The Voice of Africa

Definition of Success

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Success seems to find its way on almost every person’s To-Do-List. I have not met
anyone who does not wish to be successful, whatever it may mean to him or her. In fact, if you
were to ask enough people, “what is your goal in life?”, you will likely find some folks whose
answers would sound something like this, “my goal in life is to be successful.” This statement
should automatically warrant these next questions: “what does it mean to be successful?”, “who
do you consider to be successful?” and “how will you know when you are successful?” I have
asked these series of questions several times and I am always shocked at how many folks scratch
their heads in an attempt to describe what success means to them.

Very often, we casually ascribe success to the minority who have billions of dollars like
Jeff Bezo, own or operate multi-million buildings or corporations like Bill Gates, are famous
around the world like Michael Jackson, or hold prominent positions like the president of the
United States. If these were the true measures of success, then well over 99.9% of the world’s
population are doomed to fail in life.

Essentially, each person defines success differently, and rightfully so. This is because we
all want different things in life: more time with the family, travel to see the world, attain certain
societal status, academic achievements, businesses, corporate positions, world fame, residence
by the lake, peace of mind, etc. Many people also define success based on their personal
philosophy, or their basic set of beliefs, values, concepts and attitude in life. Maya Angelou
defined success as “liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Mark Cuban
described success as “waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to
be a great day.” Arianna Huffington explained success as living “the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for.” And Barack Obama interpreted success as “the
difference you make in people’s lives.” These are all great illustrations of what it means to be
successful from the viewpoint of these individuals. Nevertheless, there is one true definition of
success that all personal revelations should emanate from. I’m referring to the definition
according to the Maker or the Manufacturer.

The manufacturer of a thing is the creator of that thing. The creation of every product
begins with a purpose in the mind of the creator. Conceiving the purpose for a product is critical
because it determines the specifications and functionalities of the product. For this reason, a
manufacturer would never start the actual process of production until he or she has a purpose for
the product. Therefore, the true purpose of a product can only be found in the mind of the
manufacturer. The manufacturer usually shares his mind or purpose concerning the product
through commercials, ads, user’s manual, etc.

It is extremely important that the manufacturer shares the purpose in order to properly
define the measurement of success of the product. That is because the definition of success of
any product can be found in its purpose as pre-determined by the manufacturer. For example,
when Henry Ford built his first automobile in 1896, which he called a quadricycle, he had a
purpose for it in his mind: a motorized means of transportation on land or on solid grounds. The
vehicle is successful whenever its locomotion on roads and bridges is motorized or powered by
its internal engine. Now, let’s say someone took the quadricycle on water, decided to use it as it
would be used on land, and it failed to function (move on its own) as promised by Mr. Ford, does
that mean the automobile has failed? The obvious answer is no! That is because it was not
purposed to function on water. Therefore, the true success of a product is measured by the fulfilment of its intended purpose. With this understanding in mind, let us go back to the
intended purpose of this article, to define a successful life from the perspective of our Maker.

God is the creator of all things, including you and I. As the Manufacturer, He has a
purpose for all of creation, with you and I as the focal point of everything He made. Because He
is the maker of your life, only He has the legitimate right to define the purpose of your existence
on earth and in time. Therefore, the true measure of your success in life is directly related to the
fulfillment of His purpose for your life. It doesn’t matter how rich and influential you become, or
even what your philosophy in life is; as far as God is concerned, the true definition of success is
the fulfillment of His purpose for your life.

God conceived you in His mind before the foundations, or the beginning of the world—
that is, way before your parents or even your great-grandparents were born. I believe that one of
the reasons for the gap between when God conceived you in His mind and your physical
conception is that He was building you up and equipping you with just the exact specifications
and functionalities you will need to succeed. I also believe that He was waiting for the perfect
timing and environment that will be most conducive for your success.

It is important to note that as the Manufacturer, God’s reputation is at stake if you don’t
succeed. So you can be sure that despite how you feel or what you think, He created you with
everything you need to be successful in fulfilling your purpose: gifts, talents, personality, body
type, family, friends, past experiences, creativity, strengths, resources, etc. You have a 100%
chance of being successful if you diligently seek and pursue the mind of God concerning your
life.

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