One of the biggest thieves of peace is comparison. And it’s not so much that we make comparisons, but rather how and what we choose to compare ourselves by.
When it comes to our “success” as men, many of us usually default to using the wrong tools to measure our success. But when it comes to being a great husband, father, or spiritual leader, there’s really one reliable tool you can depend on to measure your success and three specific tools you should try to avoid at all cost.
But before we discuss the best tool, let’s examine the three tools men should try to avoid using:
Tool #1 to Avoid: A Speedometer
Never measure or compare your success as a man based on speed. Why? Because speed is not the most accurate way to measure progress. As boys, we were taught that it was best to out-run, out-race, out-chase, and be the fastest in our class, our school, or our block. And when we became men, we believed success was determined the same way: by how fast we could achieve a goal.
But the reality is, you can achieve things fast, but if you get it before you’re ready for it, you could potentially lose it even faster. Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience; I achieved a lot before I was 30: money, position, power, prestige, and privilege. But I lost it all before I reached the age of 40 because I didn’t take the time to develop the right character to keep it.
Tool #2 to Avoid: A Calculator
We use a calculator to measure our success when we ask ourselves, “How much can I achieve? How much can I accumulate? How much can I make? How many __________ can I buy?” Even to the point of asking, “How many women can I sleep with?” All of this, in an effort to validate our self-worth. “If I have this much, compared to others, then I must be a successful man, right?”
But the truth is, we eventually learn as men that it’s not about quantity but rather about quality. Because you can buy, have, and get more than you’ll ever need in a lifetime, but if it costs you in the form of relationships, time, and self-respect, then it really wasn’t worth the price.
Tool #3 to Avoid: A Ruler
Bigger is better, right? Size matters, right? The answer is yes – and yes, IF we choose to measure our success as men by how large our possessions are compared to others. Is my home larger than yours? My boat? My position? My net worth? My influence? From muscles to money, it seems like since the beginning of time, men have measured their success based on size.
However, in reality, even the largest tree will fall in a weak storm if its roots are not planted deep enough. Personally, I’ve been vertically challenged my entire life, and I used to be self-conscious about my height. When asked how tall I was, I’d always add an extra inch. But now, a lot older and a little wiser, when asked how tall I am, I tell people the truth. I say, “65 inches tall, but I’m 6-ft deep.”
So, what’s a better, more reliable tool to use to accurately measure your success as a man?
Tool #1 to Use: A Compass
Think about life as being a mountain. Does it really matter how fast you climb it if you’re moving in the wrong direction? Does it really matter how many mountains you’re able to climb if you’re climbing them for the wrong reasons? And does it really matter how big the mountain is if you’re climbing the wrong mountain?
A compass is all about direction. As men, we should always check our direction. Are you moving closer to the place you want to be? Are you moving closer to becoming the man, husband, father, and spiritual leader you want to be? Or are you moving farther away from your desired destination?
Because in the end, it doesn’t matter how fast you go if you’re going in the wrong direction. It doesn’t matter how much you have if it cost you more than you can afford to lose. And it doesn’t matter how big it is if it’s just more of the wrong thing.