LIVING AN EXCEPTIONAL LIFE
Walking into a dark room arouses tension and confusion, the problem becomes really compounded when the room is unfamiliar; bumping into things, knocking off things, and injuring yourself is the related painful experience of trying to find your way in a dark room. However, when the light is turned on you can see your way clearly; you gain perspective; insight, and foresight.
When you turn on the “light” you begin to gain knowledge and understanding of the reality or truths that govern the universe. And when knowledge and understanding are in place you function from wisdom – superior wisdom.
Success is measured by material wealth, job title, and social status.
Success lies in the fulfillment of our life’s purpose or mission as is evidenced by the positive difference we make and by the fulfillment we bring into our own lives and the lives of others.
We either measure success based on reality with the scale of significance or we measure success based on illusion with the scale of superficiality.
THE ILLUSORY MEASURING SCALES OF SUCCESS
THE ACADEMIC WORLD:
In school, we measure success using the scale of grades. However, in reality, mere grades are not the true gauge of measuring intelligence. Oh yes! Going by that measurement standard people like Les Brown, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Benjamin Franklin could have been written off as dismal failures in life. However, these men changed the course of history, leading significant lives.
THE BUSINESS/PERSONAL WORLD
In the business world, we tend to use the scale of job title, revenues, salary, and sales volume to measure success.
In our personal lives, we use the scale of the size of our house, the makes of our cars, and our financial net worth to measure success. It is important to note that all these could be a by-product of success rather than success itself.
Below is a real and revealing story of the futility of these measuring scales of success.
In 1929, an important meeting was held at Chicago’s Edgewater Hotel. Around the conference table were present eight of the world’s most important financiers, men whose desires and decisions affected the lives of half the world’s population. These men were the world’s most successful men, men who had discovered the “secret” of achieving wealth and power.
However, twenty-five years later their lives took a downward turn.
- Charles Schwab – The president of the largest steel company – died broke.
- Samuel Insull – The president of the largest utility company – died penniless, fugitive from justice.
- Howard Hopson – The president of the largest gas company- was insane.
- Richard Whitney – The President of the New York Stock Exchange – served time in Sing Song Prison.
- Albert Fall – A member of the United States Cabinet – was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.
- Jesse Livermore – The greatest speculator on Wall Street – committed suicide.
- Ivan Krueger – The chairman of the world’s greatest monopoly – committed suicide.
- Leon Fraser – The president of the Bank for International Settlements – committed suicide.
When we become blinded by the gold we forsake the good in a bid to get more and more gold. As we are in pursuit of our dreams and goals, we must periodically pause; reflect and self-examine and ask, “What am I becoming?”
“After you reach a certain point, money becomes unimportant. What matter is success”
- Greek Millionaire Aristotle Onassis.
IN SEARCH FOR MEANING
Can there be any meaning to life? Why were we put on the earth? Are we just biological creatures to make a number in the world? How significant are our lives? Or are we caught in an activity-driven trap? How valuable are we to the world? If we had never existed will the world fare better or will it get worse? Who am I? Why am I here? What was I born to do? Can there be an answer to these vital questions that all humans seek?
Every day the grave opens its mouth to receive a significant number of people who had never had a glimpse of discovering the reason behind life. Unfortunately, they lived an unfulfilled life and died in wasted existence. Their lives never mattered at all. What an incredible loss to humanity.
At the fundamental base of all human challenges lies the mind-boggling, age-long question, “Why am I here?”
Throughout the pages of history, man’s existence has remained a puzzle to many and a mystery that is matched with the corresponding challenges that confront humans every day, as civilization faces an upward toll. This heart search craving for significance is buried in Purpose – Meaning.
Every human being has an inward and compulsive desire to live a life of significance. The rich and poor alike, the king and the peasant both are part of this grappling search. Moreover, wealth, position, power, and fame are desperately pursued by people in this search for a sense of importance on earth, even though many times, this search infringes on the welfare of others.
BEHIND CREATION IS – PURPOSE
Everything in the universe has a purpose behind its creation. Nothing exists in the universe without a purpose. Every product is made with a purpose in the mind of the manufacturer. Before a manufacturer begins the physical creation of his or her product, the individual conceives the purpose or the “why” of the product in his mind.
For instance, before Henry Ford began the production of the Ford automobile, he had to decide the purpose of the product which was intended to solve a transportation problem. Consequently, Henry Ford assembled the materials or the parts of the product that would be important to fulfill its intended purpose.
He built into the product, the design, ability, and capability for it to function effectively. When he had finished, he was convinced that the product will be able to be driven; in other words, Henry Ford placed a demand on the product to function as it was intended because he knew how much he had invested in the product in order for it to achieve its intended purpose.
Similarly, we are the customized product of the greatest Creator (God) the world has ever known. Before we were conceived in our mother’s womb, God had already conceived us in his mind. Before He formed you in your mother’s womb, God had already earmarked the details and purpose of your life.
Since your conception, He had built into you the design, ability, gifts, talents, and personality needed for you to fulfill your predestined purpose. When you were birthed into the world, God placed on you the demand to accomplish His intended purpose for your life.
True success is actualized when you fulfill your life’s purpose in the right manner or in harmony with the right principles.
Each of us was designed by God to solve a specific problem on earth, each of us utilizing our unique purpose to serve each other. Each part of our body has a purpose-it solves a specific problem and every part works together for the benefit of the whole body.
In the same vein, just as parts of our body serve their purposes, the whole body of necessity has been designed to serve a purpose. Consequently, our purpose has been wired into the core of our being.
LIFE IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST
Life’s Purpose is not a fame quest but rather a clarion call to a life of impact or significance.
If your life’s purpose makes you visible or famous – then view the fame as an Influence. Consequently, utilize the fame for an ever-increasing impact on the world to do greater good which couldn’t have been possible without the fame.
If your life’s purpose is behind the scene, then stay faithful and committed to it with everything within you because you can only be fulfilled and truly successful in your “Power Place” – Your Purpose.
Fame, visibility, or popularity doesn’t equate that one is more successful than the individual who may not be visible or popular but fulfills his or her life’s Purpose however humble it is.
Remember, the heart and lungs are some of the vital organs that are not the visible part of the human body but vitally important to life that you cannot live without them.
Therefore, be contented in your place of assignment, maximizing every opportunity to successfully accomplish your Purpose one day at a time, because every part is important working in harmony in making the world a better place.
THE UNIQUE YOU – NO COMPARISON…
Scientists have proven that every human being (dead or alive) on earth has a unique individuality or personality:
- Your Unique Fingerprint:
Nobody can do what you’ve been created to do in the exact way you do and nobody can fill the space you’ve been created to fill on the planet.
- Your Unique Eyeprint:
No one can see how you see what you see and no one can see what you see. Herein lies the power of your unique vision and the problem you were created to solve in the world. That is the “Power Place” of your contribution to life.
Your Unique Voiceprint:
No one has been given your exact message to deliver in the exact way you do and with the exact style.
- Your Unique Heart-beat:
- No one can feel what you feel. Consequently, no one can know and understand the dreams or purpose of your heart.
- No one can feel the pain of your experiences; no one has ever walked in your shoes – they may know some, they may observe but they’ve never experienced it in your skin thus, they do not understand the higher purpose the pain has birthed within you for the elevation of humanity.
- No one can feel the joy that leaps from your heart for what you love and care about and the difference you can make with it.
You have a unique heartbeat with a peculiar rhythm. Therefore, dance to the rhythm of your destiny and evolve into true success.
WHERE IT ALL BEGINS…
To get to discover and fulfill our purpose is to get back to our Source or our Creator as real living begins from there.
When you focus on yourself you find illusion. When you focus on God you find meaning. Life revolves around God and evolves from within.
When life revolves around the self, it becomes empty. Meaning is not found within-which is self-centered; meaning is found in God-which is God-centered. Creation does not contain meaning. Meaning is contained in the Creator. And meaning is wired into creation but it takes creation losing self in the Creator to find meaning.
Are you lost in materialism, lust, and pride? Or have you lost yourself in God in order to find yourself? When creation becomes consummated in the Creator; creation discovers identity; meaning; purpose; significance and destiny.
Never attempt to use God to achieve your ambition or you will meet with frustration. Let God use you to accomplish His purpose on earth; significance will be birthed. You can be a raving “success” to the outside world but become ranting desperation in your personal world if your purpose is not discovered and lived out.
There are remarkable differences between how the world views success and God’s idea of success rooted in purpose. “Success” inflates the ego; Purpose births fulfillment. “Success” seeks the applaud and approval of people; Purpose seeks the applaud and approval of God. “Success” is self-centered; Purpose is people-centered. “Success” is achieved through perspiration; the purpose is manifested through inspiration. “Success” is a place of activity; Purpose is a manifestation of meaning.
Life’s purpose is unveiled through personal revelation that births personal revolution and ignites public reformation. Without meaning, life makes no sense; without God life has no meaning. Therefore, God is the source of life and meaning.
Your birth to the world was pre-determined or pre-destined-you are not on planet earth by accident or by chance. We are all co-creators with God-we are constantly creating our lives daily through our thoughts, words, and the choices we make.
Every physical creation is preceded by a mental creation. In fact, it is absolutely impossible to have any physical creation or manifestation without a mental creation in the mind of someone. Therefore, God-the Master Creator conceived us in His mind before He implanted us to be conceived in our mother’s womb.
YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON AND A SEASON
You are here for a reason and for a season. Your life has been pre-planned; pre-ordained; pre-designed and pre-destined for the fulfillment of a specific purpose. However, you have a mind and a will to choose your path or direction in life.
Without purpose, life becomes an endless tyrant of confusion. Where purpose leads passion follows. Purpose fashions the details of life; what you do or what you don’t do; the choice of association; the use of time; energy and resources. When the focus is broken, purpose becomes lost. Purpose discovery is having an awareness of where you are and your ultimate destination and the knowledge of the principles of getting there.
The place of purpose is your Power-Place
- it is the place where excitement overflows-you greet each day with excitement for the gift of life and another day to contribute to life.
- it is the place where ideas abound-you stay late at night working on ideas, eager to implement them.
- it is a place of servanthood; you serve humanity with your gifts and talents and the resources you have available.
- it’s a place of leadership; you influence the world with the investment of your personality and impact.
- it’s a place of joy; your heart overflows with joy for living to give.
- it’s a place where you are celebrated; your heart abounds with gratitude for the privilege of living to love.
- it’s a place of fulfillment; you are content with the quality of your life.
FLOW STATE…STRUGGLE ZONE
You move into the struggle zone when you move out of the flow state. You are in the flow state when you flow in your gifts and talents doing what you were born to do.
Life becomes a cycle of struggle when you function outside your life’s work, engaging in a job that is out of sync with your passion. The world is easily hooked up to the superficial things of life and readily cut off from the eternal verities of life. Consequently, we get trapped in materialistic existence rather than being liberated into a life of meaning.
We pursue after money rather than living in pursuit of purpose. We look for a job to pay our bills rather than looking inwards to maximize our potential in order to impact the world. We live in an ever-increasing cycle of mediocrity that stunts our growth and development and leaves us as average in the arena of life.
When we chase the wind, we will have a whirlwind. When we chase our destiny, we choose to leave clues of the imprint of our destiny upon the world. Money is important but the purpose is vital. Money making without making a life (purposeful living) results in empty living.
Potential maximization embedded in purposeful living produces financial surplus and impactful living. True prosperity flows through living out purpose. And fulfillment is the outcome of living out purpose.
Society emphasizes, finding a job rather than discovering your purpose. We are expected to work a job rather than work on our dreams. Society endorses financial security and rules out accomplishing purpose.
Never fall into the trap of conforming to the expectation of the norm and never fall for the illusion of living in comparison with the crowd. Never settle for anything rather seize the best that life has to offer.
You have gifts and talents that are exclusively yours but made to inclusively benefit the world. Transform yourself into the unique person you were created to be that exudes excellence and pre-eminence. You are a masterpiece but you will require a mustard seed faith to step out into the reality of living your dreams.
THE HEART OF SERVING – THE HEART OF TRUE SUCCESS
In the domain of life why we do what we do determines our reward and not merely what we do. Our gifts; talents and abilities will be appealing, impactful, and even life-transforming when the heart condition is right.
THE BELL’S STORY
Once upon a time, there lived an obscure college professor who had a wife that had a hearing problem. He passionately wanted to perfect a hearing device in order for his wife whom he loved greatly to be able to hear. He committed himself to this dream; investing every spare time and money to accomplish his dream.
However, he did not succeed in perfecting the hearing device. But something remarkable happened, Alexander Graham Bell succeeded in inventing the telephone by just moving two electrodes 1/1000 of an inch so they would touch each other in which Wilhelm Reiss slightly missed who had perfected a device for transmitting sound over wires but had given up years earlier.
Here’s the catch, Alexander Graham Bell, never set out in pursuit of fame and wealth. He had an all-consuming motive; love for his wife-desiring to help his wife overcome her hearing problem and as he set out to serve his wife with his gift, though he missed solving his wife’s problem he gained immortality by helping solve the problem of millions around the world by the invention of the telephone.
WHAT DRIVES YOUR LIFE?
What’s driving your life? Is it materialism; greed; fame; fear; approval and applause of people; jealousy; envy; hatred; bitterness; revenge or insecurity?
Until what is driving your life is unconditional love or a connection to God, whatever you tend to get will be short-lived and will leave you with an inner emptiness.
The amazing thing is that the more people you serve with the gift of your purpose, the more riches you will attract and the more influential you become. The point is: that service is the focus and every other beneficial thing is the by-product of the service.
What we do with a heart full of love will transcend the realm of time into eternity. And destiny can only be fulfilled when lived for service rather than status.
A heart that is not full with self but focused on meeting the needs of others is a life with meaning. Until you forget about yourself long enough to meet the needs of others you will forfeit your place in destiny.
If you are wise, you will forget yourself into greatness.
Forget your rights, but remember your responsibilities.
Forget your inconveniences, but remember your blessings.
Forget your accomplishments, but remember your debt to others.
Forget your privileges, but remember your obligations.
Follow the examples of Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln and forget yourself into greatness.
If you are wise, you will empty yourself into an adventure.
Remember the words of General Douglas MacArthur: There is no security on this earth. There is only opportunity.
Empty your days of search for security; fill them with a passion for service.
Empty your hours of the ambition for recognition, fill them with the aspiration for achievement.
Empty your moments of need for entertainment; fill them with the quest for creativity.
If you are wise, you will lose yourself into immortality.
Lose your cynicism, lose your doubts.
Lose your fears. Lose anxiety. Lose your unbelief.
Remember these truths: A son must soon forget himself to be long remembered.
He must empty himself in order to discover a fuller self.
He must lose himself to find himself.
Forget yourself into greatness.
Empty yourself into adventure.
Lose yourself into immortality4
–WILLIAM ARTHUR WORD.
Do we have the ownership mentality rather than the stewardship mindset, using all our monies and resources in a self-serving and self-promoting way? Are you living to make money? Or are you living to make a life?
We’ve been given stewardship over the earth and not ownership of the earth. Obviously, we never brought anything into the world and definitely, we will not take anything when we leave the world.
Our gifts, talents, abilities, and resources have been entrusted to us. We are to effectively manage our resources using it for the service of God and mankind. The place of purpose is the place of stewardship and accountability, where you step up into the hall of destiny to create a legacy. We are to serve humanity rather than money; when we serve money it enslaves; when we serve humanity money serves us.
A heart to serve is an embodiment of a large heart where pettiness cannot survive in it. In the place of purpose, there are many rooms of service but there is no room for comparison, criticism, and competition.
In the place of purpose, we authentically and uniquely deploy our gifts and our resources in a given area of specialty to solve problems. The focus is on maximizing our potentials to solve as many problems as we can; to make the world a better place that we cannot afford to lose our place in destiny by playing the comparison and competition game.
People who are not busy-bodies in other people’s business are busy doing their business of positively impacting lives. They mind their business and their business inspires the minds of people.
We are human beings rather than human doings. Our identity should not be based on what we do rather our identity should be rooted in who we are-our connection to God.
When our identities are rooted in God, we gain freedom from the captivity of getting our worth and value from the approval of others enabling us to serve with a heart of service rather than serve with eye-service. You will always grow above bounds when you live from the heart of service.
THE ACT OF SERVICE
Life is not about taking first place; life is all about finding your place in destiny. Your place in destiny is the place where you engage in the act of service. And the act of service is where greatness is fashioned.
Availability rather than convenience is the watchword of service. Look out for needs to meet as if your success depended on it because it does. When you look out for self, you get wrapped up in problems. When you look out for people to meet their needs you get immersed in solutions. And solutions mark your destiny for a difference.
The act of service is responding to needs quickly and readily.
“My brother, Paul, is a surgeon. He spends a lot of time in Africa operating on needy people way back in the middle of nowhere. It’s a remote village, hundreds of miles from the nearest city. The clinic is just a small tin building that barely has electricity, minimal medical supplies, and only one doctor. On a recent visit, a young man came in the middle of the night who had been gored by an elephant tusk, right through his midsection. Paul took him back to the makeshift operating room to hopefully spare his life. The problem was that there was no blood in the blood supply with which to replenish the man. Paul could have thought, too bad. I’d love to help you, but you’re going to need several pints of blood. It’s just not your lucky day. Before Paul operated, he took thirty minutes and gave his blood. He operated on the young man, then replenished the blood the man had lost with his own blood.”
That’s truly a manifestation of the act of service.
Dedication to service is your distinction for greatness. Dedication to ordinary service births extraordinary accomplishments. Faithfulness in service is a great payoff to a life of distinction. Can you be counted on in your commitment to serve? Or can you be counted out of your commitment to serve?
The enemy of service is high-mindedness or pride. The ally of service is low-mindedness or humility. Self-promotion never performs an act of service. It is in the heart of humility that the place of significance emerges. Drawing attention to self is erecting a monument for yourself that is subject to decay.
Giving attention to service is building a legacy which time cannot erase.
THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU
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About the Author
Udeme Archibong is a prolific writer, an astute communicator and a model of excellence. Her writings have made profound impact on thousands of lives around the world through her blog: successrecipeblog.com, which has followings in over 70 countries in continents of the world.
She is a Self-Development Expert, who passionately works towards helping people maximize their destinies.
At some point, she was a motivational columnist, writing Success Recipe and Destiny Catalyst, for two Nigerian national newspapers, Vanguard and ThisDay, respectively. She is the initiator of the Revolution Series Seminars