What is True Success?

Early on this year, the professional cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his career in the interview that was conducted by Oprah Winfrey. We all witnessed the tragic fall of the cycling hero of our time, as he was banned from cycling for life and stripped away of all the competitive awards that he won since 1998. He has lost more than his medals; he has lost his reputation and prestige as an athlete. Now the name “Lance Armstrong” is associated with dishonesty and cheating.

Image

But this is not a rare sight. From time to time, there would be stories of some politician, some businessman, or some sportsman falling from his/her grace by being involved in a scandal. Whether that is by being caught having an affair with a mistress or constructing a grand scheme designed to con people, it is only after such exposure that their hard-built public images plummet tragically. These men have all the things which constitute—in the eyes of the mass—a successful person. They are the beacons of our society, admired and respected by their peers and the people alike.

We are always surprised and flabbergasted when a person like Lance Armstrong is convicted of some shameful act; we always have that moment of doubt whether the scandal is true, before we come into terms with who they really are and ask ourselves the question, “why?” Why would they do such a thing?

Reverend Goshen Choi* once wrote an essay that can be roughly translated as “On things that are more important than success.” He, too, remarked at the falls of great public figures and rich business tycoons, using their tragedy to tell us of the great truth about success.

One of many things that he wrote on the qualities of a “true achiever” is the importance of being over doing.

“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” –Matthew 7:17

Just like the Bible verse above, Pastor Choi wrote that being a good person will yield great fruits instead of the other way around. Too many people strive to achieve things and make those accomplishments a testament to what great people they are. The reverend further wrote that it is more important to first be honest, truthful, and humble; to have true faith and live by the Words of God before setting out to achieve fame and wealth. That is the way to achieve success that is truly grounded and can survive the test of time. All the achievers mentioned above have failed to do so, fixating on the awards so much that they would go out of their ways to claim the trophy.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” 

Aristotle

Likewise, success is a habit. That is why TAC strives to habitually live in accordance with the eight characters that make up the word “ACHIEVER.” These Acronyms are:

A: Attitude

C: Creativity

H: Humility

I: Intellect

E: Endurance

V: Vitality

E: Evangelism

R: Reformation & Recovery

Thus, TAC promotes a unique concept of success, where the word “success” is not defined in secular terms. Sure, it’s great to achieve fame and wealth, but that is not our priority. We strive to succeed for the glory of God and further spread his name; we wish to create a global network of like-minded achievers who will also share our vision of evangelism. Through our success we hope to ultimately reform the Christian image that has been tainted throughout the years, and glorify the Name of God. As we are but a mere human being, we can’t help but be imperfect. That is why we strive and work harder every day to live by these eight characteristics that we define to be “true achievers.” God bless us all!

– A.K.

* Reverend Goshen Choi is the founder and the president of Nyskc World Mission Center. Nyskc World Mission Center was founded in 1993 with the purpose of establishing a global organization devoted to the restoration of worship and churches. Their motto is “When the Worship is restored, the church is risen, the nation renewed and the family revived!”

Foresight

Who would have known that the bomb was going to be exploded at the finish line of Boston marathon? The explosions at Boston marathon on April 15, 2013 caused three death and 180 injuries. Boston was completely locked down while FBI and police officers were man hunting door to door. The whole country was terrified and grieved over this incident. This incident made us realizes that we are certainly living in the world where unexpected tragedy strikes and unpredictable events occur.

What would happen if someone had predicted the terror just ten minute earlier?  Would things be different? We are so blind to the future. We never know what will happen in the future—even five minutes later.

Image

Foresight is an ability to accurately predict future outcomes. It is an ability to see the “bigger picture” of how certain events will progress and predict the outcome. Foresight requires trend analysis, critical thinking, visioning, and modeling.  Foresight has become an important requirement for entrepreneurs, leaders, and politicians, because they need to “see” potential opportunities or pitfalls lay in front of them.

According to studies done by Addis et al (2007), our memories of past play an important role in imagining future events. Past and future thinking showed to activate many of the same regions of the brain. This study shows that we use our past experience as a “guidelines” to predict future. Also, it shows that people heavily rely on their experience to predict and foresee their future.

Despite all studies and predictions made by human, God is the one who governs this whole universe. Nothing is impossible for Him. We are all under His government and He had planned everything and He governs us in His Good Will.  We can see the miracles He made in the Bible, where He made all illogical and impossible things to happen.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  (Proverbs 16:9)

Ralph Waldo Emerson had quoted “All thoughts of a turtle are turtle.” This quote possibly means that people are what they think of—we have limited perception and insights. We cannot understand God’s plan with our limited perception and understanding. Despite, people do foresee and make predictions of future; our future is in God’s hand. We can only be humble under His wisdom and insights.

“God’s finger touched him, and he slept” –Lord Alfred Tennyson

Our hearts are heavy for those who had died and injured in Boston Marathon. We pray for them and their families. God is good and He will comfort all those have grieved and hurt. May God Bless America.

References:

1)  Addis DR, Wong AT, Schacter DL. “Remembering the past and imagining the future: common and distinct neural substrates during event construction and elaboration.” Neuropsychologia. 2007 Apr 8;45(7):1363-77.

2)  Source of Intellectual Discourse. The Publishing House of The Achiever Club. 2011. Aug pages 15 and 21

3) http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/16/us/explosions-reported-at-site-of-boston-marathon.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

4)  http://emergentbydesign.com/2010/06/15/essential-skills-for-21st-century-survival-part-4-foresight/

 

Social Entrepreneurs: A Recruiter of Local Change-makers

The term “Social Entrepreneurs” are defined as individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems; they are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. The term social entrepreneur, as well as social entrepreneurship, was first used in 1960s by literatures in sociology and it started to become widely used in the 1980s and 1990s.

social-entrepreneur-word-cloud-1

Then who are the historical examples of leading social entrepreneurs? The followings are the list of leading social entrepreneurs who have huge impact in their own fields of work.

  • Susan B. Anthony (U.S.): Fought for Women’s Rights in the United States, including the right to control property and helped spearhead adoption of the 19th amendment.
  • Vinoba Bhave (India): Founder and leader of the Land Gift Movement, he caused the redistribution of more than 7,000,000 acres of land to aid India’s untouchables and landless.
  • Dr. Maria Montessori (Italy): Developed the Montessori approach to early childhood education.
  • Florence Nightingale (U.K.): Founder of modern nursing, she established the first school for nurses and fought to improve hospital conditions.
  • John Muir (U.S.): Naturalist and conservationist, he established the National Park System and helped found The Sierra Club.
  • Jean Monnet (France): Responsible for the reconstruction of the French economy following World War II, including the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). The ECSC and the European Common Market were direct precursors of the European Union.

Bill Drayton, a leading social entrepreneur in 1990s, is a founder and CEO of Ashoka. Ashoka is an organization founded in 1980 based upon the idea that the organization would become a positive impact on the development of society through being involved in six different fields of work. Those six different fields of work include; civic engagement, economic development, environment, health, human rights, and learning/education, all of which are touching upon human’s basic needs.

He once said that “social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish, or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” In other words, every social entrepreneur is a recruiter of local change-makers—a role model showing that citizens who alter their passion into action can do almost anything.

During the TAC meeting, we have discussed about these examples of social entrepreneurs around the world and how much one person can influence people around him/herself. However, the most important thing to keep in mind as a Christian is that everything we do in our life is for the Glory of God. Thus, we must believe that everything that occurs in one’s life has God’s meaning and we must be able to hear God’s voice through the event.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it ” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

– T.S

References

https://www.ashoka.org/social_entrepreneur

Sources for Intellectual Discourse, First Edition (2011), TAC publishing house

The Secret

One of the greatest blessings we as Christians have is that we have “Someone” on the other side of the wire, listening and corresponding to our voices. No, I am not talking about conversing with a friend over a phone. I am talking about a great secret that God has revealed to us.

We’re all familiar with this verse from the Bible:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

But have you realized how powerful and ultimate this formula works in our universe?

Well, some people might relate this question to the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne which was published in 2006 and became an instant best seller. In the book, Byrne mentions “the law of attraction” which accounts for all things that happen in our lives through the process of ‘like attracts like’. She says that when we think and feel, our thoughts and emotions send out frequencies that attract events and circumstances that have the corresponding frequencies back to us, thus good or bad things happen to us according to how we think and feel. By the logic of this formula, we can create and construct our lives by controlling our own thoughts and emotions.

There is an important idea in this, and indeed, we can lead a good life and even fulfill our dreams by enlightening ourselves with positive, creative, and higher thoughts and pursuing these thoughts with our actions, which in turn would bring out corresponding consequences.

But what Byrne misses in her formula is the knowledge of someone behind this “law of attraction”. In fact, this “Someone” is beyond and above this law and has a complete control over it. It isn’t our thoughts or our actions that controls the law of universe; but there is a creator, a master, a giver that controls all things in universe. If we fail to acknowledge that there is a provider, a giver, an answerer to our searches, then we are lost in our own foolishness.

And the best news is, that Someone is the Almighty God who calls Himself our heavenly Father. He is our father! We are His children! He has given us the right to ask Him for things we want and need. How reassuring it is for us to know that we have the world’s richest and mightiest father who can always provide and answer our requests? God promises us, “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11)

Therefore, keep your prayer. Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. Our Father in heaven is listening to us. But I think there are few things we need to keep in mind when we do so.

First, we need to be humble and know that we are in need of help. If we think we don’t need any help and that we can solve our problems on our own, then we won’t have the enough “desperation” in our heart to kneel before God and ask Him for His help. It is only when we realize that there is nothing we can do that we come to rely on God to do the work for us and witness His miraculous works.

Second, we need to know the way of God and pray in accordance to His will. God is good and everything He does is good. Even if our prayers are not answered, He is answering us for our goodness. Constantly seek for God’s will and learn the way of God through reading Bible.

Third, pray with faith. When we pray, do not pray with an unfaithful heart. Believe in the promise God has given us and pray with a thanking heart. In all, glorify God with your prayer.

In all things, remember what our heavenly Father promises us:  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

-K.P