I love to read about the success of other people, especially if I know those people. The one thing that goes through my mind is that if this person can do it, that means that everyone else can do it. And, if everyone else can do it, that means that I can do it, too.
Okay, so I’m not Madam Curie and I will never win the Nobel Prize for discovering anything resembling Polonium or Radium but what did she have that you and I might also have? By all rights, she could have just sat in her lab making these discoveries and no one might have ever heard of her. And isn’t that the way it is with most people?
No. Madam Curie had what most people could also have if they truly desired to make a name for themselves. She had perseverance, determination, and commitment, attributes that seem to be in short supply today.
Why are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett so wealthy today? Do you think it was luck? Do you think money was just handed to them? Think again. They didn’t only work hard for it, as millions of other people who also work hard but live almost in poverty can attest. No, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett started with a vision and then they made a plan, and then they were like a dog with a bone. They didn’t give up. They were tenacious. They were determined and persistent, and they worked very hard to bring their plans into existence. I can’t imagine the sacrifices they made but I’m sure they made many.
For the rest of us? I think we give up too soon when things don’t go as we planned. Perhaps we don’t have the same level of commitment that truly successful people have. Perhaps we have too many distractions in our lives or not enough interest or commitment to see it through to the end.
The one thing I consistently hear from successful people is that there is no such thing as luck; they make their own luck. They look for opportunities and they grab those opportunities with both hands and they take risks and they are not afraid of failure. Confucius said many things but two things stand out in my mind. He said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” And the other pearl of wisdom he’s known for saying is, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
And, if you stop to think about it, aren’t those words the ingredients of success? Isn’t that what Thomas Edison proved? He was once asked how he felt about failing 967 times to make the electric light bulb, to which he answered, that he didn’t fail 967 times, he just learned what doesn’t work 967 times.
I’m going to add one more ingredient to the mix. If you feel passionate about your work, have determination, persistence and commitment, and don’t give up, you can’t help but succeed. Very few people get money for nothing, so when you see an opportunity. grab it with both hands and don’t be afraid of failure. There’s always tomorrow, and if you keep at it, tomorrow may be the day success falls in your lap and people may believe that you got money for nothing, but you’ll know the truth behind your success.
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