Friday, April 22, 2011

Failing at Success

A post from the past.
 
A friend once told me that I should stop majoring in minors. Another advised me that I needed to keep the main thing the main thing at all times. And then there was the pearl of wisdom from my bride who reminded me to stop and count the blessings already received. In the hustle and bustle of the pursuit of success and the search for that elusive significance we all seem to be in need of a gentle tug from within to slow down and realize that too much success may indeed be a failure. It sounds so simple yet becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the right balance between work, play, faith, family, finance and recreation. Why is all this success so maddening that in spite of the busyness we feel trapped and empty? How does one comprehend personal betrayal and empty promises when we know that we have succeeded in every arena of life individually but failed when we put the collective result in front of us?
 
A friend called me and told me of a project that had gone south after months of labor. Another requested prayer for his extended family in another part of the world, who were caught up in property disputes that seemed to spell ruin for familial harmony. Two viably productive, successful denizens of the world of banking and technology trying to cope with the failures of the moment in an otherwise productive and successful life. Do you ever look at all you have accomplished and wonder why some things just don’t make any sense? You give everything you have to a job, and all that you are capable of giving to your family and friends, and there is still that knot of emptiness in the pit of your stomach constantly asking you to do more. You feel that you are failing while trying to be successful. The consolation that you are not alone may be of little solace but understanding how to change may be the answer.
 
Years ago when I had the privilege of meeting the late Mother Teresa I was given one of her writings which simply asked me to look at success through the prism of a very profound question. She suggested that we would never be content with our pursuits if the definition of success did not have a finite answer to the question, “How much is enough?” This though provoking insight will allow you this week and beyond to measure success by asking yourself to look at your accomplishments in light of what would give you satisfaction. Fred Smith Sr. suggested that a habit of the heart that would allow this to come to fruition was to give more than you had and to keep less than you needed. The only way to succeed at success is to not fail in realizing that we probably already have more to be grateful for in what we have done. Use that as the fuel this week to look around your world so you can share the blessings that you have inherited for just being you.


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Friday, April 8, 2011

MEMORIES

In another time in a different country amidst a crowded market place, I remember sitting across from a beautiful girl. There were friends around who were close and have remained such over the years. But I had eyes for her only and was keen to capture this moment. Having nothing to my name but the love for her and nothing to offer but the promise of a world yet unseen, I asked her to marry me. My friends hurried and found two cheap rings made of steel and glass and with trepidation in my heart and a cheer from those that thought this union was worthy we exchanged those symbols. The memories of that day and all it entailed is forever etched in my heart. Not the details of how the moment came about or the sequence of events that unfolded but the feeling that someone so special and beautiful would ever be mine. She has been my bride and the author of countless such memories for over a quarter of a century.

I have traveled much since and seen most of the free world and captured additional memories along an itinerant life. She has encouraged me and guided me and never once complained about all that was promised that was not delivered. Instead like the unfolding of a painting on a canvas that is known in its finality only to the artist, this bride of mine has divinely blossomed to be the memory that God intended for my present.

With the past behind and the present around the future is a distant thought. But I believe that the value of this life and the unfinished story is a memory for others. Trekking through Hawaii as part of our twenty-five years together we have pledged to the making of new memories. I wanted to write this to just have a memory of how lucky I have been. If you need to live a life of satisfcation begin with the humility that you get to live it at all, then add the blessings that others want you in their painting and finally thank the artist that you were picked to be loved.