It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most.

Columnist David Brooks recently penned a great piece about how young graduates, generally speaking, embrace meaningful work rather than careers that make them happy. Here are a few clips from his article titled It’s Not About You:
Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life. A relative suffers from Alzheimer’s and a young woman feels called to help cure that disease. A young man works under a miserable boss and must develop management skills so his department can function. Another young woman finds herself confronted by an opportunity she never thought of in a job category she never imagined. This wasn't in her plans, but this is where she can make her contribution.

Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.

The graduates are also told to pursue happiness and joy. But, of course, when you read a biography of someone you admire, it’s rarely the things that made them happy that compel your admiration. It’s the things they did to court unhappiness — the things they did that were arduous and miserable, which sometimes cost them friends and aroused hatred. It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most.
That last phrase is one that struck me deeply. So often we all (read that "I") chase after that elusive butterfly of happiness when it is excellence that we should be after. And the irony of it is that in the end we are happy knowing that we have done our very best.

1 comment:

  1. When I was a young girl, before the call of the Lord for ministry, I wanted to be an Artist. That would make me happy..being an artist. My father, a very hard working man, saw art as a hobby not a vocation, and encouraged me to get my "secretarial" skills so I could get a real job.

    Shortly after that, I heard a Missionary, and felt my heart being called to full time Christian Service, thus left the desire for the Artist behind, and went to Biola Bible College, met my dearest, and have shared ministry with him close to 50 years.

    But I tell you this story, Bob because if you delight yourself int he Lord, he will give you the desires of your heart....and all these years I have use the talent he has given me andd shared my art and cards as part of my ministry. And now in retirement.... I can paint as often as I want too.

    I think I have the best of both worlds.


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