The New Year has arrived and finds me, like every new year before, reflecting on my life. Will I ever be successful? Might this be the year I find success? What is success anyway? Is it money? Is it accolades?
I’m not sure why but as I ponder this I begin to look at my life as if it were a movie. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Does it have my full attention? What is it that makes a movie a great movie? What makes it a success?
A great story could make for a horrible movie. So it isn’t entirely the story. My take is a movie is great when it evokes an emotion, any emotion, and captures it perfectly. When the acting and the setting and all the details are all so intricately right on, anyone can sink into the scene and can live it. It becomes believable when the audience sympathizes with that emotion it evokes, despite how unrealistic the plot may be. It comes down to the little details, these brief moments of magic you actually emotionally experience while watching. And there are always more than one of these moments in the really great movies.
So if it is these moments that make movies successful, how does my life as a movie measure up? Starring an ordinary girl, doing ordinary things, there isn’t much to get excited about in the story itself. But this ordinary girl has had some extraordinary moments. Moments she was truly mindful of, moments she fully experienced. Moments of pain, moments of joy, moments of love.
Envisioning scenes in my life, I am so grateful. I lived some great moments. Not in some fairy tale or extravagant sort of way, but in a simple life sort way. No glamour or glitz, the beauty can be found in the ordinary if the time is taken to actually live in it.
I have felt the bliss of batting in the game winning run. The excitement I felt in that moment wasn’t diminished by the fact that it wasn’t the World Series. I had the eyes of a child. Nothing else but that moment mattered.
I distinctly remember the moment I realized I was in love with my best friend, still am in fact. He isn’t a prince and I’m not a princess but for as much as I love him, we may as well be royalty. Ordinary experiences can bring such great fulfillment. Like three kids piling into their parents’ bed on a lazy Sunday morning with no schedule to keep . . . , with their sleepy smiling faces asking, “What are we going to do today?” and being able to say, “What do you want to do today?” It is a simple, regular, seemingly ordinary moment but sinking into it I find complete contentment. If I stop and swim in these moments, everything else can fall away. Nothing else matters. I have mined these moments of exquisite joy and love from the most mundane scenarios.
I won’t win any awards for capturing these moments. No one will write me a check for living them either. But I have lived them. And I sit now and reflect on them with a deep gratitude.
So maybe there isn’t one success in life. Most of life is a series of small successes, failures too. I am starting to think, real success comes from continuing after the failures and whole heartedly appreciating the smallest victories. Success isn’t an endpoint. It’s a viewpoint. And from where I’m standing, I have succeeded already.
The speed of life highlights the importance of these questions. What’s in our memories are the moments of success, even if they are failures that we’ve survived and learned from.
So many experiences are lost in the peripheral vision, while we focus on and rush towards the next task/next goal/next paycheck. Starting to realize, so many great joys are missed because they fall outside our line of sight. So this year, my focus is on taking it all in 🙂
Movies are always condensed into 2 hours, A lifetime takes as long as a lifetime.to create. That is the beauty of it! Real Success comes from how you live your life and share your heart!
So very true. Like the John Wooden quote: It isn’t what you do, but how you do it. (i’ve been a basketball state of mind lately….reading alot of Wooden)
Hey Nikki, you are really hitting on a spiritual truth and insight. Success is a matter of view point. We all have personal goals and it is the totality of successes and failures and how we view them that determines if we have been successful but also there is an absolute scale of success measured by our relationship to God and our every thought motivation and Actions in making our goals align with his and that supersedes all worldly measuring sticks of success. How we relate to God and reflect his relationship, love, righteousness and justice in how we relate to our spouses, kids, family, friends and just as important those we do not even know is true success.
By worldly standards Jeremiah was a complete failure as a leader. He warned a nation turning away from God of the consequences of their disobedience yet extended the invitation to turn away from self rule and indulgence and turn back and restore right relationship with God. He was mocked and ignored time and time again for over 40 years And would be judged a failure by any leadership standard for not achieving his goal of turning the people’s hearts but God viewed him as a complete success because despite his lack of “success” he succeeded in waking in right relationship with Him all the way through every earthly failure and rejection of the people he was trying to reach,
I have seen your outlook on life changing and no doubt because of this truth you have discovered. Wishing you Continued success!
Thank you, Doug. It is very true. In these days, success seems commercialized to the point that is only measured by and acknowledged when we receive some thing. It is found in this external, material world of stuff that we are constantly led to believe we need to have or else we are failing. Not that getting some praise or having things is bad. It can be pretty sweet! But, for me anyway, that kind of success is more fleeting and, when attained, can be hollow. When that all falls away, and it can, do we have pride in how we’ve carried ourselves overall? Did we strive to stay in line with our values and truths that we have discovered along our journeys and did we do so with compassion for others along the way? Really, everyone has to define success in their own way. I’m glad this post resonated with you and with your faith. I’m not as strange as I think then? Ha!