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How eternally important is success?


MrSpruceMoose

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My question is how important is worldy success in the eternal scheme of things? Obviously we don't take material things with us. In the end it doesn't matter how much money you made or how far up the ladder you climbed. Or does it matter? 

One of the purposes of this life is to learn and grow. In this school of life, our lessons usually come in the form of challenges to overcome. Overcoming these challenges, big and small, is what makes us successful as human beings. And from these challenging experiences we learn and grow. So someone who is successful, affluent and influencial, in most cases got that way because of personal growth.  I'm not making an argument that a successful person has more of a place in the celestial kingdom than an unsuccessful person. However, nearly every apostle and prophet has been successful in the wordly sense each having their own outstanding careers. Their success in life no doubt qualified them to fulfill their callings as General Authorities. 

I guess what I'm trying to ask here is how concerned should someone be in achieving things in this life and being successful, in regards to spiritual growth and preparation for the next phase in our eternal journey?

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4 hours ago, MrSpruceMoose said:

My question is how important is worldy success in the eternal scheme of things? 

Not at all.

4 hours ago, MrSpruceMoose said:

One of the purposes of this life is to learn and grow. In this school of life, our lessons usually come in the form of challenges to overcome. Overcoming these challenges, big and small, is what makes us successful as human beings. And from these challenging experiences we learn and grow. So someone who is successful, affluent and influencial, in most cases got that way because of personal growth.  I'm not making an argument that a successful person has more of a place in the celestial kingdom than an unsuccessful person. However, nearly every apostle and prophet has been successful in the wordly sense each having their own outstanding careers. Their success in life no doubt qualified them to fulfill their callings as General Authorities. 

No, that's no what qualified them.   God choosing them qualified them.

4 hours ago, MrSpruceMoose said:

I guess what I'm trying to ask here is how concerned should someone be in achieving things in this life and being successful, in regards to spiritual growth and preparation for the next phase in our eternal journey?

You should be a good steward of the blessings the Lord has given you (which are not necessarily money).  But be a steward in the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man.

 

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Growth doesn't come from success, it comes for failing and picking one's self up.   I think it is important in a gospel sense to be useful to one's fellow men.   And yes, God has used the success of willing people to lift others and to further His work.   And yes, doing our personal best at whatever we determine to do, working hard, and living frugally (which is the only way to develop wealth) are smart things to do that benefit us in our road home.

But if our goal is "success" as the world views it, it only accidentally leads back to our Heavenly Parents:  Jesus said that it a rich person getting back to God was harder than a camel going through a needle (or some variant on that).

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6 hours ago, MrSpruceMoose said:

My question is how important is worldy success in the eternal scheme of things? Obviously we don't take material things with us. In the end it doesn't matter how much money you made or how far up the ladder you climbed. Or does it matter? 

One of the purposes of this life is to learn and grow. In this school of life, our lessons usually come in the form of challenges to overcome. Overcoming these challenges, big and small, is what makes us successful as human beings. And from these challenging experiences we learn and grow. So someone who is successful, affluent and influencial, in most cases got that way because of personal growth.  I'm not making an argument that a successful person has more of a place in the celestial kingdom than an unsuccessful person. However, nearly every apostle and prophet has been successful in the wordly sense each having their own outstanding careers. Their success in life no doubt qualified them to fulfill their callings as General Authorities. 

I guess what I'm trying to ask here is how concerned should someone be in achieving things in this life and being successful, in regards to spiritual growth and preparation for the next phase in our eternal journey?

Worldly success has so often been closely connected to unethical and frankly evil behavior that is typically a symbol of fundamental immorality.  There are some exceptional examples among the Brethren of men who declined to be corrupted by the system:  One LDS President had refused to compromise his morality, and thus was passed over for promotion to General in the Canadian Army.  Another Canadian, a man who later became a member of the LDS First Presidency, was known in the oil business as "Mr Integrity" due to his remarkable honesty.  One current member of the Twelve spent many years concerned with doing a righteous job, as a law school professor, a law school dean, a university president, and a supreme court justice, before being called as an apostle.  Yet none of those guys is more righteous than a humble neighbor of mine who has worked hard and been a good man all his life.  Some people have a brilliant and amazing resume, others kind of humdrum.  If you look beneath those surface impressions, you might find gold.  Success cannot be measured by prominence or affluence.  In fact, experience has taught us that we should be very suspicious of those who deliberately seek money and power.  The question must always be, How many people did they have to trample in order to get there?  How many lies and bribes did it take?

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I find fault with your definition of worldly success.

12 hours ago, MrSpruceMoose said:

So someone who is successful, affluent and influencial, in most cases got that way because of personal growth.  I'm not making an argument that a successful person has more of a place in the celestial kingdom than an unsuccessful person. However, nearly every apostle and prophet has been successful in the wordly sense each having their own outstanding careers. Their success in life no doubt qualified them to fulfill their callings as General Authorities. 

Even worldly success should not be measured by bank accounts and influence. Look at Harvey Weinstein and Hitler...they were rich, influencial and successful in their careers but woefully unsuccessful in the eyes of the world. I don’t buy into the prosperity gospel...too many unaccounted variables. Living the gospel does bring a measure of stability because if you keep the commandments, many of the unforced errors of life can be avoided but other pitfalls are out of ones control.

I know many “successful” people who in no way acquired their success through personal growth. 

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I may not have been clear enough in my original post. Allow me to clarify. By success, I mean the achieving of someone's goals. Goals like bench pressing 400 lbs, starting a successful business, becoming a millionare, climbing Mount Everest... things of that nature. I am not referring so much to the end results such as having that million dollars or being able to lift 400 lbs. I am referring more to the process of getting there. Obviously, someone can inherit a fortune, or be given a position of power and influence and have not earned it themselves. I'm not talking about people like them. Nor saying that wealth or power should be used as a standard of someones eternal value. My question was about the process of growth that someone must go through to achieve temporal success.

If you are in a place or situation that you do not want to be in and you have a vision of where you want to go, then there is personal improvement that you must go through to be able to get yourself to that place. If a small and sickly person wants to bench press 400 lbs, then they must strengthen themselves and their fortitude to be able to reach their goal. This is the personal growth and success I am referring to. My question which I meant to convey in my original post is does THAT kind of success have eternal relevance?

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I think I get what you are saying and I believe that success is important. I think rather than the end results of worldly goals being important it is the effort that goes into goals and often the end result that is important even though sometimes some may misunderstand think our goals are worldly when they are not.

The Book of Mormon is clear that, to borrow a line from one of my favorite books, "it is what you do with it that counts". If one is given the talents to make money, but is instead lazy then you are not, as Jane mentioned, a wise steward. If you have money and don't use it to help others you are also not a wise steward. Now this is all keeping in mind that some of the same talents that can be used to make money can be used to do other things. A wise steward will listen to the Lord to find out if he needs to make money to help others or needs to gather provisions to flea Jerusalem. The reason you are doing the goals makes a huge difference. 

Then, how you accomplish the goal is important like someone above. Just reading through King Benjamin's address again I wondered if he wasn't actually wealthy. It never occurred to me before. He is clear though that he worked with his own hands. Again, "it is what you do with it that counts". Do we make corrupt dealings with our time or do we work hard? 

So if working towards success and actual success is not an inherently bad thing then is it bad if we don't accomplish success. Here I think it  depends on what the Lord thinks is success. There is no doubt that without the success of the atonement it would be a bad thing. It was imperative that the Savior achieve success in it. Yet in other things he didn't seem, by some standards, to achieve success and I'm not talking about money. His sermons and his dealings with men did not change all of their hearts. I think most of us would say then this is a matter of agency. Christ could not be held accountable and declared unsuccessful in something that was not his responsibiliy to succeed in. Heavenly Father did not intend for Him to be responsible in controlling people.

It would be the same for other goals or missions. If Heavenly Father gives me a goal to make 1 million, part of which I can use for charity, and I don't achieve it because I spent too much time watching TV then it does matter that I didn't accomplish it. If Heavenly Father gives me a mission to learn from working hard to make money towards 1 million goal and I do learn and work hard then I have actually achieved the goal. 

So success is important. We just need to do it in the Lord's way, continue in the Lord's way when we accomplish it and make sure we are achieving success in what he was actually asking us which will be different for each of us.

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In many ways, this is a difficult question.  There are some people I know..who are successful in life and business..but they are not successful in personal relationships nor do they seem to be happy.  I can only imagine (from one who lives on content).it is what you do with the success and often times how you achieved in the first place.

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