Success vs. Faith – Separate But Equal??

I read an article recently where the author said that Success belonged to the secular world and Faith belonged to the spiritual world.  –What?? — Really?!?!

What do you think?

  • · Is Success only allowed, important, relevant in the secular world?
  • · Is Faith only allowed, important, relevant in the spiritual world (matters of spirit)?

It should be no surprise to you that I think success and faith co-exist in the same world- indeed I’d argue if they didn’t, our secular (material) world would be far worse off.

And I believe I’m in good company.  I have this quote by Gandhi in my office – “If I should find God in a Himalayan cave, I would proceed there immediately.  But I cannot find God apart from Humanity”.

Successful Spirituality

I think of success as accomplishing what you set out to do.  So with that broad definition, evangelists are successful when they win over a new convert.  Preachers are successful when they get people to focus on, remember, or surrender to God (Allah, Jehovah).   Buddhist monks are successful when they help initiates become more mindful and compassionate.  Shamans are successful when they heal an illness or complete a soul retrieval and integration. Jains are successful when they prevent the loss of a single bug.  And so on…

Faithful Daily Life

On the flip side, in order to be successful in the secular world – business, family, relationships – one needs faith in something.  Perhaps it’s faith in medicine, loved ones to do the right thing, people to be honest and kind. If you don’t have faith that your life will be good now or in the future, you’ll give up in despair.  If you don’t have faith that you can have caring, supportive relationships, you’ll withdraw from others.  Here, I’m defining faith as positive expectation, belief in a Higher Power or Benevolent Universe.

What’s Faith Got to Do With It?

I remember in graduate school my minister asked me a pivotal question that has served me over the years.  I was going through a challenging relationship at the time.  She asked – “What does your faith have to do with this?” Clearly she knew that faith played a role in our daily life, whether we are aware of it or not.

So, no I don’t think Success and Faith are two different worlds- separate but equal.  They are inextricably linked together.  We need both to move through our day, week, life.   They both are relevant and important to be better people, more loving and kind, more compassionate and forgiving – for our work, our family, our community.

Faith helps us move forward towards our goals.  Success helps us gauge how Faith is operating in our life.

How do you see Success and Faith connected in your life?  Do you think of them as separate?

Please share your comments below.  Let’s start a discussion on this.

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For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.

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