3 Areas I Watch Out For When It Comes To Success

It’s guest post Monday!!! This post is by Ngina Otiende who writes at Intentional Today. Make sure to check out her blog and follow her on Twitter. If you would like to be featured as a guest poster on my blog click here.

I was walking through a parking lot the other day when I noticed two kids. They looked no more than 8 years old and were seated in parked car. Actually their shouts caught my attention. I couldn’t believe my ears at first. I have never heard such shameful words leave a child’s mouth.

I was mortified to be on the receiving end of  their  unbecoming abhorrent behaviour. But my biggest shock came when I noticed two adults lurking in the interior of the car.  A man and a woman.  I was close enough by this time to hear the low voice of the man in the back ground, right before the shouts of the kids. From the kids’ behaviour when I slowed down (ducking and giggling) it occurred to me that the man was probably telling them what to say. I was broken for the girl and boy. I wondered what kind of people they would grow up to be. The two adults in their lives were unbelievably poor role models.

In life, we often find ourselves operating out of deep-rooted thought-patterns and attitudes that we cannot even explain. Most probably taught in our formative years. Like the two kids, we ‘parrot’ away – lacking our own language – and repeat the things that we have been told to say.


Success too begins in the mind too, just like failure does. You never grow beyond what you have taken in as truth.

Finding success in any area of life often involves breaking certain molds and starting on a fresh plate. You may not change how you were brought up for example. But you still have something that cannot be taken away from you  –choice. Regardless of our backgrounds, we have the ability to change.

I was not always aware that succss is intentional however. I didn’t know it was predictable.  That I had a bigger a role to play, besides ‘wishing hard’ for it.

I have since learned that success in any area of life – marriage, business, relationships, church – will always involve working on these three areas.

1. Teachability.

I admire people who listen with a silent mind. The ones who are not thinking up rejoinders in 99.9% of their conversations as the other person talks. I am one of those that are enrolled for “the class of the quiet and teachable’ for life.

All of us come wired differently. No one comes perfect and understanding this keeps me from having an unhealthy preoccupation with my weaknesses.  It also helps me operate in mercy. People who live in glass houses sometimes like throwing stones. The same way hurting people often hurt others. But glass-house inhabitants also have the greatest potential to change, to be outstanding. Because they understand weakness, they have empty spaces that can be filled.

We are all constantly learning, adapting, growing, stretching. We are life-long students.

2. Embracing the curves.

I like figuring out things. It may have something to do with being a woman. But truth is, it’s more like a lack of deep faith. When it comes to curves, you don’t really see what’s ahead. You only keep going because you believe in what you are doing and in the road you have taken.

When God says ‘I’ll never leave you’, that includes ‘curve times’ too. So that assurance is supposed to make everything okay, no matter what’s going on around me. But I have found it easier to believe God when His word appears true..blue skies, calm oceans, happy spouse, fat wallet.

But I struggle when what He says doesn’t quite line up with what I feel or see. Especially because He expects me to take the curve like someone who is seeing all the way ahead. And that is life. It is everyone’s lot. To keep to the task at hand – loving their  scowling spouse, whistling with an emaciated wallet, hugging their wild child – even when we feel like inventing a one-way ticket to Mars. For in the end, we realize that it’s the curves which make us strong, not the straights.


Even God, who loves me to bits, cannot live my life for me. Not even my husband, who loves me more than himself and his tech gadgets. So if I have a dream, it’s up to me to see it through.

Others will come alongside me, but only so far. The buck stops with me. Like David, must I become my greatest encourager and coach. The real guts must come from within me. Sticking to it means holding on to the unseen until it becomes visible. If it was visible, it wouldn’t require perseverance. Many things will bang against the boat of life but nothing can throw you out of the boat if you have set your mind on staying inside. (Well, unless you are Jonah – in which case you are in the wrong place anyway)

Question: In seeking success, what other areas do you watch out for in your own life? 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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34 thoughts on “3 Areas I Watch Out For When It Comes To Success

  1. I always have to be careful that I define success biblically. I’m tempted to define it culturally – i.e. I have to reach a certain level of achievement before I’m successful.

    I’m much happier (and more productive) if I define it biblically – i.e. I’m successful if I do what God wants me to do – even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s not acceptable in the culture’s eyes, and even if it hasn’t achieved a worldly level of success.

  2. “It’s the curves which make us strong, not the straights.” Well said Ngina. This is a very inspiring piece. I’ve come to realize the ones who are just waiting to speak during the course of a conversation are the ones who have yet gained true wisdom.

    One of the keys for me is to keep the “success” I’m seeking balanced. Too much of any of them other than God is a recipe for failure.

    • I know am still growing in this area and i realize the more i learn to quieten my inner man, the more the potential for growth and wisdom

      Amen to balance. The bible says, what use is it to gain the whole world and loose your soul?

      Thank you for reading and sharing Floyd

  3. Ngina, embracing the curves is a great concept and way to put it. We do tend to to around curves and roller coasters on our quest for “Success”. What I have found is that it means different things for different people so whatever that meaning is for each of us is defined by that.

    • it’s true Lincoln. I know that we never anticipate the length, depth, weight e.t.c of the curves but learning to embrace them is crucial for our dreams.

      I appreciate your reading and weighing in on the discussion.

  4. Great post Ngina. The curves are there to make you strong. Too often I see people who think that they will always encounter the straights and somehow they will avoid the curves. I have learned God has the curves to make us appreciate the straights. I know the curves can be frustrating, discouraging and disappointing but God made a promise that He will be with us always even until the end of the ages. He wants us to be successful in the purpose He designed for our lives. Because of the curves in my life, I have developed my personal definition of success. I believe success is becoming the person God has purpose you to be living positive values that guide your daily choices and actions, accomplishing the goals that give your life direction and sowing seeds to empower others.

    • These are great thoughts Bernard.

      I like what you say about curves helping you develop your personal definition of success. The lean hard times have a way of helping us cut through the chase, laying us bare and helping us see what truly matters.

      Am blessed that you have God as the ultimate – it’s not success if it’s not anchored and defined by Him.

      Thank you for reading and sharing.

  5. Wow, what a great post Ngina, you’re a very talented writer. The thing that I’ve noticed I have to watch out for with success is my pride. You make one little accomplishment and you think you’re something, NOT! Our Lord has to come first, not me.

    • Thank you Kimanzi :)

      Pride is a big one – it’s something I watch out for too.

      So easy for us to get impressed with ourselves and have all these assumptions in our heads, isn’t it. But when God is first, other things line up .

      Thank you for sharing and your kind words.

    • Pride is a big danger. I have found it sneaks into a persons life and before they know it can cause a lot of damage. It’s something we need to constantly be on guard against. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I love stick-to-itiveness…that’s great.

    I check my attitude daily and all throughout the day, am I being judgmental, self righteous, am I being loving, compassionate.

  7. You have some great points here! The curves do make us strong!
    This line is profound- “You never grow beyond what you have taken in as truth.” We must take in the truths that Jesus says about us, we must let Him define us instead of the world!

    I like your point about listening with a silent mind- being open. We need more of that. If we would truly hear each other, think of how great our conversations would be, how many problems we could solve if we would stop trying to be RIGHT! If we would listen, we may find we are saying the same things.

    • What you say is true TC, am amazed at how often i discover that the other person is saying the same thing – we are basically in agreement. But the urge to put in the last word, or come out tops, or just plain argumentativeness/loud mind keeps me going round and round in circles, stretching a conversation that should have ended a century ago!

      oh the learning I need to do :)!
      I like your thought “…we must let Him define us instead of the world”. That is the bottom line.

  8. Tragic story to start this post, but great tips. That story is a good reminder that, no matter our age, who we are around is a big determining factor for where we are going.

    • So true Skip – the people we hang around affect where we end up.

      Sometimes tho, we can’t control those around us – e.g in childhood – but I love that there is a God who makes crooked things straight, restores and redeems impossible situations.

    • Skip,

      It really does show the power of association. The people we are around with the most are the ones we become like. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the discussion.

  9. “Like David, must I become my greatest encourager and coach.” You were saving the best for last. That it is up to me to see the dream come to fruition is a rule I break too often. Sometimes making excuses for myself, blaming others and complaining not realizing at the end, the buck stops with me.

    The curves do make us strong and yes we want the blue sky most of the time. I am a classic “blue-sky = good day” person. I am also learning that it is through the storm that my character is formed; and God is preparing me for the future through the wilderness of sorts.

    Love the post Ngina. Thanks for the accurate insights. I agree it is time to be intentional with success and speak with our own voices and not let others speak for us instead.

    Read this quote recently, “If you don’t have a plan for life, you will be a stepping stone for others who do.” I believe its also vital to have a plan – strategy – and the three areas you’ve shared will be vital in putting that plan into action.

    • Love that quote Jep.

      Reminds me of what my mentor says “if you don’t develop your own business vision, you’ll end up helping someone else achieve their own for the rest of your life”

      I am a ‘blue-sky=good day’ person too and it has taken God to change this thinking..and I have not arrived. I am greatful that He works with and through me even as He fixes me :)

      Thanks for sharing, truly appreciate your swinging by.

    • First off thank you for stopping by to read and share.

      God has a way of building our character through the storms of life. It reminds me of a passage in James 1, “whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character ready for anything.” This passage brings a new perspective on how we should react to the storms of life.

  10. Great…am not surprised to read you. I feel this deep inside my gut to the extend of writing a book on the same…

  11. Being persistent and following through is huge. Regardless of what we’re pursuing, we have to continue to get back up whenever we’re knocked down.