Luck has nothing to do with success…

September 12, 2014

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” – Harry Golden

This week on Wednesday I wrote about having a dream, seeing what is needed to accomplish that dream and doing what is necessary to get to that goal. On Thursday, I wrote about “the burn of success” – that good feeling you get when you’ve made progress towards your goal , no matter how small that progress was.

Today, let’s deal with hard luck. Sometimes you will suffer setbacks in life and sometimes that will involve just plain old hard luck – something that didn’t work out through no fault of your own. Maybe an event that would have marked a milestone for you got rained out. Maybe a promotion that you thought was in hand got pushed out due to factors that are out of your control. Maybe an accident or some other act of happenstance prevented you from completing a task this week. Whatever the hard luck circumstance was that set you back a bit, there is only one real solution – work harder to overcome that setback.

Anytime you attribute something to luck – good or bad – you are allowing yourself to believe that things were totally out of your control; that there was no way to see the event or incident coming and certainly no way that you could have prevented or changed it. Perhaps. Perhaps not. Successful people who become high achievers usually also are good planners. A part of their planning is dealing with the things that may be out of their control – like the weather or traffic tie-ups. At least a small part of their plan is having some idea ahead of time of the possibilities of those things impacting their plans and giving some thought to what the alternatives are or what steps might be taken to recover, should the worst happen.  That’s part of the hard work that overcomes hard luck.

It’s much easier for us all to say, “I just wasn’t lucky today” than it is to admit, “I just didn’t plan for what happened today.” Many times when things happen there really wasn’t anything that we could have done to prevent them; but, perhaps we could have been better prepared to deal with them. In some cases being prepared may just mean being able to accept the setback as a temporary blip on the road to our goals. Being mentally prepared to say “Oh, well that didn’t work, let’s try something else or let’s try again”, is so much better than allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by feelings of defeat due to a little hard luck. Hard luck will just bounce off a strong positive mental attitude.

So here we are and it’s Friday. Maybe you jumped with both feet on your dream on Wednesday and started to make some progress. Celebrate that progress. Maybe you’ve already hit a snag or some hard luck. Don’t give up. Rest up, if you can, on the weekend. Think about your goal and the things that went right and the things that didn’t. Figure out a plan to overcome the adversity that you have hit, even if that means starting over along a different path and working even harder.

If thoughts of giving up your goal creep in, due to all of the work that seems to be involved, take some heart from these words from Ann Frank – Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction. The satisfaction that Ann spoke of is the same as “feeling the burn of success” that I wrote about on Thursday. Get that feeling back and recharge for the week ahead. You have lots to do to reach your goal and fortunately you will have a full week next week. Have a great weekend.

Feel the burn of success…

September 11, 2014

“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.  Plan more than you can do, then do it.”  (Joe Paterno). From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

I was glad to see Jack make this post of a quote by Joe Paterno because too many people have been avoiding anything to do with Joe Paterno since the child abuse scandal broke out about his long-time assistant coach. I don’t want to comment upon that here at all; but I do want to expand on the quote from Joe.

woman catching starThis quote is a nice follow-up to my last post, which was about stretching yourself to go for your dreams (read See it and be it). In most cases that may initially seem like you are biting off more than you can chew. I guess if it didn’t feel that way, it wouldn’t be called a “stretch” would it? And, in order to achieve it, you will need to plan more than it seems that your can do. Then to get there, you will need to do what you have planned. Somehow it all falls into place; doesn’t it?

So, what logically comes next? No, it’s not instant success and reward. There is no magic in the equation for success just lots of hard work. Another great football coach had his to say about that –

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vince Lombardi

Great coaches, whether in sports, business or life in general, tend to boil things down to simple, straightforward little phrases that make a lot of sense and inspire action. These aren’t just the “lunks” in the gym telling you to “feel the at the gymburn”; these are the leaders who help you understand that felling that burn is the only way to get to the next level and beyond; the only way to achieve your goals.

The “burn” that comes from success is not just about exercise and your muscles; it’s about putting in that extra effort, going that extra mile, studying that extra hour; doing what others are not willing to do to achieve the goal that you have set for yourself. The “burn” that you will feel when you’ve done what was necessary to achieve success burns your soul and it is something that only you will be aware of and understand. Once you’ve experienced it; it can become addictive. It’s not just the feeling of success at having reached that new level; it’s the good feeling that you get during the process. It is realizing how alive and in control you feel as you go through what you must to get to that new level.

A well-respected phycologist named Abraham Maslow reflected on this in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Maslow postulated that once you get past all of the things that motivate people out of their need to survive and be loved and accepted they will eventually reach a state of mind that he called self-actualization, in which that are chasing goalfocused upon things which are self-gratifying. That is what the “burn” of reaching for your dream of success can become – a self-gratifying and self-motivating energy that you can feed upon.
So, as you commit yourself to achieving your dream and do what you must do to get there, “feel the burn” that comes with success. Feel good about putting in that extra effort. Feel good about taking that extra class. Feel good about staying to make those extra charts for your presentation. Feel good about being the last one out of the building, because you put in that extra effort. Feel the burn of success. Let it warm you a bit, but then move on to the next thing that you need to do to reach your goal.

Once you reach your goal; once you have climbed the mountain that was before you; you may discover that you look out reaching goalfrom that peak and see another mountain far off in the distance that is even higher and even more challenging.
Congratulations! You’ve just discovered your next goal. Take a moment to savor this victory; then take a deep breath, visualize yourself at the top of that new mountain and start to feel the exhilarating burn from your next challenge. Nothing in life will make you feel more alive than the pain of the next struggle for success.

Feel the burn of success!

Your fate is in your own hands…

June 16, 2014

“The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”  (Shakespeare) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack goes on to talk about the movie The Fault in our Stars” and the arguments that some make that their fate is somehow in the hands of the stars or preordained by God; while others  believe that our fate is in our own hands. My thoughts (and Jack’s) tend to run with the latter crowd.

There was a story in today’s Oakland Press about Makaya Morgan, a young girl who has just finished high school in Novi, Michigan, and is going to college in the fall on a full scholarship. In and of itself that doesn’t sound too extraordinary; however, this story is about a young African-American girl who has bounced around through various foster home situations, whose father was killed when she was 4 years old and whose mother is homeless and suffering from dementia and whose brothers and sisters have been broken up into various foster homes. Through all of that she has maintained a resolve to control her own fate by hard work and studying to get ahead. She has a goal of graduating from college with a degree in a medical field and one day getting her family back together.

That young girl could surely tell you that her fate is in no one’s hands but her own. So, not only is the fault in no one but ourselves, the future is there, too. It is all too easy to cop-out and lament that somehow the stars and the world were against you and that is why you failed at something. It is harder and much more rewarding in the long run to take the attitude that leads you to learn from women dreamingthat failure and try again. In a nod towards God, it is perhaps His hand that is helping you with that attitude towards life. God is not there to hand you things, but to make sure that you never stop
reaching for them.

I went looking for a quote to throw in here and found a really great one that seems to fit nicely –

Until you are broken, you don’t know what you’re made of. Being broken gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but this time around build yourself stronger than ever. Therefore you will be unbreakable. – Melissa Molomo.

I’m not sure anyone is ever unbreakable, but you can become unflappable and unstoppable; or at least more so than before. That is what that young girl in Novi, Michigan has become out of her travails. She never stopped believing that she could succeed and she has and will in the future.

While Googling around to find out more about Melisa Molomo, I found another saying that Melisa had posted on Pinterest  that seemed to be a good  fit for this post and a good Monday morning start to another week.

“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

Makaya Morgan is surely an example of that philosophy. She still has to work while in college because her room and board are not included I the scholarship; but, you kind of know that she’ll do fine, because she is a winner and has her fate in her own hands. What about you? Are you ready to take control of and responsibility for your life?