The Thought for the Day – Marvin Hamlisch

The main journey is to find happiness, not to find success. – Marvin Hamlisch


Marvin Hamlisch was an American composer and conductor. He is one of only two people – fellow composer Richard Rogers is the other – to win Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony awards plus the Pulitzer Prize. By any measure, Hamlisch was one of the very best there was at what he chose to do, a man who did what he was meant to do with his life, and would have done so had he passed his life as a church’s music director.

One of life’s great missions for anyone is to define success. Clearly, in this context, Hamlisch was talking about critical and commercial success, because he offers success as a contrast to happiness even though happiness and success usually accompany each other.

One of our favorite definitions of success was provided by a basketball coach named John Wooden who said success was peace of mind that came from knowing you had become the best you were capable of becoming. Our experience is that is also a good definition of happiness: you set a goal and when you’ve become your very best in pursuit of that goal, whether or not you actually attain that goal sometimes becomes secondary. You’ve become your very best and once we know we have that in us what else do we need to know about ourselves?

Our own definition is success is living the life you were meant to live. Regardless of your views on an afterlife, whether you believe in heaven or hell or reincarnation or that you will merely be reverting back to dust when you die, you must acknowledge this existence is our only shot at our current human form. It is incumbent on us to get the most out of it. We do not want to be middle aged, or even older, and be looking back at dreams we should have chased.

We should chase as many dreams as we can. Some we will catch – life’s great prize. Some will elude us – life’s great lesson. Some dreams we will continue to chase – life’s great challenge.

So go, chase your dreams and find your happiness. You will probably find success has been waiting there, patiently, for you the whole time.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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