The analogy I’m going to use here is from the Garden of Eden – the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. Let me share what I believe is the difference when it comes to success, achievement and life in general using this analogy.
Living from the tree of life – when you live with peace, happiness, humility, ease, contentment, joy, satisfaction, compassion, patience, understanding, charity and yes success and achievement.
Living from the tree of knowledge – when you live with fear, regret, disappointment, stress, anxiety, discouragement, competition, a now mindset, anger, blame, the need for control, pride, ego and yes achievement and success.
So, the question could be - if either way you can achieve success why not go with the tree of knowledge? Let me explain – from my inadequacy when it comes to spiritual living.
Hundreds of surveys over the years have proven that success and wealth do not improve happiness – yes they can improve lifestyle but there is often a disconnect between lifestyle and happiness and inner peace. And ask people what they really want in life and the answer is unanimous – everyone wants to be happy and most people are chasing what they believe will achieve it – more income, more power, more fame, more control, more wealth and more accomplishment.
Let me be clear I am not against wealth, achievement, hard work, long hours, sacrifice and greater income, but the question still remains – what is the price you might pay when chasing these with little or no regard for the ultimate indirect consequences on health, relationships, fun, and the overall quality of life?
I have worked my entire life in the pursuit of success, but as I look back over the many years (too many to admit) I have to wonder – what did I miss as I chased success? And – was it worth it?
Stuff, money, fame, power etc. come and go as nothing in life is permanent and everything changes and is subject to immediate loss whether the loss of a loved one or the value of your IRA. Thousands of people every year lose their homes to floods, hurricanes, fire and any number of disasters. Did they see them coming? Did they predict that they would have to start over with little or nothing? I doubt it.
During the past year I lost five more friends whose time it was to move on. Their age range was between 55 and 80 and I’m still here. Why, I often ask God, what’s left for me to do that is a part of Your plan? Well, to be honest, He never answers that question but does indirectly say, “You are still here so I’m not finished with you yet.”
Climbing the tree of life is no guarantee you will live a long life, achieve all your dreams or have all that you want or need in life. Climbing the tree of knowledge offers the same potential outcomes – but no guarantees - so the real question is – while you are still here – how do you want to live, how do you want to define life and when your time to leave comes - will you be able to say – “I finished the race, I fought the good fight, I kept the faith?”