The measure of ‘real success’


Success can be measured by many criteria.

For some, it is the accumulation of property and money; for others the attainment of certain goals.

Our own Rory McIlroy, after shattering a host of records at the U.S. Open at the Congressional Course in Maryland, has announced that he is playing golf, not for money, but for a place in history.

Sir Alec Ferguson has his own place in history, having led Manchester United to a record 19 league titles.

And men like Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras, Jack Nicklaus and Mohammed Ali have their place in sporting history; while politicians and statesmen have their place too.

But true success is not something restricted to the great and the good. Real success is success of character.

In the week of May’s European Champions League final, a ‘Daily Mail’ columnist ran an article about the aforementioned Ferguson with the headline, ‘A genius but a lout’.

Some may choose to differ, but the columnist was making the point that true success has to do with character. It’s possible to succeed as a sportsman, or politician; as a writer or an entertainer, and yet fail as an individual.

Norman Vincent Peale once wrote: “By success I mean the development of mature and constructive personality.”

C.F. Andrews obtained a first-class degree at Cambridge, and instead of seeking the glittering prizes, spent his life as a missionary in India, dying almost penniless. Some would regard him a failure; but he earned the Lord Jesus’ tribute, “Well done , good and faithful servant”.

At a recent funeral, the daughter of the deceased gave me a sheet of paper which she had found among her mother’s papers. It provides the recipe for real success of character:

Success is speaking words of praise

In cheering other peoples ways

In doing just the best you can

With every task and every plan

It’s silence when your speech would hurt

Politeness when your neighbour’s curt

It’s deafness when the scandal flows

And sympathy with other’s ways

It’s loyalty when duty calls

It’s courage when disaster falls

It’s found in laughter and in song

It’s in the silent time of prayer

In happiness and in despair

In all of life and nothing less

You’ll find that this is REAL success.