#77: On Success and Simplicity

How do you define success?

“Out of all virtues simplicity is my most favorite virtue.

So much so that I tend to believe that simplicity can solve most of the problems, personal as well as the world problems. If the life approach is simple one need not lie so frequently, nor quarrel nor steal, nor envy, anger, abuse, kill. Everyone will have enough and plenty so need not hoard, speculate, gamble, hate.

When character is beautiful, you are beautiful. That is the beauty of simplicity.”

—Ela Bhatt, as quoted on the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

How do you define success?

I used to summarize it in four letters: M-O-R-E. More money, more houses, more cars. More friends, more praises, more recognition.

But slowly, I’ve been learning what truly matters to me.

It’s more:

  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Growth
  • Purpose
  • Meaningful relationships

I loved the book Essentialism because it made me re-assess how I’ve been spending my time and energy. It taught me how to focus on what matters most and not be spread thin and all over the place.

One of my highlights from the book is the quote at the beginning of this Love Note. It reminds me of the Bible verse known as “The Prayer of Agur.”

May my satisfaction be found in you. Don’t let me be so rich that I don’t need you or so poor that I have to resort to dishonesty just to make ends meet. Then my life will never detract from bringing glory to your name.
- Proverbs 30:9 (TPT)

Honestly though, I still want a lot. But I'm working on curbing my desires for temporary treasures. Here are some of the small ways I’ve been embracing simplicity:

  1. I evaluate the items on my shopping cart before checking out. I ask myself first, “Do I really need this right now?”
  2. Every quarter, I review my goals and reflect if they’re still aligned with the values of the person I want to become.
  3. I stay realistic with my daily to-do lists and give myself some slack to avoid burnout and self-loathing.

Success for me now is a simple life filled with peace, quiet strength, joy, and meaning. It’s waking up in the morning with a heart full of trust in the grace of God, brimming with hope and purpose.

I’m curious. How has the meaning of success changed for you through the years?

PS: Trying to make meditation one of my habits again, and for today, I listened to this guide:

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