“One of the secrets of a successful life is to be able hold all of our energies upon one point, to focus all of the scattered rays of the mind upon one point or thing.”
Orison Swett Marden
I've told the story before of the young man who sat behind me in World Geography class in college. The professor, and old Navy captain, stood before a map with his back to the class and droned on for an hour every single day. Mr. Ivey, who was a sophomore when I was a freshman, never took a note, never even brought his book to class and still made A's. It drove me crazy. When I finally asked him about it, he told me, “If you listened, you wouldn't need to take notes either!” The problem was, it was hard for me to simply sit and listen to all that droning. Some of us don't function well sitting and listening. What I did, instead, was doodle in my notebook. I drew faces, plants, animals, and sometimes, just boxes and lines with dots. Occasionally, I wrote down what the professor said. Mr. Ivey made A's, and I made B's, and was grateful for them.
There are many different ways to focus energies. Some of us can simply sit and listen. Some of us need to read, or write, or draw; some of us need to engage our whole bodies. Many people think best when they give the body something to do while the mind focuses on an idea or a problem. The greatest determinant toward having a successful life, in my opinion, is having the deep desire, the heart and the will, to stay with something until it is done. Not giving up when the going gets tough—that's important.
Then there's the question of exactly what it means to have “a successful life.” I wonder how you would define that. In my world view, a successful life is one in which the whole of you—mind, body, soul, and spirit—is engaged and satisfied. If that takes a little doodling, a little walking, or carpentry, or painting, or yoga, to focus the energies, then so be it.
In the Spirit,