We continued to chat as we ate our morning meal and then Dharma asked me a question; one I knew that would lead into my lesson for this week. he asked, "Son, how many ideas for books have you had that you didn't actually write?" "Hundreds, Sir. I've lost count." I get great ideas for books all the time, but rarely do I ever sit down and write them. The reasons vary, but mostly it's because I'm pressed for time or I can't find a way to develop the storyline. Things just don't seem to come together right. I get discouraged, then give up on it. Dharma looked a little sad as he listened to my explanation them replied, "Son, a frog's road to success and his road to failure are almost exactly the same. The only real difference, my boy, is how we handle the the obstacles in that road. If we learn from our mistakes and take that information and move forward, then the road will, eventually, lead us to a successful place. On the other flipper, though, if we chose to let obstacles keep us from doing what we want or need to do, then the road will lead us to failure. Obstacles and challenges aren't meant to keep up from succeeding, they are meant to teach us lessons as we travel along. That, Irwin, is how we learn and grow. The definition of success is really a rather simple one; Success is the realization of our dreams, goals, and ideas. Success will look different for everyone. That's why it's so important to never belittle anyone else's dreams or aspirations. They may not be right for us but, then, they don't have to be. That's the true beauty of success. We can make it our own. Not everyone needs to acquire a mansion, a fleet of luxury vehicles, and a huge bank account to feel successful. Those things are very temporary. Sure, we all want to achieve a certain level of success in life, but it is far more important to focus on the things that really matter; living a happy, compassionate, well-balanced, and loving life. There are really only two elements to success. The first is contribution. Most humans and, sadly, most frogs as well, measure success by what they get, rather than what they give. But one of the most import keys in having a meaningful and, therefore, a success life is contributing to the causes that matter most to you. Making a difference to others will make a difference to you, too. The second element of a successful life as I see it, Irwin, is balance. It is possible to have all the wealth in the world and still not be happy or to feel successful. To obtain that wealth, usually means working hard and long. And when that happens, life becomes unbalanced. A balanced life means having enough time for work, living a healthy lifestyle, learning, spending quality time with family and friends, and time for devotional or spiritual practice."
After my lesson was finished and we sipped the last of the tea, Dharma hopped off to his next appointment. As I cleaned up my little kitchen, I began to think about all those potential story ideas I've had and never developed. I had, indeed, let obstacles get in my way. I try to lead a balanced life and I do quite a bit of volunteer work for those causes close to my heart. But where I fail is in letting many of my good ideas sit on a shelve undeveloped. Creativity doesn't like to be neglected. So it's time I dusted off a few of my unwritten stories and see if I can overcome those past hurdles and turn them into new and exciting books for kids. And when I do, my path will become the road to success.