This summer I met my friend at a Barnes & Nobles near his house. As we were looking through the shelves of books, we both noticed one thing: Many of the titles had been on a bestseller’s list, and a great deal had topped the literary charts.
“Is it that easy to write a bestselling book?” I had asked him. I still wonder about that.
Success is elusive, and what constitutes success is constantly changing. People spend their entire lives seeking fame and fortune. Is money and power really all that important?
Too many people get everything that they wish for, and never give back. There are thousands of homeless, people starving in this world, and we forget about them too often. Success, when comparing to compassion, is simple. Caring about the world and looking outside yourself is one of the most difficult things to do, and we don’t do it often enough.
The little things do matter. The smiles you give to a stranger, the tears you wipe away, and hugs you give — it’s those things that will make you happy, and those things that will make you truly feel good about yourself. I don’t think anyone on top of the world will feel that way without someone to love them.
Would I like to be one of those bestselling authors on the shelf? Of course. Writing is a part of me, and I need it as much as air. But would I ever trade that dream for any one of my friends? The answer, for me, is no. Success is fleeting; in the end, I know that money is not what I will be thankful for.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.