September 12, 2012


“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it. - David Orr.

This quote has been stuck in my mind recently. I love that it challenges the idea of success as we've come to understand it. What if the idea of success we've been trained to chase is actually a failure? What if fulfilling our purpose has been distracted by a distorted concept of success?

What if success was measured by the amount of peace and sustainable communities throughout the world? What if it was seen as small minded and  a sign of poor leadership to withhold resources, to wage wars, or fight over political party affiliation instead of focusing on common ground and progress for everyone. What if finding your place within division and hate was seen as a weakness instead of celebrated as a strategic opportunity.

What if success was measured by the amount of people who were healed from all types of sicknesses, and healthcare was more for innovative preventative services? What if it was illegal that some avenues of the healthcare industry can purposely make more money from sick people and profit unjustly from that? What if sickness wasn't such good business?

What if success was measured by the amount of restoration present in the community and lives directly around us? What if it was the ultimate failure to allow the people around you to struggle, especially if you had a way to help. What if holding others down simply for your own gain was seen as cowardly and imcompetent instead of as a shrewd survival tactic?

What if success celebrated the true storytellers and communicators of the world? What if it was considered vain and appalling to use our influence and the tools of social media simply to validate the image of our lives we're trying to convey for others?  What if shallow gossip articles, the celebrity obsession, making ridiculous music, or producing low quality TV shows wasn't all our generation had to show for the voice previous generations fought so hard for us all to freely have? Where are the poets, producers, song writers, authors, and journalists of our time that have thoughts, wisdom, and revealations tucked inside that the world needs to hear?

What if everyone enjoyed finding creative ways to uplift others, out give, and out love each other everyday? What if it was unacceptable to be selfish and self centered? What if going day by day without postively impacting the lives of others was considered a wasted life instead of a typical life?

Would our world be as "successful" as we preceive it to be?

What if the success of our individual gifts and talents was contingent upon resulting in more peace, healing, restoration, communication, and love?

Would that change our perspective, priorties or how we went about our days?

Success has become comfortable having nothing to do with positive character, impact or results. We each have a place and a purpose, and one by one we can redefine the meaning of success for ourselves and our generation.