The Positive Psychology of Success | Motivational Podcasts

Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, inspirational fashion for a better world. Learn more at BookofZen.com. Today’s reading was edited and adapted from The Psychology of Success by Newton N. Riddle, published in 1909.

There are elements of genius in every man and woman that if awakened and trained will enable them to do something worthwhile. There are stores of energy and ambition in every brain that if unlocked and given expression in action will supply the force necessary to bring things to pass.

There are germs of goodness and divinity in every soul that if quickened by love and wrought into character will enable them to live a clean, self-respecting, moral life. Awaken the genius, unlock the energies, quicken the divinity in a person, change them from negative to positive, combine their intellect, energy, and con- science in harmonious expression, and you have given to that person the positive psychology of success.

What is Success? What constitutes success? If we are to see things alike, we must have the same viewpoint. Briefly, success is the accomplishment of anything attempted. But we must get a larger view of the subject. We must measure success first from the viewpoint of the individual, and second from their relation to society.

We must measure success in the individual not wholly by their objective achievements in the few years that belong to the earth life, but in the light of the fact that the influence of their life extends far into the future. We must measure the success of the individual as related to humanity, not merely by their personal influence upon their family, their neighbors, and their age, but in the light of heredity, social evolution, and humanity’s relation to God and eternity.

We have lacked perspective in our current view of success. Much that we have called success has really been failure. To do much work and accomplish little is not success. To pile up a fortune out of other people’s earnings without producing any real wealth is not success. To acquire wealth or fame, or to accomplish some great undertaking at the expense of health, conscience, or character is not success. To win out in business or profession, yet neglect wife and children, soul growth, or civic duties, is not success.

How, then, shall we measure success? By the honest work done; by the money earned or wealth produced; by the knowledge acquired, culture attained, and character realized; by the joy experienced and the happiness given to others; by the influence exerted and the service rendered in harmony with the law of human progress.

If success includes material prosperity, soul growth, and service to others, there must be some way devised to attain all of these at the same time. There is a very generally accepted idea that if one gives themselves fully to their vocation and succeeds in material things, they must neglect the spiritual. This idea is fundamentally wrong.

The activities necessary for material prosperity, if prompted by unselfish motives, instead of being restrictive to moral and spiritual growth, are conducive to such growth. The fact that most persons who give themselves wholly to their work become so engrossed in it that they fail in moral and spiritual attainment, is no proof whatsoever that such a result is necessary.

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