Years ago, I had a mentor that told me five things that are like secret seeds of success. They’re seeds because they grow underground where you can’t see them, yet they’re what the success actually grows out of. He challenged me, saying,
“Jae, if you want to be truly successful, do these 5 things a lot! Also, if you stop doing these things, just watch how bad things will go for you!”
Here are the 5 secret seeds of success:
1: Honor your parents
2: Show appreciation
3: Give generously
4: Serve humanity – Do things for the benefit of others
5: Give others opportunities
This first one was very interesting to me because I grew up hearing about it in church. What I found remarkable was the fact that my mentor wasn’t a church-goer, yet he saw the value in this biblical commandment.
In Ephesians 6:2&3 ESV, the apostle Paul says, – “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” According to this, being successful starts with honoring your parents.
For some, honoring their parents is easy because they’ve been so good to them. Many people though, who have issues with their parents, especially if they have been abusive or neglectful in some way, find this a hard pill to swallow. What if your parents aren’t honorable or deserving of respect?
That’s a good question that deserves an answer. I don’t know that I have the whole answer, but I’d like to share my thoughts about it. I think we need to look at the word honor – it means to respect or esteem, but it also means to do what’s right.
Showing honor and acting respectful to others isn’t always about whether they deserve it. It’s about your own heart and attitude. You can stay honorable even when those around you aren’t. We treat others with honor and respect because we are an honorable and respectful person. We don’t want to lower ourselves to the behavior of those who aren’t acting well.
You can be respectful even when others aren’t. You don’t have to be passive – just letting someone mistreat you, or aggressive – mistreating others because you’ve been hurt, but you can be assertive without dishonoring or disrespecting someone. Being assertive means being able to stand up for yourself or others in a calm and rational way without getting into a yelling match. Acting assertively shows people that you not only have respect for others, but for yourself as well.
I see honoring our parents as honoring their position of authority. God established positions of authority to create order and avoid chaos. Leaders are meant to serve others and act for their benefit, but when they abuse that position of power, or neglect their duties, we still need to honor their position, even if we don’t agree with how well they are doing in it. When we honor authority, we are honoring God.
I love the Bible story about David before he became the king of Israel. It’s a good example of honoring God by honoring a man’s position even when he wasn’t worthy of it. David was told he would be the next king, and the present king, Saul, was out of his mind, jealous of David, and trying to kill him. As David was running for his life, hiding in caves, he had a few opportunities to kill Saul, but he didn’t do it because he respected Saul’s God-given position as king.
Saul was trying to murder him, but David wouldn’t stoop to his level. He acted with honor and integrity even though his king didn’t deserve it.
Learning to honor your parents, who are the first authority figures in your life, is about developing a culture of honor in yourself for life. If you are ever going to be a good leader, you need to learn how to treat those in authority above you with the respect you would want in their position. Showing honor shows integrity, and will open doors for you.
Practice showing appreciation with your words and actions to all those that help or serve you in any way. Anyone who has helped you get ahead in life, whether teachers, parents, mentors, or friends, should all know how much you are thankful for them and appreciate all they’ve done for you. Think of creative ways to show your appreciation to those who’ve helped you and always thank everyone, either verbally, or by sending them a message somehow.
The bigger the thing they’ve done for you, the bigger your act of appreciation should be. For instance, someone helped my family get a product into a large distribution chain years ago, and we give them a portion of the profits even though they say we don’t have to do that. We want to show our appreciation in a tangible way.
The Bible says, in Luke 6:38
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The amount of generosity you use will determine how the world will reward you. Being generous is about so much more than just giving your money. You should also give of your time, resources, ideas, skills and talents. The more you give to others; the more good things will come back to you.
The weird thing about generosity is that the benefits you receive from being generous don’t always come from those you’ve helped. It just works that when you sow into the lives of others, somehow you reap a harvest from it in some other way!
This ‘success seed’ is so vitally important! I can’t encourage you enough to always do things for the benefit of humanity – serving them in some way. Never do anything at the cost of people. Whatever you do in life, make sure it creates value for others. When you cut corners and try to reach a level of success by doing things that can harm someone else, it will come back to bite you somewhere along the line.
I love giving other people a chance to get ahead! An opportunity is a chance. When we give someone a chance, we are giving them an opportunity they might not have had otherwise. I use my time, influence and resources to give others an open door to step into their dreams.
For instance, in one of our factories we have designated a space for start-up companies to use as office space to help them eliminate one of their overhead costs in the beginning of their business. We call it Good Seed Headquarters.
We can get so focused on looking for opportunities for ourselves that we can miss the chance to open a door for someone else. I encourage you to be on the lookout for ways you can give someone else a boost. We need to break out of our fear-based, poverty mindset that thinks there are only so many opportunities to go around, so we hoard them to ourselves.
The more doors we open for others, the more doors open for us. It comes down to the synergy of relationships. When you help others, somewhere along the line others will help you.
I hope reading this will encourage you to sow some of these success seeds in your life. Whichever ones you haven’t been doing, then start ‘sowing’ them now. If you’re already doing them all, then do it more! Watch your success grow and grow!
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