Whether or not someone succeeds is rarely dependent on intellect, personality, or even financial ability, alone. In over thirty years of training people in success, leadership, motivation, and attitude oriented areas, I have come to the conclusion that the single most essential element for success is an individual’s commitment. Is someone willing to endure frustrations and obstacles, viewing these as mere challenges to overcome, thus converting adversity to success? Or, does he permit his frustrations and disappointments get the best of him, and does he give in to his perceived failures? Zig Ziglar wrote, “Most people who fail in their dreams fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.”
1. How do you handle adversity? Most people unfortunately use adversities as excuses, and give up on their dreams, hopes, aspiration, and even their vision. An examination of individuals that almost all of us would agree were some of the great success stories, including Abraham Lincoln, Dale Carnegie, Mohammed Ali, etc., indicates that each of them faced many challenges, obstacles, and battles along the way, only to persevere and succeed. We have all probably read about Lincoln’s challenge, from his physical limitations and doubts to his odd appearance, as well as his numerous political battles (the first political race Lincoln ever won was the Presidency). Lincoln did not permit these obstacles, as well as his battles with depression defeat him, and he remained committed to his vision for our divided nation. When Dale Carnegie began his discussion about the needs for someone to succeed based on a positive attitude and certain behaviors, I am sure there were many naysayers and snickerers, who scoffed at his philosophy. Yet, today the teachings of Dale Carnegie are taught in almost every nation in the world, and most of his teachings are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago. Mohammed Ali felt so strongly about his religious convictions that he stood up for them, even when it meant being stripped of his title, as well as his income, only to return to the ring many years later, and regain his championship, even when others said he was too old and out of shape.
2. Are you as committed to anything as these successful men were? Are you willing to stand up for your beliefs, even when derided and scoffed at by others? Is there a driving force in your life, to motivate you to your personal greatness and success?
We may all disagree about who is successful. We might disagree about what makes someone a success. We probably do disagree about our personal definition of success. However, regardless of definition, philosophy, vision, goals, or belief sets, there should be no doubt that success is impossible without absolute commitment and inner fortitude and strength.