I used to live next door to a teenager who was crazy about cricket. He would often play for our village team. One day I asked him what he planned to do when he left school. “I’m going to play cricket for England,” he said without a moment’s hesitation. I could not help but smile. There probably wasn’t a boy his age in all of England then who didn’t want to play cricket for his country!
I had the surprise of my life when, several years later, his father told us that Neil was indeed playing cricket for England; in fact, he was on a world tour at that very moment. Neil Fairbrother went on to win a place in the Guinness Book of Records. In May 1990 he made the highest score in cricket by an Englishman this century.
Elsewhere in Britain, 17-year-old David Chaplin was required to get in a week of real-life work experience as part of his schooling. He decided to write to NASA in the United States to ask to work on a space shuttle. The result was that they invited him over to spend some time with the scientists, as well as tour the space center.
Oprah Winfrey has risen from being a tragically abused little girl to being one of the richest and most famous women in America. In an interview, she said: “If you’re in it to make money, forget it. I am where I am not because money was ever, has ever, will ever be my motivation. If you want to accomplish the goals of your life,” she said, “seek what is honorable, what is good.”
This principle, “seek what is good,” points out the critical factor-paradoxically, one ignored by almost everyone-that should be utmost in any goal-setting program we would follow, regardless of the many other principles we should apply.
To illustrate what can happen without that principle foremost in mind, the following story shows the amazing life of one of the most accomplished individuals who ever lived, and why his life, in spite of great success, actually held great tragedy. His downfall was even more tragic because he was one of the few people who knew to live by the universal principles that guarantee real success.
From the start, this man had it all. The son of the king of a prosperous country, he himself became king after his father died. He subsequently amassed tremendous wealth, making himself possibly the richest ruler of his time. He fulfilled a passion for constructing breathtaking gardens, parks and woodlands, as well as for building fabulous houses, which he stocked with works of art from far and wide, even from collections of the royal families of other countries.
Utilizing his great organizational ability, he instituted a major and spectacular development program for his capital city. His achievements became legendary, as did his understanding not only of the human condition but also of the physical world around him with its abundant animal and plant life. As his remarkable expertise became internationally known, world leaders would come to consult with him.
When he considered his extraordinary life, however, how did he feel about it? Did he find satisfaction in the fame brought by his wonderful projects and his great reputation? “I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind” was what he concluded. You can read most of the story of his life, and its darker side, as he wrote it himself in the book of Ecclesiastes, 1:12 to 4:8.
This ruler was King Solomon, and in spite of all his costly and varied endeavors, he never found true, fulfilling success. Why? Because he sought pleasure, happiness and success his way: in materialism. He applied the principles that most of those who are considered successful apply.
However, Solomon ultimately went farther and farther into futility and despair because he overlooked one vital principle that can bring true success for all time. That all—important principle is having constant contact with God, acknowledging the Creator in all of your endeavors (Proverbs 3:5-6 Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
American King James Version×).
When diligently applied, this key principle provides a person with the very foundation of success—a solid base on which to build. To have and truly enjoy all that we aim for in our lives, we should start by being in contact with the One who provides all the things we want and need, and who, after all, is their very Source. We then can know we have the best possible motives for whatever we set our sights on.
Of course, we will pay a price in effort and commitment, but we have the assurance of a lifetime of divine guidance in rich, rewarding journeys toward reaching our goals. It’s a lifestyle you can start living today.
Our booklet What Is Your Destiny? explains more about how to start on that path. GN