One problem that many people have is that they tend to think that the road to success starts here and ends there – ie, it’s a fairly straight route. The truth is, for most success stories, that people set out on one road and met failure, they then set out on another road, and met failure, and they kept giving it a go until they arrived at the success they were aiming at. And it’s important for people to bear in mind, when thinking about how successful they’ve been at making changes in their own lives, that this is so often the case.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at some examples…
This person wasn’t able to speak until he was almost four years old, and his teachers said that he wouldn’t amount to much. Who was he? Albert Einstein. And you don’t need to be a theoretical physicist to have heard of him.
Or this man, who was sacked from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas. He was Walt Disney. Or this woman – she was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she wasn’t fit for television. She’s Oprah Winfrey. Or this person who was told by a teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything and that he should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality. That was Thomas Edison. Or the would-be author whose first book was rejected by 27 publishers. That was the best-selling children’s author, Dr Seuss. Or what about the man whose fiancé died, who failed in business, who had a nervous breakdown, and who lost eight elections? That was Abraham Lincoln, who went on to be the 16th US president. Or you might be more familiar with the guy, aged 30, who was left devastated and depressed after being unceremoniously removed from the company he’d started. That was Steve Jobs and Apple.
If you like sport, there was the lad who was dropped from his high school basketball team, who went home, locked himself in his room, and cried. That was Michael Jordan, six times NBA champion, five times NBA MVP, and four times NBA all-star. Or the 11-year-old boy who was dropped from his football team after being diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency that made him smaller than most children his age. That was Lionel Messi, who became three times FIFA world player of the year.
Then there was the high school dropout, whose personal struggle with drugs and poverty culminated in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. That was Eminem, who became a 13 times Grammy award winner. Perhaps, most famously, was the popular beat combo, who were rejected by Decca recording studios because they didn’t like their sound. Decca added that the band had no future in show business. That was The Beatles, arguably the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in history
The argument is that if you haven’t failed, you’ve haven’t tried anything new. So maybe, you can get control of your life and go on to become a great success in some area of your choice.
But how can you motivate yourself? The argument is usually between the carrot and the stick approach. You motivate someone away from pain and towards pleasure. With the stick you threaten them with something bad unless they start to improve. With the carrot you dangle a reward in front of them if things go well. But first it’s important to identify your particular goal and then work out the stepping stones along the way to achieving it, so that no step is too far or too hard, but all those small steps put together lead to a much bigger change in your attitude and behaviour, and soon your goal is achievable.
And while not everyone can be an Edison or Einstein, It’s important not to write yourself off as talentless. Make sure you use every opportunity to explore what talents you have and what they can bring to overcoming whatever issues may seem to be preventing you achieving your goal. And then visualize successfully achieving each step on the way to your ultimate success.