Everyone wants to succeed in life and deep down everyone has a philosophy for success. Earlier in his life Oscar Wilde said, “Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess”. Was Oscar Wilde right?

Balance is not the equal amounts of the opposites, or having half good, and half evil. Balance is about maximising our strengths while working on our weakness, so that we don’t become self destructive. Success is living the life God created you to live. For this to occur we need to order our lives. When we have purpose, live by principles, have a plan and connect with people, our lives become ordered, ready to succeed.

Purpose

Our purpose (or vision) flows from our priorities. Our priorities flow from our discipline. Discipline flows from devotion.

“You will become as small as your controlling desire; or as great as your dominant aspiration.”
- James Allen.

Vision is not a single act. It is ongoing and must be nurtured or it can die. Vision flows out of our heart. If our heart is full of God, our vision will be of God. Vision gives focus, focus creates clarity and clarity builds energy. Vision from God leads to God’s energy – we become enthusiastic (in theos in God).

Principles

To order our lives, we also need principles. Principles support purpose – purpose empowers principles. The following are just a few examples of principles that have been taken from the scriptures:

Proverbs 29:18 >> Romans 7:17 >> Law is holy and good

Psalm 111:7-10 >> Exodus 34:21>> “Six days you shall labour, but on the seventh you shall rest; even during the ploughing season and harvest you must rest.”

Reap what you sow. Want friends? Be a friend.

Plan

Proverbs 14:22 (NIV)
“Those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.” (Significance and security).

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your 
plans will succeed.”

To plan we need to take into account the F.A.C.T.S:

Feelings: What I am feeling?

Actions: What actions are needed? Actions don’t occur in a vacuum.

Choices: What choices? (‘no’ to some things and ‘yes’ to others).

Thoughts: What thought processes need challenging? Romans 12:2 says “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Spirit: What help do I need? 2 Timothy 1:7 “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.”

Make them as practical and concrete as possible.

People

To order our lives for success, we need purpose, principles, plan and people. There are three types of emotional deposits in relationships, shown in the table below.

We need to ensure that we have a balance between those that deposit positively into our lives and those who “take out” – make withdrawals from our emotional life.

Emotional Deposit Positive or Negative Type of Person
Put In Positive Encouraging People (EP)
Take Out Negative Confronting People (CP)
Take Out Negative Draining People (DP)
Neutral Neutral Nice People (NP)

Final Thoughts

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)
“A man of many companions may come to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

So, was Oscar Wilde right when he said, “Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess?” Consider what Wilde wrote towards the end of his life as he spent several years in prison for homosexual offences. He died in poverty and exile four years later in Paris.

“Desire at the end was a malady, madness or both. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character…

I made art a philosophy, and philosophy an art … I altered the minds of men and the colours of things … I treated art as the supreme reality, and life as a mere mode of fiction … I awoke the imagination of my century so that it created myth and legend around me … I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself with being a flaneur, a dandy, a man of fashion. I surrounded myself with smaller natures and meaner minds. I became the spendthrift of my own genius, and to waste an eternal youth gave me a curious joy. Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search of new sensations… 

I ceased to be Lord over myself. I was no longer captain of my soul. I allowed you [Douglas] to dominate me, and your father to frighten me. I ended in horrible disgrace. There is only one thing for me now, absolute Humility.”

From De Profundis,
Letters to Alfred Douglas, 1905