There you are working diligently day by day, putting in long hours, showing up when all others are staying home. You’re treating people with dignity, respect, and love. You help the weak carry their burdens and rejoice with others. You serve, extend grace, and seek the right path.
Yet all is not as you would like. Projects fail. People are rude and hurtful. No one notices your efforts, and you’re passed over from a promotion.
You’ve come face to face with one of the realities of life: you can do everything right and still receive failure, disrespect, and injury in return. It happens all the time. Rarely a day goes by when good deeds are not met with reviling on one hand or indifference on the other.
What are you to do? Not treat others with kindness, not approach your work with diligence, not extend grace to others, not help the helpless, because there is a chance it won’t be returned in kind?
Do the reactions and nonreactions of others give you license to behave badly? Do they give you permission to abandon the right path?
You may not have control over how others respond, but you have 100% control over you. They don’t get to decide how you act, you do. They don’t get to make that decision for you. It’s on you.
Instead of being crushed by the world’s response, shift your focus. Focus on what you control. Ignore outcomes. They aren’t the measure of your success. Success isn’t defined that way because success cannot be something outside your control.
You must define success by things you control, not things external to you. Doing the right thing, working hard, meeting your personal standards. These are the things you control. Better still they are not dependent upon others. You get to make the call.
“Ambition,” Marcus Aurelius said, “means tying your well-being to what other people say or do…Sanity means tying it to your own actions.”
Why let externals determine if something is worth doing or not?
Define success by your effort. Did you give it all you have? Did you put good effort in? Did you take the bat off your shoulders and give it a swing? If you can answer yes to these questions, hold your head high.