward success not only for our boys, but my wife, myself and family. I did not approach my morning blessings with zest and vigor, rather I appraoched this activity simply as a task that required a check mark. Interestingly, I pursued success in the workforce yet failed to do so on the home front (talk about messed up priorities). Wow! What good is success in one as the other withers on the vine. That is a zero sum game and I do not like losing.

My wife is great at encouraging me to approach every activity no matter how trivial with success, rather than as a to-do or something to accomplish in haste. She is also great at calling out my childish behavior. Now, when she first approached me about this, I bucked as my ego was threatened, but something miraculous happened when she opened up the space for me to reflect on my attitude and orientation at home (this took me several days of reflection). I soon discovered the importance of orienting my mind for success in all that I do, even the things that appear small on the surface. I have found that I am insufficient alone and constantly require a mirror to gain perspective of where I am heading in life.

With this small realization that success is an obligation, I have found that life gets more and more exciting with each passing day. Instead of viewing my “missing the mark” (I do this daily) as complete failure, I see it as an opportunity to cultivate future success of which I am obligated to achieve. Success is contagious, and keeping an eye on my moods as I conduct the smallest and greatest tasks is of extreme importance to living the good life. We behave differently when we are observed and I have found that orienting toward success (with the help of others around me holding me accountable) is better than the default of not orienting or striving for anything.

In sum, be intentional with all that you set out to do no matter how big or small and realize that success is an ethical issue, don’t be a thief of yourself.

Have fun! I am!!


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