Defining Success with Adam Hills, Ryan Gosling and The Notebook

It’s my birthday soon. And I’m blessed to be surrounded by lots of generous-hearted friends and family who keep asking me what I want for my birthday. It’s got me thinking about what I really do want – not just for my birthday, but for a successful life.


1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
How do you define success? The dictionary tells us it is a noun and it’s about achieving your goals.
Dale Carnegie (the wildly successful author of “How to win friends and influence people”) defined success this way:
Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”
So, I guess the real question is, what do you want?

For some, like the lead character in The Notebook, Allie Hamilton, even imagining a successful outcome is hard, let alone actually achieving it.

Our main problem is problems.

If we let problems define our desires, it’s a problem.

Often when people ask us what we want, we’re not thinking about what we want at all. We’re thinking about what we don’t want. Allie was thinking about what she didn’t want – hurting other people.

When Jesus met blind Bartimaeus he asked him the same question that Noah asked Allie in The Notebook.

“So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Mark 10:51

If I was blind, I would probably answer the same way. If I knew that the Son of God wanted to do something for me – the same guy who could do supernatural stuff like walk on water, feed 5,000 and even raise people from the dead, I’d definitely be thinking of something spectacular and miraculous!

If Jesus had put a price on it and said it would cost me a months mortgage payment or even that I’d have to donate my right foot to Adam Hills, I’d still say “I want to see!”

But the thing is, Jesus didn’t ask Bartimaeus just what problems he didn’t want, he asked him “what do you want Me to do for you?”

What if Bartimaeus had defined success differently?

What if he said “I want to see, AND I want an ocean view apartment at BlueWater Scarborough, I want a white BMW, I want Sydney to win the AFL Grand Final, I want a plane ticket to London, a year’s supply of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate and the entire Cold Chisel/Jimmy Barnes collection on iTunes”?

Because that’s more in the miracle zone that Jesus was capable of – and coincidentally a lot more like my birthday list.

Oh and although Bartimaeus might not have wanted it, I also want Ryan Gosling begging me to stay with him, because he wants me, forever, all of me. Yup, I want to define success and happiness by the miracles in life.

So if you’re one of my generous-hearted friends – feel free to put that in your Notebook.



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