One day I was speaking to a young man who wanted to be a professional ball player. I was encouraging of his dream and truly hoped he would make his dream come true. I also said to him that even if he did not become a ball player he would make a great coach one day. I encouraged him to broaden his definition of success, to change what winning would look like.
John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA Bruins said:
Success is the peace of mind which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you were capable of becoming.
A few weeks ago, we ended the Torah. Moses dies looking into a land he can never enter. I often wonder if Moses felt like a success. I am not sure he did. I have a feeling that he felt like a failure because he was not allowed to enter the promised land. His feeling of failure stemmed from what the promised land represented. To him it represented his inability to become the best he was capable of becoming. Moses lacked peace of mind because in his mind he felt he could have been better in his life. He could have been a better husband, a better leader, a person who did not lose his cool so easily.
Moses had a problem most of us have. Moses needed to broaden his definition of success. Moses needed to look at his successes to gain peace of mind, not his failure. Perhaps if Moses had focused on what he was able to accomplish he would have felt the peace of mind that comes from thinking of yourself as successful. After all, he became a public speaker despite a lisp. He became a leader of an entire people. He became one who was able to know God face to face. He lacked peace of mind because he was too wrapped up in what he was unable to become, as opposed to what he had become.
We might not always be capable of becoming what we want, but if we look at our lives in the proper way, we might realize that we have become what we needed to be. We have become what we were capable of becoming. We need to realize, as Moses was unable to do, that we are a success because we did our best. Broaden your definition of success, look at your wins not your losses, and keep doing the best you can.