Success and Young People (Part 1)

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” -1 Timothy 4:12

As we talk about making every moment count, my thoughts turn to the young people of today. I have a heart for high school and college students…I love talking to them, hearing about their thoughts, dreams, and burdens.

When I was a student, I was insecure and perpetually lost. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, although most of the time, I pretended like I knew. :-D We all talked about how we just wanted to make a difference in the world, but we all felt like our lives back then were just about preparing to make a difference. What I’ve learned throughout the years is that you can already do awesome things and make a difference TODAY, no matter how young you are. The sad part is that not every kid knows that. Or some may have heard it, but they don’t believe it.

There’s a John Maxwell quote that I almost always bring up when I do youth trainings:

“Success is knowing your purpose, growing to your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”

I always ask the students, “Do you believe that you can call yourself successful today?” Half of them say no, half of them say yes jokingly. I love Maxwell’s definition because it says that all of us have the potential to be successful everyday. He stresses that success relates to a journey, not a destination. Too often, people equate success with achievements, awards, financial status, marital status, etc. When we peg it that way, it often feels like we’re chasing after the wind. “Meaningless!” King Solomon says. When we get to where we think we wanted to go, there’s always more to chase after. It gets tiring and we end up investing so much in those “somedays” that never seem to come.

Maxwell breaks it down nicely. I like how he defines success with these 3 things:

1) Knowing your purpose – there really is merit to focusing and knowing where you’re going. God has a will for our lives, and the more we’re in sync with His will, the more effective we are in our service, and the better off we’ll be.

2) Growing to your maximum potential – I like how Maxwell phrases it this way. He doesn’t say “maximizing your potential”, because I think living everyday to our maximum potential is quite a high standard, and realistically, we fall short. Rather, he says that everyday we can GROW to our maximum potential. That means learning, stepping out of our comfort zones, pursuing excellence. There’s always room to grow!

3) Sowing seeds that benefit others – I like this because it doesn’t tell us that everyday we have to big and grand acts of service, because again, realistically, we fall short. The important part here is “sowing seeds.” It reminds me that there is no such thing as a small task or a small act of service! It’s easy to be careless when it comes to the seemingly small and mundane things, but I have to keep reminding myself of this principle and I have to remember to be faithful even with the seemingly little things because these are the seeds that we need to sow. Can’t bear fruit if we don’t sow the seeds!

In my next post, I’ll tell you more about some pretty awesome young people who–in my opinion–are already living successfully at their age. I have to run out now, but just wanted to start this day with this post!

Will you be successful today?

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