A good person or a success?

I work for a nonprofit. Is it enough to be “good” or should I be striving for success?

You can aim for both, says our elder. But I’d always put the spiritual ahead of the physical.


Dear EWC

Hello, I am a 23-year-old artistic person but I feel I don’t know how to achieve my potential. I feel kind of lost in a sense. I have so many interests that I don’t know where to go. I would try to pursue my art but I don’t know how to get started with that either and it seems I have a block. The art doesn’t flow as quickly as I’d like but I’ve always been complimented on my talent. I’ve also always been told I’m mature for my age and that I have a good head on my shoulders. I feel I’m a good person but I have nothing to show for it. Maybe I’m focusing on the wrong things. I have an apartment, a wonderful boyfriend and a dog that I love. Shouldn’t I be happy? I don’t feel fulfilled though because I always assumed I would have figured out my purpose by now or that I’d have something at least going in that direction. I know this is typical for a 20-something but it’s hard to let go of wanting more for myself. Right now, I work a job where I give to others. I work for a nonprofit and I feel good about doing that but it probably won’t be a long-term career. It’s technically volunteer work for Americorps so I could only do it for two years anyway. I’m not sure where to go from here. Should I feel OK because I’m trying to be a good person or should I be striving for more success? It’s so confusing to me. Thank you for listening, I hope your advice is helpful.


Salvador replies

Sit down and take a close look at your goals, and match them with your skills and abilities.

In order to have a purpose in life, you have to set goals. Those goals have to match what you think is your purpose in life. You do so by finding what is important to you. There are two angles to consider when you evaluate the points I mentioned.

Your question “Should I feel OK because I’m trying to be a good person or should I be striving for success?” My answer is that you can strive for both. You have to find a balance because both are needed for you to succeed in life – spiritually and physically.

For the physical part, strive to succeed in things like career, wealth, and societal expectations.

In intrinsic goals, do things that affect your personal inner satisfaction, helping others, society, and yourself.

As you can see, both are part of you.

I suggest for your physical (or external needs) to take a Myers-Briggs personality test. This test gives you a better picture of what you are best suited to do in your professional life. You get a better idea of what types of careers you will most likely enjoy. However, I stress that this test only tells you what strengths match for specific fields. That doesn’t mean that you can’t explore other areas. You can do so fully aware that you have to work harder to achieve in those other fields if that is what you want to do. You can find this test online. Take it from two or three different websites so you can get a clearer picture. Also, do not take tests that charge you. There are free tests that give you a good picture.

As far as the spiritual part of you, I suggest you sit down and examine goals that give you inner satisfaction because you are a good person. You do so by looking for ways to help others. In other words, you are aiming for things that go beyond material success. Do you want to help others in your community, animals, the environment? I can go on and on. Also, you can be a better human being by learning how to treat people at home, at work, and in the community. If you are active with a religious organization, go to a spiritual counselor for help keeping a spiritual compass that keeps you focused in life.

You ask me what is more important. I believe it is the spiritual side. An explanation would give you a better understanding of why I say this. I served 32 years in the Army. Along the way, I met many soldiers that concentrated on their careers at the expense of being more attentive to their families or being a better husband or wife, a better parent, and treating others better. They concentrated a lot on achieving success to get promoted as soon as possible and get to a high-ranking position. They said they did it for the families. I do not doubt that part. However, they went to such an extreme that their families were neglected emotionally and spiritually by not sharing many family experiences.

Some ended up being divorced by their spouses, and their children felt neglected.

When I attended a two-week Army course, this topic came into the discussion. I told some of those soldiers that at the end of their careers and lives, all those plaques, trophies, and diplomas they have from their Army career wouldn’t mean much when they get old, sick, and are alone. If they nurture their lives by being good and loving to their families and others, those people will be there for them in old age. Also, they will feel great satisfaction when their children are good people because of their example. Also, your spouse will cherish you. Look around at people who do not have much in material things but are happy living their lives with their families, helping others in the community, and having a huge group of friends.

That’s my take. Work on both areas, but my recommendation is to give higher priority to being a good person. You can do that and still achieve a lot. Many have done so.

I hope this reply helped you and that it all works for the best. Again, sit down and write down your goals and values. Plan them so that you have a clear path in life. Right now, you seem to be wandering like a ship without a rudder. Find that lighthouse that will guide you through the rough waves in life because you have a clear objective.

Article #: 479727

Category: Self-Improvement

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