Don’t let time run out on you—at any age

Are you a success?
What was your answer to that startling question? Was it “I’m not sure.” “I used to be a success.” “Yes, indeed!” Or a resounding “No.”
Whatever your answer, you first had to define success. The dictionary has varied definitions of the word:
1. Achievement of something planned or attempted.
2. Favourable or desired outcome.
3. Attainment of fame, wealth, or power.
4. One who succeeds.
So you have to decide what constitutes success for you.
Take my father, for instance. He bought a dairy farm in upstate New York just before the 1929 crash, so he never had wealth. He never ran for a county office or had a high office in the church, so he had no power.
And he did nothing that would make him famous.
But he was the best father in the world, and he paid for his children’s college educations. And every holiday, my mother had to make extra food so he could take holiday dinners to the poor elderly of our town.
When he died, many of the disadvantaged persons in the area felt they had lost their best friend.
Obviously, he was a successful man. He knew what he wanted to accomplish—and did it with pleasure.
In his best-selling book, “The Success Principles,” Jack Canfield writes that one of the main reasons most people don’t get what they want is they haven’t decided what they want.
So the first step to success is deciding what you want to accomplish. What experiences will make you feel fulfilled.
Canfield, who is co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, believes that everyone—no matter how busy—should spend some time volunteering.
He asks, “What issues call out to you? What organizations make your heart sing?”
What projects could make your heart sing? Either as a volunteer or as a paid worker.
Is it working with homeless persons or reading to children? Rescuing dogs or promoting the arts? Penning your memoirs or writing poetry? Travelling the world or visiting all 50 states?
Learning to swim or learning more about the computer? De-cluttering your house or planting a vegetable garden? Or planting a grove of trees?
Just decide what you want to do—what will make your “heart sing.” And don’t stop with dreaming. Take action.
“Start Now . . . Just Do It,” Canfield advises in “The Success Principles.” He begins this chapter with a quote from former U.S. Supreme Court justice Oliver
Wendell Holmes.
“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is that so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.”
So don’t let time run out on you, especially if you are this side of 60.
“You have all of the talent and the resources you need to start right now. . . . I know you can do it. You know you can do it . . . so go out there and do it!” advises Canfield.
Only you can determine how you define success and what makes your “heart sing.” Don’t wait until tomorrow to start on your road to success.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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