Success, from the standpoint of faith, means learning to accept this new version of the self that God is trying to offer. We learn to prioritize grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, gentleness, patience, and so on, because there is no more worthy calling than to point, in small, humble ways, to the new, hopeful reality God brings to the world.
Time for the practical. I promised nine days of theorizing. You got ten days. Now, we move on.
What does all this nonsense actually look like?
Perhaps we should work with examples.
We talked early on about the importance of refusing to limit our understanding of success to wealth and prestige. But, there is no need to be completely dualistic in our approach. One of the most successful (in all ways) people I know is one of my best friends. In fact, he is Norah's godfather. He has wealth and prestige in his field- but he has not let these things define him.
He is an attentive and supportive husband. A concerned and present father. A generous giver of his time and resources. He is always the first person to reach out and check on me when things have gone wrong- he practices the power of presence.
His wealth and prestige do not make him a successful person- but because he has them he is able to lean into his generosity in ways that someone less wealthy cannot. In other words, he uses his achievement to build up those around him. This is a key point.
Let's be clear- you do not need to have achieved great things in order to offer dignity and respect to everyone you meet. His achievement does not make him "better" equipped to become a successful human and, in fact, it may get in a person's way. After all, becoming wealthy and prestigious brings with it huge temptation with the strong potential to lead a person down a very dark path. He's been able to resist that temptation and become a successful human being in spite of its presence in his life.
Success is a matter of consistently living in accordance with our values, our certain way of seeing. It is about creating a life that fosters our ability to do that consistently. And, then, it is about allowing ourselves to be affected by those around us such that we're interested in helping them create meaning in their lives.
It is my friend's ability to do each of these things that makes him the success that he is.