Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Richard Simmons' book,The True Measure of a Man: How Perceptions of Success, Achievement, and Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times, (Evergreen Press, 2011).
Our society constantly pressures men to achieve and seek recognition in order to feel successful. But when they fail to meet all of their goals or gain the attention they’ve been seeking, men can easily feel depressed and even worthless.
If you’re a man who’s frustrated with the never-ending pressure of how to succeed in this world, God has good news for you. You’ll never fail to achieve success if you pursue it the way God intends.
Here’s how you can discover true success:
Look at success the way God does. Success, from God’s perspective, isn’t about what you may be able to achieve or how much praise others give you for doing so. True success is becoming the person God wants you to become. God’s intention is for you and every other human being to become more like Jesus Christ during your lifetime on Earth. When you make that your ultimate goal and base all of your decisions on that, you’ll become successful no matter what circumstances you encounter along the way.
Stop trying to be the master of your own universe. In this fallen world, every man makes mistakes and struggles with weaknesses. It’s freeing to admit that you can’t handle every problem or control every situation in your life; doing so removes the pressure of trying and the discouragement of inevitably failing. Instead, focus on trusting God, who actually is the master of the universe. Rather than trying to deal with your concerns by yourself and despairing when you fail, rely on God to give you the strength you need to deal with any situation successfully.
Change the way you try to answer the question “What will people think about me?” That’s a natural question for you to ask yourself as a man. But don’t answer it by trying to project a successful image of yourself to others through what you do, who you know, or what you earn or own. That type of image shows the appearance of success, but doesn’t necessarily reflect excellence. The only way to show others that you’re truly successful is to develop excellent character so others will be inspired by the type of person you are.
Consider what your legacy to be. Every day, keep in mind how you’d like people to remember your life after it’s over. Make choices from an eternal perspective. Do your best to contribute as much as you can to the world in the ways God leads you to do so. Keep in mind that people will ultimately remember you for what type of person you became – not for your achievements alone.
Base your identity on your relationship with Jesus. Don’t allow your achievements, income level, or anything else in this world to determine your worth as a person. Instead, embrace the deep, unconditional love that God offers you through your relationship with Jesus. Remember that no amount of worldly success can cause you to earn God’s love, and no amount of worldly failure can cause you to lose God’s love.
Become courageous. Realize that the object of life isn’t to have comfort, pleasure, and prosperity. Instead, it’s to mature your soul so you become more like Jesus, which involves cooperating with God’s work to bring good purposes out of your pain. So pray about the fear you feel when you face challenges, and invite God to give you the courage you need to deal with them successfully – by emerging from them as a better person.
Develop a stronger character. Become more like Jesus by pursuing character traits such as self-restraint, honesty, integrity, diligence, fairness, and selflessness.
Grow in wisdom. Become more like Jesus by asking God to teach you how to distinguish between ideas that are true and ideas that are false so you can develop sound judgment and make good moral choices.
Build strong relationships. Become more like Jesus by focusing on what matters most: relationships. Do all you can to build stronger relationships with God and other people. Learn how to express love and compassion as God wants you to in all of your relationships.
Become humble. Overcome the sin of pride (which leads you farther away from God) by realizing that all that you have is a gift from God and the result of other people contributing to your life. Make a habit of noticing the many blessings you regularly receive from God and the help that constantly comes into your life from others. Express your gratitude to God and other people often. Perform for an audience of just one – God alone – since God’s opinion of your life is the only one that ultimately matters. In the process, you’ll become humble, which is a position of strength, since God gives grace only to humble people.
Become content. Stop comparing your life with other men’s lives and instead focus on discovering and fulfilling God’s unique purposes for you. Accept the invitation that Jesus offers you to find rest, peace, and joy through your relationship with Him, which can’t be shaken by any circumstances.
Adapted from The True Measure of a Man: How Perceptions of Success, Achievement, and Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times copyright 2011 by Richard E. Simmons III. Published by Evergreen Press, Mobile, Al., www.evergreenpress.com.
Richard E. Simmons III received his B.A. from the University of the South (Sewaneee) in Economics in 1976. He later studied Risk Management and Insurance at Georgia State prior to beginning a 25-year career with Hilb, Rogal, and Hamilton, a property and casualty insurance firm. He was CEO of that firm for 10 years. He has devoted much of his life to giving back to the community by working with youth, as well as advising businessmen and other professionals. Through these experiences, he discovered that he had a gift and inclination for teaching and public speaking. In December 2000, he founded the Center for Executive Leadership, a nonprofit, faith-based ministry. When he’s not spending time with his wife and three children, he’s teaching, counseling, writing, or speaking to men’s groups across the United States.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: email@example.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: January 16, 2012