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Why Do Powerful People Often Wear Sunglasses?

According to Max Lacado in his book ‘And the Angels were Silent’ it is because “the spotlight blinds them to reality”. And that reality is that the things they and we think make us successful … really may not.

Merriam Webster defines success as any of the following:

  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

  • the correct or desired result of an attempt

  • someone or something that is successful (i.e., person or thing that succeeds)

American culture relates success to financial stability, or achieving wealth, respect, or fame. Why? Because money and business deals, zip codes, weight, grades, and more can more easily be measured than other areas in our lives where the definition of success does not appear so clear.

So given the accepted American definition of success, I have a quiz for you that I hope will start you thinking about your definition of success and how you might want to / need to frame it in ways that are counterculture.

  • Name the 10 wealthiest men/women in the world.

  • Name the last 10 Heisman Trophy winners.

  • Name the last 10 winners of the Miss American contest

  • Name 8 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

How did you do? I didn’t do well either. With the exception of you trivia hounds, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday too well.

So what does this – your answers to this short quiz – say about the accepted American definition of success? I know what I believe (and will share that in the coming year). But I would love to know what you think and believe.


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