Imagine pursuing a goal for most of your life and then finally achieving it. Then what?
The Liverpool Football Club is one of the most famous and popular sports teams in the world. Whenever the team travels to any point on the globe there are typically tens of thousands of red-clad fans who serenade the players with the club’s anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Although they are one of the most successful soccer clubs on the planet, Liverpool was in a massive drought in English soccer. They had not won an English football league championship for 30 years, but in 2020 they were finally able to lift the English Premier League trophy.
One of Liverpool’s biggest stars in that championship season was Sadio Mane. The star forward hails from Senegal, one of the poorest nations in the world. The annual per capita income rate in Senegal is only $1,584, approximately half of what an average American makes in a month. As a star player on one of the top soccer clubs in the world, Mane makes the same in one day as the average Senegalese worker makes in 25 years!
It was not an easy path to global soccer superstar, Mane. In an interview with Ghanaian media outlet Nsemwoha, Mane explained, “I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefooted, I did not have an education and many other things.”
It would be easy for someone, like Mane, who came from such an impoverished background to splurge when the championships have been won and the riches finally arrived. What do you think winning a championship would do for your life? Would you finally get that sports car, private jet, or diamond-studded watch? The contemporary version of success often features these images to portray the ultimate winner. Bling-Bling!
Mane, who had nothing, and now has everything, decided to avoid the trap of this type of lifestyle and instead do something more meaningful with his new fortune. In the same article, he stated, “Why would I want ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches, or two planes? What will these objects do for me and for the world?” Mane added, “I built schools, a stadium, we provide clothes, shoes, food for people who are in extreme poverty. In addition, I give 70 euros per month to all people in a very poor region of Senegal which contributes to their family economy. I do not need to display luxury cars, luxury homes, trips and even planes. I prefer that my people receive a little of what life has given me.”
The ultimate question for every human being is – why am I here? For many people, money, fame, and power are the ultimate goals in life. As people ponder what success looks like it is important that they consider the answers to those questions and whether what they are actually doing matches up with the answer. For example, if asked, are you so fascinated with money that you care more about it than your own children? Most people would emphatically answer no. However, if they are being totally honest with themselves, they might admit that they very regularly prioritize work commitments over time with their kids.
Sometimes, in the hot pursuit of achievement, we lose ourselves and our perception of what’s important. If we are killing it at work and everyone is telling us how great we are, sooner or later we might start buying into that narrative and begin to believe we are better than the next person. This attitude could ultimately lead to emptiness, loneliness, and unhappiness. It’s easy to get so caught up in the idea of fame and fortune that we lose sight of the most important things in life, especially when those things arrive.
“To whom much is given, much is expected” is a biblical quote that most aptly describes why we are here. The way Mane lives his life embodies this quote. He refused to allow himself to become enraptured with material things or his status as a global soccer star, but instead, he has focused his energy on sharing his success with his people. Although blasting the Bling might provide a short-term ego boost, using your platform of success to help other people brings infinitely more joy than a luxury car or flashy jewelry.
At the highest level, we are all on this planet with one mission — to evolve! A great question that we all should consider asking ourselves from time to time is, what level am I on in my path through life? A sports trophy or career achievement is a material metric, but where are you on the most important things that measure a person in life? Are you living a championship life?