...You will never be successful if everything you do is routine...

Monday afternoon this line struck me. At the Gethsemane Tabernacle of Hope church, Rev. Everett Slater, pastor, gave a speech rampant with advice like this.

In celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the speech was inspiration for life and not just the man and struggle that it was intended for.

While the advice seems obvious, it is just as easily overlooked in our everyday lives. And it is a message that resonates differently with each of us because the word successful is relative.

At work and in all things personal, simply doing enough to get by is rarely rewarded. Conducting your actions so that you do the very least necessary may keep you where you are.

In fact it almost guarantees it, or certainly excludes an movement from that normality. This is a lesson that is apparent in times of strife and struggle and passed over in times of abundance.

So then the meaning of success becomes more important. It also becomes more personal.

As the United States has grown as an economic power, though that has waned in recent years, holistic success has been important. The need came about in response to a lack.

More and more people spoke of their desire to not just have financial success but in all facets of their lives. Family, friends and having the time, or rather taking the time, to appreciate them was named as a goal in life.

For me, success has to do with the people that surround you. People that bring you up rather than drag you down; these are friends and family that realize what is best regardless of themselves.

Personal success is being that quality of a person to others.

I have met several successful people in the last few years, a couple of them just over the weekend.

On what should have been a routine Sunday morning as I was driving on my way to do an interview, I hit some ice. The subsequent accident that sent my car spinning and eventually crashing, jarred me quite a bit also.

But just minutes later, as I got out of my car the nature of the situation changed.

A family living in the nearest home came out and stood in the freezing rain with me. This was after they had already called the police for me.

It was comforting, kind and totally unnecessary. They could have just as easily stayed in their home and been thankful that it had not happened to them.

But they waited for the police with me in their pajamas. And I was thankful.

The random kindness of strangers can be staggering. The small actions that are not much effort and pass by quickly remain indelibly in memory.

Following that, the police officer was thoughtful also.

After he had taken my information and filed the report, he took a moment to shake my hand and wish that my day got better.

He stood at the car, patted it and said that I shouldn't worry about it. "That's not what's important," he said. "You're fine and that is what matters."

This car accident that was unfortunate conversely brought about some reflection and patience. Generosity and kindness can spread simply because the affected person is grateful.

Anger mimics the same movement.


Kate Saunders can be reached at ksaunders@phoenixvillenews.com

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