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Why Does Success Leave Us Empty?

Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This is the second in a series of parables about the meaning and purpose of life. This series is designed for people who are trying to make sense of the pain and suffering we see in the world around us. This parable explains why success does not bring fulfillment. This parable is called The Athlete. Watch the video or scroll down to read a transcript.

Transcript:

Hi, thanks for watching Bible Mountain. This is part of a series of parables about the meaning and purpose of life. This series is designed for people who are trying to make sense of the pain and suffering we see in the world around us.

This series is comprised of six groups of parables. In the first group I am explaining why things like success, fame, money, pleasure, and power do not bring the meaning and fulfillment to life we are seeking. The following parable is called The Athlete. It explains why success does not bring meaning and purpose to life. 

There was an athlete who decided to become the world champion in his sport. He hired the best coach he could find, and practiced every day, hours per day. He started competing. He won at the local level and qualified for the regional level. He won at the regional level and qualified for the state championship. He won the state championship and qualified for the national championship. He won the national championship and that qualified him to go to the World Championship. 

He and his coach put together a plan and practice regimen to get ready for the World Championship, and he followed that plan to the letter. When it was time to go to the World Championship, he was ready. He was healthy and at the peak of his physical performance.

He traveled to the World Championship, participated in the opening ceremony, and then started competing. He won the first round. Then he won the second round. He kept winning and made it to the championship match. 

On the day of the championship match he got up and followed his diet and warm-up plan as precisely as humanly possible. He went to his match, competed, and won. He was the world champion. He was the best in the world. 

He went to the award ceremony. He stepped up onto the winner’s platform. They placed a gold medal around his neck. He listened with pride as his country’s national anthem was played. He gloried in the cheers and the applause of all the fans. It was a glorious moment, a moment he had been working toward for years. 

But then the award ceremony ended. The cheers and applause died down. He stepped down off the winner’s platform, went through the closing ceremonies, and traveled home. Once he was home he asked himself, “Now what?” 

For years his quest to be the world champion had brought meaning and purpose to his life. It gave him a reason to get up every day. But now that he had achieved his goal, he was left without purpose. He no longer had a reason to get up every day. 

One of his options was to keep competing, go to the next world championship, and defend his crown. However, the aging process dictated he couldn’t do that for the rest of his life. Eventually, someone else would replace him as the World Champion. Eventually, he would have to find something else to do to bring purpose to his life.

He had always envisioned that once he was the world champion he would feel like he had “arrived” and that that feeling would give him meaning for the rest of his life. However, the reality was that it was the challenge to become the world champion that had brought some meaning to his life. Now that he was the world champion, he actually didn’t have any purpose in life. He didn’t regret the years that he had spent practicing and trying to become the world champion, but at the same time he was facing the reality that it didn’t bring the meaning and purpose to life that he had anticipated. 

Many athletes, musicians, and other talented people try to find meaning and purpose in life by pursuing success. While you are pursuing success you feel empty because you haven’t attained success yet, but once you attain success then you still feel empty because now you have nothing to strive for anymore. If you establish a second goal, you simply go through the same cycle of emptiness. Ultimately, the pursuit of success is just an endless, empty cycle. 

Furthermore, as you age you eventually reach a point where you are past your prime of life, and then your skills diminish for the rest of your life. At that point, instead of constantly making yourself better, you’re actually just trying to manage your decline. 

There is also the reality that once you attain success, you’re still just one of many. Yes, you might be the world champion in your sport, but there are many sports. There are many world champions. Yes, you might be the CEO of your company, but there are many companies, and there are many CEOs around the world.

It’s good for humans to have goals. Humans need to pursue success because that makes life better. However, we need to recognize that ultimately success is not what brings meaning and purpose to life. 

Thanks again for visiting Bible Mountain. I greatly appreciate you spending some of your valuable time watching my videos and reading my articles. The next parable in this series will explain why fame does not bring meaning to life. If you haven’t already done so, please join either my email list or my Patreon Page in order to make sure you receive that and all future parables in this series. 

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Once again, thank you for watching Bible Mountain.

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