No. 237



Someone once said that success is The degree to which other people envy you. When I look at some people Im Green and its not because they are famous, live in a big house or have a lot of money. The other day I got to thinking about the word Success, which is something most people desire and more could achieve if they went about it in the right way. I believe you will agree that it takes a long time to achieve anything truly worthwhile and how LONG we live plays a major role in it. Its common knowledge however that some people achieve far more success in 20 years than others do in 80 years, but what makes the difference? Have you ever thought about this? If you would like to achieve greater success during your lifetime, I have some thoughts to share with you that may be of value.

If you read my column on a regular basis you know that I try to be very down-to-earth and practical and quite often I just remind you of the Common Sense type things that could make a difference in your life. We need to be inspired, to be informed, to keep our perspective and most of all to keep our priorities in the right order. It doesnt make a lot of sense to work hard to achieve success in one area of our life and then fail in other areas that are far more important.

What I want to present for your consideration is what I call the Three stages of a successful life, which is not original with me. You may know the average life expectancy in the U.S. in 1900 was less than 50 years and today its around 75 years, give or take a few years depending on whether you are male or female. For the sake of simplicity, if we could take the average successful life and divide it into thirds, it would be along these lines: the first third is for learning, the next third is for earning and the last third is for giving.

If I were talking with you in person you would probably say that, We do some of each regardless of our age. This is true because we should still be learning at age 60 just like we should be giving at age 40 and so forth. But our main focus and thrust to achieve maximum satisfaction and happiness (which is a good definition of success) should be along the lines of learning, earning and giving because one builds on the other. In other words, the person who gets better qualified from an educational standpoint will usually earn more and the person who earns more will be better prepared to give more.

I am simply presenting these thoughts and ideas to you and I have no idea where you are in terms of age, educational level and whether or not you have a giving spirit. As my business partner, the late Bob Gannaway used to say, You can give without loving but you cannot love without giving. One thing I know for sure, in my earlier years I was more selfish than I am now and as a result I missed some of the greatest blessings any person could ever have. Again, this is just something for you to think about.

If you are a young person, learn as much as you can and later during your job or career earn as much income as you can. Do you remember a previous column when I talked about giving 10% to the Lord, save and invest 10% and use the other 80% to live on. Its important to give but its also important in your earning years to save and invest so you will be able to give more and receive more rewards in the golden years of your life. What I have shared with you (regardless of where you are) is not hard and fast, but a pretty good way of looking at a successful life---learning, earning and giving. It is true, it is indeed More blessed to give than to receive. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)