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What Is Your Road to Success?

Someone once asked a rich man, “What is the secret to success?” The man responded, “Make sure you are the dumbest person in the room.” In other words, if you are doing all the talking, you are not listening.

My worst grade in college was a B-. It was also the happiest and most satisfying grade I ever received. Most of the class flunked. We had to translate the words of the prophet Isaiah, and his Hebrew is notoriously difficult. One of the guys who bombed the exam asked me why I did so well. I told him that I took a class on Hebrew readings from the post-exilic period. I was pretty confident about myself because I had aced my introductory course in Hebrew. There I was on the first day, and a group of guys entered the class. I asked them, “So, are you all learning Hebrew.” They said, “Learning Hebrew? We are all doctorate students from Jerusalem. Our first language is Hebrew.” At that moment, I realized I was the dumbest person in the room. Naturally, I didn’t want to stay, but they insisted. “Join us,” they said, “it should be fun.” So, I did, and I was glad I did.

I am training to run a marathon. I figured it might be a good idea to join a running club. Everyone in the group is faster than me, younger than me, and knows more about running than I do. Once again, I am the dumbest person in the room. And that is why I joined.

King David was on his deathbed when he gave advice to his son, who was about to sit on the throne. David did not discuss the economy, how to make friends with the neighbors, avoid enemies, or offer the people a better life. He told him one thing: “Make sure you listen to God and follow His instructions. You may not always like what you hear, you may not always agree, but you do whatever He tells you because that is the only road to success.” God the Father told us, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” The Lord has a lot of followers, and all of them will be holier than we, have more knowledge about the faith, be better at virtue, and overcome temptation. We may think, “Not my crowd.” But we stay because the dumbest person in the room does not do a lot of talking. He listens. And that is our road to success. We listen to Him.

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