Second in a series
I hope that you found Part 1 of the 10-step commitment ladder of some interest, or at least interesting enough to garner your curiosity to read the following narrative. We will now climb steps three, four, five and six. Suit up, soldier. We are going in hot!
Step 3: Persistence. We need to remind ourselves that we have not failed until we quit. In “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill says, “Every successful person finds that great success lies just beyond the point when they are convinced their idea is not going to work.” Success waits for those of us who can hang on just a little bit longer while we endure the pain just a little longer! The story about gazelles in South Africa encapsulates my view about never giving up. Every morning in South Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing it must outrun the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up knowing it must outrun the slowest gazelle or starve to death. Therefore, it does not matter if we are gazelles or lions. When the sun comes up, we had better be running.
Step 4: Adversity. When difficulties strike, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit – but not if you are former marine lieutenant and motivational speaker Clede McClary, who says that you must FIDO (forget it, drive on!). In other words, fuhgeddaboutit! Successful people FIDO, because they embrace failure and do not allow roadblocks to stop them from accomplishing their dreams. They understand that failure is necessary! They view hardships as life lessons.
When difficulties emerge, I habitually struggle with frustration, anger and disappointment. I get down on myself, but I do not stay down because staying down is for losers. Instead, I suggest that we heed the words of wisdom from author and Minister Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who said; “If you have no problems, I warn you, you are in grave jeopardy. You are on your way out, and you do not know it. Perhaps what you had better do is immediately go to your room and shut the door and get down on your knees and pray to the Lord, ‘Lord, please; don’t you trust me anymore? Give me some problems!” We all get our share of setbacks, so let us not try to duck them. Instead, strap in and let us meet misfortune head on.
Step 5: Learning. How we feed our mind is every bit as critical as how we feed our bodies. Will we continually sharpen our saw? According to author and businessperson Steven Covey, “sharpen the saw” means “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset we have: us! It requires having a balanced program for self-renewal in four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.”
All the successful people I know are devoted readers. They simply need to know. They are inherently inquisitive. According to personal development guru Jim Rohn, “Formal education will earn you a living, while self-education will make you a fortune.” To put it another way: It is more important to work harder on ourselves than on our occupation. I love what renowned author and speaker Jeffrey Gitomer has to say regarding learning: “College education prepares you to play Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit. The rest of what we need to learn about our success, we have to learn on our own.”
Step 6: Mentoring. Throughout history and well before there were books and institutions of higher learning, people would seek out the masters and learn from them. A Chinese proverb states, “Mentors know the road ahead. Ask those coming back.” We need to learn from those who have already walked the path before us. Successful people leave clues, and it is our job to uncover them.
There is an old saying: “Watch the man ahead of you and you will soon learn why he is ahead.” I learned a long time ago that it is far more productive to imitate a successful person than to envy him.
Harry Pappas Jr., CFP®
Certified Estate and Trust Specialist™
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®
Pappas Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors
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