The Endurance to Succeed

Success is sometimes like a light bulb

When asked about the first requirement for success, Thomas Edison replied, “the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary.”

The question for you is just like the light bulb, can you stay on long enough to achieve results?  Conversely, can you turn your light off when needed and at the right times in order to avoid burning out too early?

You have heard that perseverance is the key to success – “just don’t quit.”  There is quite a bit of wisdom in this statement but if you are not quitting on a bad plan, failure is assured, in fact you will surely fail.

At the Simpkins Foundation for Entrepreneurs (every business person in the community should attend these speeches; I have not missed one in five years and I learn something every time), the owner and creator of CakeLove, Warren Brown, spoke about the principle of “searching for the truth.”  An intriguing principle that all of us must grasp in order to assure that the business plan we have is one that is obtainable for success and not a plan that is heading over the Grand Canyon cliff.

Our current cultural attitude reminds me of the age-old tale about the frog in the pot.  You can take a frog and drop it in boiling hot water and it will jump out immediately. However, if you take that same frog, put it in nice cool water, turn up the heat one degree every few minutes, it will eventually cook to death.   Because the cool water is its comfort zone, recognizing the bad plan of staying in the water is next to impossible.

Look around at how cooked our nation, communities and people have become.  We just simply take anything that someone says on TV, the Internet, or from our government officials as gospel truth.   In fact, to make matters worse our media sources have bought into the social consciousness that “negative sells;” so what do they provide you?  More negative.  I did a test the other day and flipped on the TV and stopped on a local channel and in five minutes they had presented three horrific crime scenes.  And speaking of horrific, take the bill that passed the Senate raising the debt ceiling.  Did anyone notice that it included a pay raise for all federal employees?  They cry about the double-digit unemployment, but give their own more money.

At the same time, I am sure Arnold Palmer Hospital had a great story about a child beating cancer, or a local charity that helped a family, or a business that had broken a new milestone – why not tell those stories so that we can learn the truth about how to succeed?

Put the paper in the trash, turn off the news, shut down the negative and get tuned into the success stories that are around you everyday.  You can learn truth in one simple manner:  get around those who are achieving with character and ask questions and then listen.

Though the truth will free us, often we don’t seek it because:  IT HURTS.  The truth is tough to swallow.  Recently, Dr. Neeli Bendapuli, marketing professor at Ohio State University, spoke about how customer service is the cornerstone of a marketing plan.  She described how it orientated businesses to realize they are not perfect and accept criticism from their clients with openness because it is an opportunity to improve.  Her pivotal point, “If the client did not care about you, they would not complain.”  But most companies miss the opportunity, because they need to prove that they are right.  It is not about being right or wrong – it’s about success.

Achieving success is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you are running a losing race, all the endurance in the world will not help.  You will find a renewed spring in your step when you practice these four steps on the success curve:

  1. Seek the truth,
  2. Have the faith (courage) to act on the truth,
  3. Keep your eyes and ears open to others, and
  4. Develop discernment to measure what you see and hear against the truth in order to react properly with truth.

In the words of Mark Twain, “Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.”

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