I often hear people say “Oh, so and so is doing really well,” when they are describing another man. And almost always they are talking about the man’s financial situation or job status. Doctors, pro athletes, lawyers and high flying entrepreneurs are usually the ones who are “doing really well.”
To many men in today’s world, success has come to be measured and defined as visible financial achievement.
I enjoy asking the next question: either, “In what way?” or “How can you tell?”
In men’s groups a popular lament is the man who feels that he has fallen behind his peer group. He should be at a higher status job or should own a home by now. These men don’t measure themselves against all men, or even all men like themselves. They invariably pick over-achievers to compare themselves to. So they feel like they are clearly losing the game of success.
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
There have always been wise men like Einstein, and Wooden…and Aristotle, Jesus, Joseph Campbell, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rumi and on and on…. who taught and embodied that success was so much more than financial achievement. They laid the groundwork for the important shift that is happening now.
The shift I am talking about is the shift towards a Expanded Scoreboard of Success. The Scoreboard that gives significant weight to Virtue’s and Character and Service. That takes into account if you have a community that you serve and that loves you? Where things matter like what do your kids say about you? and can you open your heart to others and look them in the eye? The Scoreboard that takes a look at all of the aspects of ones life before putting up a score.
Now… we could say, just don’t keep score, or, this whole thing could be just a problem of semantics, but I don’t think so. The generations of men coming through the prism of our culture are exploring where they fit in. So we need to shift the consciousness.
When more of the male culture and the culture as a whole ponder the question about how well someone is doing and use the criteria of the Expanded Scoreboard of Success, it will free up more men to do their thing, follow their bliss, and serve the world with their gifts.
Jeff Brown of Soulshaping puts it beautifully:
“I find this whole judgment around where individuals should be at by a certain stage of their life ridiculous. ‘Only soul knows’ the path its here to walk, what its had to overcome, what achievements to measure its progress by. My father knew so much early trauma that it was all he could do to get through the day. That alone was a great achievement. People judge as though they have it all figured out, but their judgments often just smokescreen their own confusion. Are we late bloomers, or on-time growers? This is a private decision. The important thing is that we keep on walking towards a place that feels like home.”