Thursday, December 11, 2008

Success and Failure

I haven't been writing a lot lately. You see, there has been a lot on my mind, so I've struggled to put together blog posts. So this is a sort of catch up blog of what's going on in my life, but also includes some interesting thoughts.

I am currently attending school seeking a PhD. I have finished all of my coursework and have a dissertation to write. I looked around at jobs. I contemplated what I wanted to do with my life. I considered what a PhD would do for me and what jobs would do for me. I thought a lot about success and failure.

What does it mean to succeed in life? Often in our culture we think of the accumulation of monetary wealth as success. The attainment of higher education is often considered success. Accumulating letters behind your name is considered success. Why is it that having more is considered 'success'?

Our culture's definition of success differs from mine. I think that success is doing what God wants you to do. I do not think that God considers wealth as success. Don't get me wrong, I believe that wealthy people could be successful, I even know some, but success does not depend on wealth or status.

I had a decision to make. I am in doctoral program that would lead to a prestigious degree if I continued, or I could take a job and pursue what I really love in life. If I drop out of a doctoral program, is that a failure? According to many it is. On the other hand, is it a failure to pass up what I could consider the best step for my career?

After much thought and prayer I looked at the options and tried to consider what God would have me do. I am going to give up a PhD (although I may pursue an opportunity to finish a dissertation if it arises) and pursue a relatively low paying job in Kentucky doing what I love.

Here's the thing. A PhD will open doors that I'm not interested in. So what is the use of opening the doors? The job opportunity is with an organization that is doing something I've always wanted to do (providing opportunities for physical activity to those who need it most whether they can afford it or not). Sure, the position isn't typically for someone with my education, but it is a position that I really care about with an organization that I'm excited to move up in. I really feel that I would have regretted missing this opportunity and continuing with a PhD more than I will regret dropping out of a PhD program.

Unconventional, maybe even illogical, but I'm going to discontinue my doctoral studies, move to Kentucky and follow my dreams of helping people improve their health. Truth be told, I feel more successful now than at almost any other time in my life.

Hopefully, I'll post a little more frequently now. Although I also need to pack up my stuff and my family and move across the country. I may be busy.


Cyclingred said...

Sounds like you have given it lots of thought. A tough decision when you are so close to finishing hte PhD. But as you say maybe there is no reason to finish it. And as you have also said it may be possible to finish the dissertation eventually. My bro did that. I think it took him three years after he left his PhD program and went into the real world.

Good luck on your next adventure. Have you and your family lived in many other places?

Heather said...

Wow! A little shocking, but good because you've got to do what is best for you and your family. Good luck with the move, the new job and everything! Keep us posted!