Becoming Successful Is As Simple As Making A Cake

First, You Must Decide

Becoming successful is as simple as making a cake. Before making a cake, you must first make a decision on what attributes the cake should have such as its size and flavor. These attributes become the measure you use to evaluate whether the cake you’ve made was successful or not. In the same way, to become successful in life, you must first make a decision on what being successful means to you. Once you have decided, it is only then you can determine whether you have achieved success or not.

The interesting thing about this idea is that only an individual knows whether he or she is successful. We may look at other people’s possessions or achievements and conclude that they are either successful or unsuccessful, but to them, it could be the opposite. In Tony Evans’ words,

“Success is not what you have done compared to what others have done. Success is what you have done compared to what you were supposed to do.”

Next, Gather The Right Ingredients

The next step in making a cake is to gather the right ingredients. What makes a particular ingredient one of the “right” ones? Well, it depends on the attributes of the cake you want to make. While some ingredients may be used in all cakes, if you want to make a chocolate cake, you’re going to need cocoa powder. But as wonderful cocoa powder may be as an ingredient, if you decided to make a vanilla cake, cocoa powder would not be one of the right ingredients to use.

Likewise, your definition of success will help determine what things are right or wrong to have in your life. As great as a particular friendship, activity or book may be, will it prevent or help you become successful? While comparing our minds to a mental factory, Jim Rohn once said,

“Can you imagine dumping a barrel of trash into this mental factory every day and coming up with a rich, dynamic, positive life? It can’t be done. You might as well try baking a cake with cement.”

Finally, Carry Out The Process

Finally, and most importantly, to make a cake you must carry out the process. You can know what type of cake you want. You can even gather the right ingredients. But until you go to work with making the cake, you’ll never have a cake. It is the same with success. You can know what you want. You can know what it takes to get it. But until you get to work, you’ll never achieve it.

I stated earlier that becoming successful is as simple as making a cake. But by simple, I did not mean easy. Although the steps are simple, being consistent, having discipline and believing in yourself can be difficult. But it’s not impossible. Get cooking!

We Don’t Know How Much Time We Have Left

One morning while having breakfast, I saw something on my local community channel that moved me. Two women’s death notices displayed back to back. One who was 96 years old, and the other who was 29. A 67-year difference!

Now, I’ve seen death notices before, but after seeing those two and realizing that I would soon turn 29, I developed a sense of urgency. It became clear to me that I could die at any moment. Before then, I didn’t think much about death. I lived life with the assumption that I would not die until some point after retirement age. But it was naive of me to think that way. As a friend of mine once said, “everyone’s rope isn’t the same length.” The reality is, we don’t know how long we have left.

From that point on, I began to think more deeply about my life. I asked myself, “if I only had 6 months left to live, what would I spend my time doing?” The answer was not where I was putting most of my efforts at the time. I was doing a good thing, but deep down I knew it wasn’t the right thing. But not anymore! Since then, I’ve refocused and I’m now doing the thing I know I should be doing.

Given that you can die at any moment, can you genuinely say that you are doing the right thing? Maybe you are doing something for the money at the sacrifice of your passion. Maybe out of fear you have settled for less than what you know you can achieve. Or, like I was, maybe you are spending most of your time doing a good thing, rather than what you know deep down is the right thing. I encourage you to do what’s necessary to arrive at the end of your life with no regrets. As the late Dr. Myles Munroe use to say “die empty.”

The Reward Is In The Doing

About a year or two ago, I decided that I would maximize the time spent driving to and from work. To do so, I would listen to an educational podcast or a motivational youtube video. On one occasion, I was listening to Jim Rohn and he shared how at a certain point in a health and fitness book it states “Dear reader, put this book down and see how many pushups you can do.” It then states, “Dear reader, if you didn’t attempt any pushups, you might as well give this book away!”

After hearing this, I smiled. It reminded me of my early failures as a reader. When reading a book like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and being instructed to complete an activity, I would skip over it. When exposed to a new idea that I knew would make a difference in my life, I wouldn’t even make a note. Consequently, I would complete books with a vague memory of what I read, never applying anything I learned; I was deceiving myself.

But praise the Lord! I have since seen the light. I confessed to myself that it is pointless learning something, and not applying it. A verse in The Bible states this clearly:

“ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

Maybe you are constantly learning, but not doing. Can you honestly say you are benefiting from what you’ve learned? The reason for learning is not just to know, but to apply. The reward is in the doing.

Limited Thinking

Have you ever found yourself in a situation wondering how God will work it out? You think of many possibilities, but when he does work it out, it was in a way you never thought possible?

Recently I was reminded of such experiences while reading about God’s promise to Abraham (Abram at the time) on having a son in Genesis 15:4. In prior verses, God promised to protect and greatly reward Abraham, but Abraham didn’t think it was worth it if he didn’t have a son to past it on to. Side Note: Isn’t it amazing how you can have success in certain areas of life, but then you’re miserable because of the one part you have challenges in? Moving on….

Abraham is promised a son of his own, and in the next chapter we find a discussion between him and Sarah (Sarai at the time) about having a son through Sarah’s servant Hagar. Abraham agrees, probably by reasoning that Sarah can’t have children, and this may be the God promised opportunity to have a son of his own. As most of you know, it didn’t go as smoothly as planned (Genesis 16). If you look closely, the narrative doesn’t state that Abraham consulted God, but rather agreed with Sarah based on their limited thinking.

Sometimes our limited thinking can cause our lives to be more stressful than it has to be. As married couples, we usually seek things like a child or home, things we naturally expect God to bless us with just for doing the right thing. But limited by our reality we may go about it in a way that’s not aligned with God’s plans.

This year and beyond, as married couples, let’s trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. In all our ways let’s submit to him, and as promised, he will make our paths straight.