When The Bank Account Is Full But The Soul Is Lacking
It’s second nature for many people to toil endlessly to achieve what the world at large considers a successful life.Yet success often is often fleeting and sometimes requires us to make decisions that aren’t in our best interests, says Frank P. Daversa, author of the book “Spirituality in the 21st Century.”
“How many times has a ‘successful’ person turned down a cherished pleasure or been unable to spend time with family for the sake of a business meeting or a late night at the office?” he asks. “How many influential people have sold their souls to the devil to get where they are?”
Interestingly, highly successful people may not be that out of step with one principle that often defines spirituality – the belief in God or a higher power, Daversa says. Polls regularly reveal that the vast majority of the world’s population – better than 80 percent – follows some sort of belief system, so it’s likely a large percentage of successful people do as well, Daversa says.
But on a more practical level, there are four other fundamental principles of spiritual enlightenment that may or may not mesh well with what many people would define as success, he says. Those principles are:
• Complete your formal education.It’s difficult to approach enlightenment without understanding how the world works, Daversa says. Indications are that many successful people, though certainly not all, do live up to this principle. In the United States, the households with the highest educational achievement also tend to be the ones with the highest household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
• Learn more about yourself, your health and your mental well-being.Self-discovery and self-realization are vital to nurturing our inner selves, Daversa says. Taking care of our physical bodies is equally important. That’s a mixed bag for successful people. Some are well developed intellectually, emotionally and spiritually, but many “have difficulty conquering their personal demons,” he says. They often are burdened by scandal or experience marital problems. Some even suffer from drug addiction. “You can argue that the general population does as well, but that’s the point,” Daversa says. “Successful people are no better in this regard.”
• Learn more about the needs of others.Helping our fellow humans places us on a path to self-realization, Daversa says. “To their credit, many wealthy people give generously to charity and create or manage their own charitable foundations,” he says. But others are not as giving in critical ways. Many CEOs oppose the minimum wage that would allow their employees to live above the poverty line, he says, and greed led Wall Street bankers to manage investments recklessly, which resulted in the Great Recession and caused millions to suffer. “Apparently, learning more about the needs of others is not a prerequisite for becoming successful,” Daversa says.