Our hearts and souls long for greater accomplishments than the accumulation of material possessions.
Think about it. Nobody sits across the table from another human being and declares their greatest goal in life is to own as much stuff as possible.
We dream much bigger dream for our lives.
We speak of significance and influence. We want to be known as good fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. We want to be loving parents, citizens, and contributing members to the people around us.
We dream of solving problems. We desire to use our gifts and talents and resources to make the world a better place. We want to know our lives mattered—that they stood for something bigger than ourselves.
We desire freedom and opportunity. We long to live our life in a way that is consistent with our personal values, engaged in the pursuits most important to us, and creating opportunity for others to do the same.
We think of love, hope, and joy. We desire to be fully-known and fully-accepted. We know the importance of hope in our own lives and desire to offer it to others. We pursue lasting joy in living a fulfilled life.
If asked to define “what does success look like in your life?” these are the attributes and descriptions many of us would use to answer that question.
We desire significance and influence and impact.
But then we turn around and spend most our time chasing things that don’t matter.
We live in a world that has substituted excess for success. And we have too often fallen for the false substitute.
In a consumer-driven, possession-focused society, the demand for material possessions must continually increase. Our society works day-and-night to constantly manufacture discontent and need.
The advertisements surrounding us each day serve one purpose: Stir up discontent, hi-jack passion, and get us to consume more than we need.
Excess becomes our definition of success.
We begin to spend our hours earning more and more money. We spend our money buying things we don’t need. We waste our energy and our time caring for more than we need. And then we punch the clock on Monday morning just to start the process all over again.
But accumulating excess is a short-sighted goal. It is not what we desire most for the one life we get to live.
It is not a substitute for real success in life. In fact, most of the time it only distracts us from it.
Excess material possessions steal our money, time, energy, and freedom. Along the way, our definition of true success gets lost in the noise and accumulation of things we don’t need.
Rediscover your greatest goals in life. Re-evaluate your most important pursuits. Define success for yourself.
Choose to pursue your unique version of success. And never confuse it with foolish excess.