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When Success Is Elusive

When Success Is Elusive

 When Success Is Elusive

She was a singing phenomenon by her early 20’s and was very rich. Few people become so famous and financially successful at such an early age. But then things started to go wrong in her life. After two failed marriages, she had to spend time in alcohol- and drug-rehabilitation centers. Her whole life began to unravel.

SADLY, this young woman’s story is all too common; tragic tales about celebrities frequently make the news. Even in the more conservative business world, seemingly successful people often have troubled lives. Concerning New York City’s financial highfliers, a newspaper report said: “[The] push for record profits is ruining careers, tearing apart families and keeping drug dealers busy . . . While record bonuses make some Wall Street bankers feel invincible, others become emotional wrecks from pressure to perform and some hit rock bottom.”

Are such problems a result of misguided attempts to find happiness and success? It is true that we need a measure of financial security. But is our success in life contingent on amassing wealth? Studies indicate otherwise. For instance, a study in China showed that during a recent period when the average income grew by 250 percent, people actually became less satisfied with life.

Real success, then, must be a measure of something more substantial than secular careers and the cost of one’s house, car, or watch. Should it not rather reflect what a person is as a whole, including the principles he lives by and the purpose he has in life? A person may be smart and powerful, for example, but be morally bankrupt and devoid of love and true friends. Another might have fame and fortune but look back on his life and ask, ‘What was it all for? What is the meaning of my life?’

It stands to reason, then, that truly successful people would have some depth to their lives, including sound principles to guide them. Hence, they would have inner peace, self-respect, and the respect of others. They would also have a purpose in life that transcends self and gives meaning and satisfaction. ‘What principles?’ some might ask. ‘And what purpose?’ Are the answers to such questions to be found within ourselves, or must we look elsewhere? The following articles will address those matters.

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A WARPED VIEW OF SUCCESS

According to medical researchers, more and more young athletes are taking potentially harmful performance-enhancing drugs in order to excel in sports. Education Update online reported: “When college students in a recent survey were asked: ‘If you knew you’d win or make the team by taking steroids, but in five years you’d get sick, would you still do it?,’ nearly all said yes. When the question was changed to ‘if you knew you would die within five years,’ 65 percent still said yes.”