To Succeed Successfully

There is a saying that nothing succeeds like success. It can apply to individuals in business, in sports, in the arts, or any other field of human activity as well as to groups of people, governments, and nations. But is it always true?

We don't usually think of it at the moment of triumph, but success can sometimes be more harmful to us than failure... or be a miserable prelude to it. Unless it is won on a solid basis and handled with responsibility, success can be as ephemeral as "the bubble reputation" won in battle, referred to by Shakespeare, or as easily squandered as the inheritance of the prodigal son. Whole nations can rise to greatness and grandeur only to decline and fall, as the Roman Empire did.

Success is best won on a solid basis of lofty vision, honest labor, and true worth. Built on such a firm foundation, any measure of acclaim will not be interpreted as a signal to an individual or a nation that the privilege is now won to slack off in the effort to do better, to rest on past accomplishments, or to act without discipline or concern for the rights of others. Success calls for continued performance of higher than average caliber and carries with it the responsibility to maintain standards that will benefit all mankind. Unless success rests on noble ideals, those who achieve it cannot bear the weight of all that is demanded of them, or withstand the pressure of jealousy and competition that they are likely to encounter.

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Organic Disease—Healed by Life
September 26, 1977

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