When it comes to how we measure our success as men, many of us default to using the wrong tools.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 how we measure our success as men, many of us default to using the wrong tools. 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 avoid at all costs.
But before we discuss the best tool, let’s examine the 3 tools men should avoid using.
Tool #1: 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 outrun, out race, out chase, and be the fastest in our class, at our school, or on our block. And when we became men, we believed success was determined the same way: by how fast we could achieve a goal.
You can achieve something fast, but if you get it before you’re ready for it, you potentially could 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: 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?”
The truth is, we eventually learn that it’s not about quantity, but about quality. Because you can buy, have, and get more than you’ll ever need in a lifetime, but if it costs you your relationships, time, and self-respect, then it really wasn’t worth the price.
Tool #3: 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, since the beginning of time, men have measured their success based on size.
However, even the largest tree will fall in a weak storm if its roots are not planted deep enough. 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. “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 #4: A Compass
Think about life as being a mountain. Does it really matter how fast you climb if you’re moving in the wrong direction? Does it really matter how many mountains you 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.
Sound off: In what areas do you compare yourself to other men or fathers?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What does success in life mean to you?”