Success and a Sense of Belonging

I grew up feeling “different” than everyone around me.  Like I didn’t really fit into any one group of friends in my neighborhood or groups at school.  Even team sports were a little awkward for me until I realized that if I did the best I could to contribute, and focused on improving myself… I would by default be accepted into the fold of the team.

I realized early in life that people are drawn to success.  I admit that successful people are attractive to me as well.  But, people measure success in so many different ways.  To some people, the definition of success is the amount of money someone has or the type of car they drive.  I grew up around a lot of money.  Money DOES NOT impress me.  

My definition of success is the path someone chooses to follow in life and how they travel that path.  Think about it this way.  Someone who is born into a family of money, groomed at the best schools, yet never really discovers that their true purpose in life is to help people with the abundance of gifts they have been provided…. is not a measure of success in my mind. 

Those who have gifts and squander them, or don’t use them for the greater good in even a small way are not attractive to me.  Those who brag about the gifts they have been blessed with… only leave me with a feeling that they don’t realize the definition of a “gift” and that all of it can dissappear in a heartbeat. All I see is someone who is extremely short-sighted about the beautiful Universe we live in. They can’t see that it’s not about “them”… it’s about “all of us”.

Years ago, a woman approached me at WalMart and asked if I had a nickel.  She wanted to buy her son a soda from one of the machines near the entrance to the store.  I searched in my wallet and found a nickel, and when I offered it to her, she tried to hand me back five pennies.  I said to her… “Don’t worry about it”.  She insisted and said, “I won’t take your money, it’s just that the machine won’t accept pennies”.  I took the five pennies and walked back to my car, while reminding myself that those five pennies meant different things to each of us.  You could probably have walked that entire WalMart parking lot and found five pennies laying on the ground, forgotten and worthless to some people.  Yet, there are families busting themselves every day to earn five pennies to feed their families.  I said to myself, “there by the Grace of God go I”.

She reminded me that day that our character is not defined by the amount of money we have in our wallet, but what we do with the gifts we are given.  Those five pennies could go a long way, or could be tossed to the ground for someone else to gather up ato buy a hot meal.

Success to me is defined by the choices people make in life… and we all make hundreds of them each day.  It’s choosing to be happy, choosing to exercise and eat healthy, choosing to live in your truth, choosing not to intentially hurt one another, choosing to help one another find success… I could go on.

We sometimes feel alone because we are not seeing the bigger picture.  I used to try hard to “belong” by emulating the person others wanted me to be.  Now, my approach is to dig deep into myself, and try to be the best I can be without worrying so much what every individual around me thinks… knowing that I am contributing to the greater good of this beautiful Universe by using my gifts the best way I can. That in turn gives me a sense of belonging to everything… to all.

It’s sort of like belonging to a giant “bartering community”.  I put something in, and one day I will need to take something out.  By separating myself from the (dare I say it) sometimes selfish influence of those around me (whether they see it or not), and going deep inside to discover the best in me, I am a contributing part of the most amazing community of all…  a Universe much bigger than any of us individuals.

Love and Light,

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