I was reading an article the other day about a famous athlete and one of his teammates made a comment that I found interesting. He said, off the record of course, that his famous teammate would have a funeral so small that it could be held in a fitting room.
Now, most people would consider this athlete “successful.” He is rich beyond anyone’s imagination. He has and will set world records. He will undoubtedly be elected into his Hall of Fame, most likely on the first ballot.
But he is not a successful human being. It is common knowledge that he is universally disliked.
This got me to thinking. I am attending two funerals this week. One is the funeral of a man who was “successful” in the eyes of the world. That is, he made a lot of money. But he wasn’t a terribly successful human being. He was estranged from his oldest son and hadn’t spoken with him in years. He was a borderline alcoholic. There were other storms in his life. About 50 people will attend.
The other funeral is for a man who was not “successful” in the eyes of the world. You would have never given him a second look had you seen him in the store. He wasn’t wealthy. He was not high-profile. Yet he was quite a successful human being. People were encouraged and built up by this man. People were better because he graced their lives, even in small ways. His funeral will have about 200 people there, paying their last respects. He would have never guessed there would be that many, yet after he died, people came out of the woodwork to speak highly of him.
So what is the difference? And can we be both “successful” and a successful human being. I believe that we can have both. I do believe it is hard because the accumulation of wealth takes time and time at work, which usually takes away from time doing things that foster human relationships. But it is possible.
It can be done by those who understand balanced living and are aggressive time and priority managers. Give yourself time to make your fortune or pursue your dreams, but give yourself time to make yourself a successful life as well.
Here are some tips for being a successful human being who has a successful life:
Love People, Use Things. People who become “successful” and miss a successful life are those who love things and use people. Be sure to put people as a priority for your life.
Take time off. Life isn’t just about work. There is so much else to experience here in this life, and unfortunately, too little time to enjoy it.
Be a giver. Be someone who gives more than takes. Yes, we all have to take from time to time, but we should take only when we need to and give every time we have a chance to!
Be a life-long learner. I truly believe that we become better people as we learn. Take time throughout your life to grow and learn and become a better person.
Keep a sense of humor. People who laugh are a gift to the world. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances to seriously. Learn to look on the bright side and see the humor in situations.
Honor your commitments. This is a key to a successful life. We live this life based on commitments we make toward one another. Those who honor those commitments are those who will be respected and trusted by others.
Mentor someone. Always take the time to mentor someone. I know this firsthand because of the energy a few people put into my life, sometimes just letting me know that they believed in me. This goes a long way and makes the world a better place!
I am sure there are other aspects of a successful life, but these are the simple ones that you can begin to apply today. Remember, you can work and become a success, and I encourage you to do so, but don’t forget to live a successful life as well!