No overnight successes…

November 16, 2021

A quote that I saw recently caused me to think about life and a TV show that I occasionally watch. The quote was – “In most things success depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.”  (Montesquieu)

Montesquieu probably mentally added, “and having the patience and perseverance to get there”.

I occasionally watch the TV show, The Voice. I usually watch only during the initial blind auditions because they feature the backstories of the contestants. It is in those backstories that one sees the patience and perseverance of these artists, many of whom are in mid-life and still waiting their big break in life. Just being on the show can provide that break and certainly winning it assures a different life from that point forward. The main take away from most of these stories is that these people continued to pursue their goal of becoming a professional singer through hardships and setbacks.

Life is full of things that take time and patience, plus perseverance to accomplish. Many people continue to struggle because they don’t have that patience or perseverance. They keep moving on to something else before they even get close to succeeding at the first thing.

From time to time we also see the emergence of a backup player in sports (maybe the quarterback, but it could be at any position in any sport) when they finally get their shot at filling in for an injured starter. Most of these backup players labor away in obscurity year after year, practicing for an opportunity that never comes.

It is important in life to recognize those situations in which success is a long-term thing. And to adopt a mindset of patience and perseverance, rather than being disappointed at the lack of immediate success. There are also some things which are on-going and for which a daily goal of success is required, with the patience and perseverance to accomplish that goal every day. Marriage comes to mind. It isn’t as if there is some goal of “success” out in the future that one can strive for. Successful marriages happen because the parties make a conscious effort every day to make them successful. Parenting is also a long-term effort, but with at least some milestones along the way that allow one to feel successful.

Every now and then in life, it is wise to stop and take stock of where you are, where you’ve come from and where you are still headed. You can take a moment to feel good about what you’ve accomplished and rededicate yourself to the tasks still ahead to achieve those goals.

So, take a pause today and think about where you are going and why. Be realistic about what it will still take to get there, but also be resolute in your patience and perseverance to achieve those goals and you will be successful.

Have a great day on your journey to success. Maybe I’ll see you along the way.


So, get started already!

February 22, 2021

The graphic that inspired today’s post came from a feed that I get every day of graphics to use in real estate social media posts. It illustrates the point that you won’t achieve your dream, hopes and ambitions unless you ACT today. Dreaming, hoping and even planning don’t accomplish anything unless you actually do something to make progress towards those dreams and hopes.

Many people allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the size or sheer audacity of their dream. I mean, how ridiculous it might have felt for a poor little black girl in Los Angeles to dream that she might one day be the Vice-President of the United States or for the son of dirt-poor immigrants to hope to be a billionaire some day. Yet dreams and hopes like that come true. In every case, when those people are interviewed and talk about their successes you will find a long path of hard work and perseverance. Many had to overcome the roadblocks that prejudice threw up at them. They never quit and they did not give up their dreams; they just worked harder and longer at them.

Big dreams that seemingly will require Herculean efforts to achieve need to be broken down into smaller, achievable steps. Sometimes those steps won’t seem to be leading directly towards the goal, but they are required detours to enable progress later. Getting as good education is one of those steps and a key one.

An education not only opens many doors to success, but it also teaches valuable life lessons on problems solving, patience and persistence. There are many courses that one is required (forced) to take in college that may not seem to be on the path to your goal, but which you will discover later in life provide a solid knowledge base for your success. While our current emphasis on the STEM subjects is focused upon key job enabling knowledge, the humanities subjects that we are also taught help ensure that we do not become boring and one-dimensional adults. Learning to appreciate the arts and literature is as important as learning how to solve quadratic equations.

Just as important as developing your mind through education is the need to develop your faith through worship. Your intelligence grows as you feed your mind more and more information. Your faith can grow too as you give it more and more exposure to God through prayer. It is at the confluence of intelligence and faith that wisdom is created. You empower yourself for success in life through your education and your efforts. You empower yourself for life after death through your faith. The success you achieve in life is fleeting and may be measured in terms of money or power. The success you achieve in your faith is forever and is often described as being “beyond all understanding”.

So, go for your dreams. Start today to make progress towards realizing the success that you have imagined. But, don’t ignore your faith. Be as persistent in realizing the ultimate goal there, too. Work at achieving your goals and work at increasing your faith. Do something to achieve both goals every day. It is in the doing that success in both is found.

Get started today.


Start your journey to success…

May 3, 2014

“Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.”  (Richard L. Evans) from Jack’s Winning Words.

I also like another quote that may serve as a starting point for today –“Where ever you go, there you are”- Jon Kabat-Zinn.

We are all somewhere in life, so there we are. Most of us have dreams or hopes of being somewhere man daydreamingelse, maybe to have a better job or just to make more money, maybe to be happily married, maybe to have children, maybe to have a bigger house or a better car. The things that we might be wishing for and dreaming about could probably be lumped into two broad categories – stuff and relationships.

Sometimes, when we spend time dreaming of things that we don’t have, of the place in life where we’d like to be; we get discouraged because our dreams seldom come with instructions on how to get there. Just dreaming about success or even visualizing it doesn’t accomplish anything. We need to stop and assess where we are currently (where we are beginning from). Once you have a good handle on where you are – what are your current skills, what is your current education level, what experience do you have that might help,  what resources and support (family, friends, etc.) do you have to begin with – you are almost ready tolist start planning how to achieve your dream.  Write all of those things down somewhere and keep that list handy. This is the “where I started from” list and you’ll have use for it later.

But, before you take that first step; sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself about your goals. Success in life does not come without dedication and hard work. Are you truly committed to do what is necessary to get where you want to be? Are you ready to take the training or get the education that is required, even if you have to take it just a little at a time? Are you ready to make short term sacrifices, to work longer hours, to miss out on some fun things today in order to get to the goal of tomorrow? Success in life is not about buying a ticket and waiting to see if you win the drawing. If you are committed, then step off on your journey.

Since this is a journey from where you were to where you want to be, having that list that you just made above will serve as a way to measure progress. Make a note of each training course that you take successfully or each educational course that you pass on your way to the certificate or degree that you need. That way you’ll at least be able to see the progress that you’ve made from where you were. So wherever you go, there you are; and, you can see where you came from – it’s sort of like marking your growth on the kitchen door frame when you were a kid; only now you are marking your growth as a person towards your goal . Be sure to reward yourself along the way as a way to keep motivated. Celebrate each success and record it.

angry accuserAnother important part of the quote that kicked all of this off is not to let anyone discourage you. Sometime we have supporters and sometimes we have those who would drag us back down with them; telling us that we’ll never amount to anything and perhaps ridiculing us for even trying. Those are not really your friends, so let them fall by the wayside as you make your way. You can do this. You know that you can do this. If they don’t want to be there cheering for you as you achieve your goals then don’t let them become roadblocks to your success. There are many bad things that you are leaving behind on your journey to success and they make be a part of that old baggage that gets left behind.

One of the interesting side benefits of taking such a goal-oriented journey of self-improvement is that your life will likely change for the better along the way. People around you – family, friends and co-workers – will likely take note of your attitude and determination and your increasing skills and education, not because you tout them, but because they will make a difference in how you conduct yourself. You will likely be more confident, a little more outgoing and a lot more interesting person to know.

You will also meet lots of new people along the way and many of them may become new friends. That’shandshake a good thing because they join and increase your support group. It’s not unusual that your current boss at work may take notice too and offer you advancement based upon your new skills or education and your new way of carrying yourself. Maybe you hadn’t thought of that as a step along your journey, but each step up the ladder helps and it gives you another small success to add to your list. Sometimes it will feel like baby steps and sometimes like giant leaps forward. The important thing is to keep moving forward to keep your eye on the goal. Everybody began where he was. You did too; but, you are no longer there. You have moved forward and there you are.  Congratulations!