How to Find Success
By Steve Goodier
Rabbi Harold Kushner tells a wonderful story about a bright young man
who was a sophomore Stanford pre-med student. To reward him for
having done so well in school, his parents gave him a trip to the
Asia for the summer.
While there he met a guru who said to him, "Don't you see how you are
poisoning your soul with this success-oriented way of life? Your idea
of happiness is to stay up all night studying for an exam so you can
get a better grade than your best friend. Your idea of a good
marriage is not to find the woman who will make you whole, but to win
the girl that everyone else wants.
"That's not how people are supposed to live," the sage admonished.
"Give it up; come join us in an atmosphere where we all share and
love each other."
The young man had completed four years at a competitive high school
to get into Stanford, plus two years of pre-med courses at the
university. He was ripe for this sort of approach. He called his
parents from Tokyo and told them he would not be coming home. He was
dropping out of school to live in an ashram (a spiritual retreat).
Six months later, his parents got this letter from him:
"Dear Mom and Dad,
I know you weren't happy with the decision I made last summer,
but I want to tell you how happy it has made me. For the first time in my life, I am at peace. Here there is no competing, no hustling, no trying to get ahead of anyone else. Here we are all equal, and we all share. This way of life is so much in harmony with the inner essence of my soul that in only six months I've become the number two disciple in the entire ashram, and I think I can be number one by June!"
What this young man didn't get is that it's not always about
competition and achievement -- doing more and doing it faster than
anyone else. It's not HOW you do it; it is WHAT you do. Success is
more about doing the RIGHT thing. Miss that, and nothing else
Someone put it like this: "I spent my life frantically climbing the
ladder of success. When I got to the top I realized it was leaning
against the wrong building." Even if he got to the top first, it made
no difference. There is no merit in being first to arrive at the
Do you know what one difference between efficient and effective is?
One who is efficient does the thing in the best possible way; one who
is effective does the best possible thing. More important than
efficiency is effectiveness. More important than climbing highest is
climbing the right ladder.
Blessed are those who accomplish...the right thing. Blessed are those
who scale the mountain and, whether or not they even make it to the
top, they know they chose the right path. These people will have
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