A Successful Life?


What is this picture? A stock market graph?  A mountain range? The mouth of a shark? No, it is simply my bad drawing of life.
Life goes up and down, not straight up. This is not life:

not life

The process is quite simple. Life, as everyone knows, has its ups and downs. Yet, hardly a day goes by when I fail to hear someone exclaim that things are “wrong” because something is awry in his or her life. That is normal!

I have always made it a point to look up when situations are not up to par, because I know the next stage is the ascent once again. In Nature, it appears we must experience pain to understand pleasure. Perhaps, it should not be that way, but who are we to say.

There are three concepts that have worked for me in life, so I feel quite successful. Let me share them:
1. Never look back, no matter how difficult it might be, because the past is loaded with regrets. As human beings, we tend to look back to sad memories, rather than happy ones, and we take away from the present.

2. I am not what I do. As a man who loves adventure and challenge, I have made it a point to earn my living multi-tasking. I have always ventured into a variety of occupations simultaneously, and believe me when I state that I started at the bottom. What makes me who I am has little to do with occupation. Being a plumber, lawyer, taxi driver, or rocket scientist is not who you are. It is simply something you do. I am more than that.

3. Never strive for mediocrity. Isn’t it a waste of life to make a half-hearted effort at anything? Does it work in the employment world? Or in marriage? Or in child rearing? How about in sports, dieting, communication, swimming lessons, or listening? We hear with our ears. We listen with our minds.
Are you currently in life’s valley? That’s good news, because the next level is the mountaintop. Start climbing.



  1. I once was someone who had been conditioned to believe that if things were going well, then I had obviously overlooked something and the worst was probably lurking right around the corner. I didn't like being this way at all and yet it was imperative to my survival to always be on the lookout.
    Now I have grown to understand that the worst things in life can sometimes be the things that we look back on as life changing in such a good way that we end up grateful for the trouble.
    Still there are the truly sad things that have no rhyme or reason and never end up good. It is just a fact of life that as much as I would like to think that everything works out for the best, there are still those extremely painful things that just never make sense at all.
    Just as I try not to dwell on the bad and sad, it is important to feel free to express those feelings and also be there for others who are going through something unfortunate. While we all can cope it is important to share the human experience. I never would want to 'poo-poo' someones experience and yet I do not wish to enable someone to dwell in the down times. It is a balance and sometimes hard to find that balance depending on our own specific life experiences.
    Be careful that you don't assign your wonderful ability to move on and deal with things to everyone. I think we are all different for a reason and just as nobody should constantly be bringing people down, neither should anyone over simplify or pass over what someone else has the heart to share. Sometimes people just want to be heard and know that someone else is listening.
    Don't get me wrong: Your advice is solid- Looking back is overall a waste of time unless you need to understand something in order to get beyond it. I cannot agree more with your idea that we are not what we do! It's why I don't do well in my husbands native northeast. I am too free spirited to be pigeonholed and it seems some people can't deal with that. I am just as happy on the days that I am doing menial things as the days that I am doing things that are deemed 'important'. I often don't even know what people I meet 'do' for a living for a very long time. I am more interested in who they really are. Never striving for mediocrity is also great advice. We should all push ourselves to do things that scare us a little. It makes life real and special.

  2. This reminds me of ... You can see the glass half full or half empty :) nice post :)

  3. I think the only good reason to look back is to say, "I made it through that disaster. I can make it through this one, too." I am strong. At the time, that thing seemed insurmountable, but I made it through, so I was wrong. Right now, this thing SEEMS insurmountable. Seems is the key word here. I need to remember that I made it through what I thought was insurmountable before and I WILL do it again, because I am a survivor. If you are going to look back, look back on the GOOD things.

    I think we are the things we have overcome. They have made us who we are. They have helped us to succeed. But we are no more our jobs, than our bodies are our cars. I think we are what we do in terms of our choices. Do we take responsibility? Do we love well? Do we work hard at whatever job we have? Do we not give up when the times get hard? When we fall down do we get up again? These are the things we DO.

    Well no ever admires the guy who aims to come in fifth. On the other hand, sometimes when the race is long and hard just FINISHING it is a win. And that is not mediocre. It all depends on where you are. However, that is not mediocrity. That is giving it all you have. That being said, the people we will always admire most is the people who had nothing, the odds were against them, everyone said they would never be successful, and they continued to try. And they succeeded. Why? Because their inner voice told them not to give up. They knew they were special. They had something to offer the world and they were not going to quit. Once they were successful, all those same people were their BIGGEST fans. Go figure. I can't think of who said it right now, but, "Big shots are little shots who keep shooting."

  4. Some things I have thought about: existing on one level is boring. I like the shake ups. In my head, I am we. "We" has a lot of identities; I like them all. I cannot be nailed down.

  5. Jasmine: I don't disagree. I just share what works for me.

    ayala: Always half full.

    Robin: Winning or losing is of no consequence. It is all about an individual's journey through life.

    Linda: I could not agree more.

  6. A nice positive post. I specially like your point about mediocrity.

  7. Jenny: That's the key. We don't seem to stress that any more in our country.

  8. You always put things so well! All I can add is keep a box of crayons handy, and just keep coloring your world everyday! Enjoy your weekend JJ!

  9. Karen: Thank you. There is nothing wrong with lovin' life.

  10. Good timing since a few days ago was a low point for my family. Now I'm looking up, thanks to you, hopeful that things are on the upswing.

  11. Galen: I am sorry to hear of your troubles, but things are always on the upswing. Best to you.

  12. Hi JJ .. life has its ups and downs doesn't it - sometimes they're worse than others .. I'm sure I'm on the up and up .. so much ahead to enjoy and I don't look back thankfully ..

    Cheers Hilary

  13. nice post , the drawing of my life would be something like "downhill slope " sigh

  14. Goku: Then turn around, look up, and take a step.


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