Posts Tagged ‘Success’

“Some people dream of success… while others wake up and work hard at it.” –author unknown

“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.” –Norman Lear

Eric Thomas is a Motivational Speaker, Educator, Preacher, Youth Activist, Entrepreneur, Father, and Husband. You can read Eric’s bio here: http://theetstory.org/the-author/bio

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” — Mahatma Gandhi


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Words of Wisdom from Will Smith

How to Live Life — Lessons from Dr. Randy Pausch

The Road to Success


Thoughts on Life from General Colin Powell

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We all dream of great deeds and high positions, away from the pettiness and humdrum of ordinary life. Yet success is not occupying a lofty place or doing conspicuous work; it is being the best that is in you. Rattling around in too big a job is much worse than filling a small one to overflowing. Dream, aspire by all means; but do not ruin the life you must lead by dreaming pipe dreams of the one you would like to lead. Make the most of what you have and are. Perhaps your trivial, immediate task is your one sure way of proving your mettle. Do the thing near at hand, and great things will come to your hand to be done.

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley – but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass –
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail –
Be the best of whatever you are!

–Douglas Malloch

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Building on yesterday’s post on perseverance, here’s a story about faith, determination and perseverance that I thought worth sharing:

Just Keep Planting

When Paul was a boy growing up in Utah, he happened to live near an old copper smelter, and the sulfur dioxide that poured out of the refinery had made a desolate wasteland out of what used to be a beautiful forest. Paul vowed that some day he would bring back the life to this land.

Many years later Paul was in the area, and he went to the smelter office. He asked if they had any plans to bring the trees back. The answer was “No.” He asked them if they would let him try to bring the trees back. Again, the answer was “No.” They didn’t want him on their land. After praying about the matter, Paul realized he needed to become more knowledgeable before anyone would listen to him, so he went to college to study botany.

At the college he met a professor who was an expert in Utah’s ecology. Unfortunately, Paul was told that the wasteland he wanted to bring back was beyond hope. He was told that his goal was foolish because even if he planted trees, and even if they grew, the wind would only blow the seeds forty feet per year, and that’s all you’d get because there weren’t any birds or squirrels to spread the seeds, and the seeds from those trees would need another thirty years before they started producing seeds of their own. Therefore, it would take approximately twenty thousand years to revegitate that six-square-mile piece of earth. His teachers told him it would be a waste of his life to try to do it. It just could not be done.

So he tried to go on with his life. He got a job operating heavy equipment, got married, and had some kids. However, as a good Christian, he knew that “faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). So, he kept studying about the subject, and prayed for guidance on the matter. Then one night he felt led to take action by faith alone. He would do what he could, and trust God to do the rest. This was an important turning point.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is common to overlook what is near by keeping the eye fixed on something remote. In the same manner, present opportunities are neglected and attainable good is slighted by minds busied in extensive ranges.” Paul stopped busying his mind in extensive ranges and looked at what opportunities for attainable good were right in front of him. Who among us hasn’t wondered what God wants us to do in our life here on earth? Under the cover of darkness, Paul sneaked out into the wasteland with a backpack of seedlings and started planting. For seven hours he planted seedlings.

He did it again a week later. And every week, he made his secret journey into the wasteland and planted trees and shrubs and grass. But most of it died. Like so many of our hopes and dreams. However, Paul had faith, and kept planting.

For fifteen years he did this. When a whole valley of his fir seedlings burned to the ground because of a careless sheep-herder, Paul broke down and wept. Have any of you had this kind of set-back in your life? I sure have! But Paul got up, and kept planting.

Freezing winds and blistering heat, landslides and floods and fires destroyed his work time and time again. But he kept planting. One night he found a highway crew had come and taken tons of dirt for a road grade, and all the plants he painstakingly planted in that area were gone. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the way things have gone in my life. Time for some major prayers. Then Paul kept planting.

Week after week, year after year he kept at it, against the opinion of the authorities, against the trespassing laws, against the devastation of road crews, against the wind and rain and heat… even against plain common sense. He just kept planting.

Slowly, very slowly, things began to take root. Then gophers appeared. Then rabbits. Then porcupines. The copper smelter eventually gave him permission, and later, as times were changing and there was political pressure to clean up the environment, the company actually hired Paul to do what he was already doing. They even provided him with machinery and crews to work with. Progress accelerated.

Now the place is fourteen thousand acres of trees, grass, bushes, as well as all kinds of wildlife. Paul has now received almost every environmental award Utah has. He says, “I thought that if I got this started, when I was dead and gone people would come and see it. I never thought I’d live to see it myself!”

It took him until his hair turned white, but he managed to keep that impossible vow he made to himself as a child.

What was/is it you want to do, that you think is impossible? Paul’s story sure gives a perspective on things, doesn’t it?

The way you get something accomplished in this world is to trust God for guidance, and just keep planting. He will show you the way if you have faith, and keep working. Just keep plugging away at it one day at a time for a long time, no matter who criticizes or laughs at you, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many times you fall. Get back up again, keep trusting God, and just keep planting.


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Do you ever feel like giving up?

We all need support and encouragement in our lives. There may be many times when you feel like giving up – when you begin to experience self-doubt, when you wonder if your goal is worth the effort. The next time that happens, remember these words:

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.
–Marie Curie

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend.
–Joseph Addison

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm; in the real world, all rests on perseverance.
–Johann von Goethe

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t. –Henry Ward Beecher

By perseverance the snail reached the Ark. –Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. –Jacob A. Riis

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Perseverance – Just Keep Planting

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“To be successful, you must decide exactly what you want to accomplish, then resolve to pay the price to get it.” – Bunker Hill

How determined are you?

One thing I’ve learned in life is “never underestimate the lengths someone will go to, to get their own way.” Some people are just determined they are going to do whatever they want, or get what they want. If it means they have to lie and manipulate, they will. They don’t care who they hurt, as long as they get their way.

When it comes to achieving a personal goal, many people give up as soon as they face the first obstacle, or as soon as the going gets rough. Maybe the truth is – we aren’t willing to pay the price to achieve it.

One of my favorite movies that exhibits hope, patience, determination and perseverance is “The Shawshank Redemption.” If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Another good movie which also shows hope, determination and perseverance is “The Pursuit of Happyness.” (No, that is not a typo). This was based on the true story of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith. Watching these movies makes you feel like you’ve almost got no excuse for not achieving your goals. Keep reading below the movie trailers.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Pursuit of Happyness

It took me six years before I was able to get my daughter a summer job where I worked – and I knew people, and had a good reputation. I was determined. There was always something that came up. They weren’t hiring that particular summer due to budget constraints, or mysteriously the vacany announcement just got pulled off the table. Persistence paid off. In the end, not only did she get a summer job, she was also asked to stay working with that group, which she did for another year and a half while in college.

Although I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, many people do. Losing weight seems to be a popular item on people’s list. How many people actually accomplish the goal of losing weight and keeping it off? What is it that keeps them from achieving that goal, or any other goal they’ve set? Do they lose interest in the goals they’ve set, or are they just not willing to do what it takes to make it happen?

So, take some time and think about your goals. If you don’t have any goals now is the time to come up with some. Now ask yourself, “how determined am I to achieve them?” and “Am I willing to pay the price?”

“If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up.” –Norman Vincent Peale

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” –Jesse Owens

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by Author Unknown

Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way.

Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition.

The best vitamin for making friends, B-1.

If you don’t care where you’re going any road will get you there.

A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.

He who throws mud loses ground.

Nobody raises his own reputation by lowering others.

Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

Ideas won’t work unless you do.

The future is purchased by the present.

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.

Lost time is never found again.

A hard thing about business is minding your own.

Triumph is just “umph” added to try.

Caution is not cowardly, Carelessness is not courage.

He who forgives ends the quarrel.

Children need more models than critics.

Frogs have it easy, They can eat what bugs them.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime.

If the going gets easy you may be going downhill.

Dieters – People that are thick and tired of it.

Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise.

The best labor saving device is doing it tomorrow.

A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out.

Failure is the path of least persistence.

Hard work is the yeast that raises the dough.

Patience is counting down without blasting off.

Have a backbone not a wishbone.

Some folks won’t look up until they are flat on their backs.

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.

Friend – One who knows all about you and likes you just the same.

Money talks and often just says, “Good-bye”.

Birds have bills too and they keep on singing.

Forbidden fruit is responsible for many a bad jam.

God’s retirement plan is out of this world.

A good example is the best sermon.

The Ten Commandments are not multiple choice.

Well done! is better than, Well said!

Minds are like parachutes – they function only when open.

Live as you wish your kids would.

Swallowing your pride seldom leads to indigestion.

If you can laugh at it then you can live with it.

People don’t fail, they give up.

When looking for faults use a mirror, not a telescope.

Smile, it takes only 13 muscles; A frown takes 64.

Kindness, a language deaf people can hear and blind can see.

Heaviest thing to carry – a grudge.

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

A small leak can sink a great ship.

You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.

Tact is the ability to see others as they wish to be seen.

A bad conscience has a very good memory.

Hug your kids at home – Belt them in the car.

One thing you can give and still keep – is your word.

A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.

If you must cry over spilled milk then please try to condense it.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.

Make friends before you need them.

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.

Success is … more attitude than aptitude.

Our favorite attitude should be gratitude.

The greatest of all faults is to imagine you have none.

Too many of us speak twice before we think.

Some people develop eye strain looking for trouble.

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.

Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death.

It is no crime not to be perfect.

If others have sinned you need not mention it.

No man knows less than the man who knows it all.

Patience carries a lot of wait.

One who lacks courage to start has already finished.

A quitter never wins, A winner never quits. A coward never starts.

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.

Break a bad habit – Drop it.

Don’t learn safety rules simply by accident.

Failing to prepare We prepare to fail.

Past failures are guideposts for future success.

There is no right way to do a wrong thing.

There can be no rainbow without a cloud and a storm.

If your dreams turn to dust…vacuum.

Money is a good servant but is a cruel master.

Seek joy in what you give not in what you get.

Procrastination is the thief of time.

Success comes in cans, Failure comes in can’ts.

Anger is one letter short of danger. Greatest remedy for anger is delay.

2/3 of promotion is motion.

Having a sharp tongue can cut your own throat.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

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Think about this — When communicating with others about a problem do you Seek First to Understand, or must you Make Your Point First?

Many years ago I read the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. The book has since gone on to be a bestseller. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seven_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are:

1 – Be Proactive – taking initiative; responsibility for your own life; behavior based on conscious choice, based on values (rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling)

2 – Begin with the End in Mind – start with a clear understanding of your destination, know where you’re going

3 – Put First Things First – putting things that matter most first

4 – Think Win/Win – seek mutual benefit in all human interactions

5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – emphatic communication

6 – Synergize – cooperation with others

7 – Sharpen the Saw – balanced self-renewal

A couple of the habits really stuck with me, like: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, Begin with the End in Mind, and Sharpen the Saw. Since reading the book, and as I get older, I find I’ve become more understanding of people/situations. I try to understand why people do what they do. I make a conscious effort to try to see things from the other person’s perspective. I haven’t perfected this skill, but I’m still working at it. That doesn’t mean that I agree with them, or would do things the way they do. It’s just that I sometimes imagine being the other person. For instance, I might say, “If I was fearful, insecure, or whatever, I might behave the same way if I was the other person.” Remember the saying that goes something like, “Don’t judge another man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.” It’s taking what you know about that person, trying to get inside their head. Sometimes you just have to believe that “it’s not about you.” We all have people in our lives that are close to us and need our understanding. And we need understanding from others as well. This means you will not immediately jump to conclusions. You will control yourself and not immediately fly off the handle in anger, or pout because your feelings are hurt. Try to really listen to what the other person has to say. Hear them out before you respond. Then state your side, or your point of view. This is especially helpful when dealing with your significant other. Why? Your significant other is the one person who really knows how to push your buttons. This will make for better communication and can help you remain calmer. This is not to say that you will never be angry or upset again — just that maybe you won’t react in a way that you’ll later regret. You’ll think before you speak. You won’t be so reactionary. You won’t be so quick to say or do things you wish you could take back. And you won’t waste your valuable time in some long, drawn out emotional funk. Call it relationship damage control. Take a few moments and think about your communication style. Do you seek first to understand, or to be understood first? Below are some links to videos and other info that talks more in-depth about the seven habits.

Empathic Listening


Intro to Seven Habits


For a more in-depth description of the book/seven habits:



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Have you ever noticed that your life is filled with ups and downs? It is never all ups or all downs. Last week I was at the Barnes and Noble just looking around when I saw this book on one of the display tables — “Peaks and Valleys: Making Good and Bad Times Work For You — At Work and In Life” by bestselling author Spencer Johnson. Interesting title I thought. I just glanced at it and kept on walking. Well something pulled me back. I had read this author before and like his work and writing style. So I bought the book and a couple days later sat down and read it in one sitting. It’s an easy read, only 101 pages.

Anyways, the book is a story about a guy who lives unhappily in a valley, who wants to get to “the Peak.” He meets a wise old man who lives on a peak and it changes his work and life forever. The old man tells him that all our lives are full of peaks and valleys. He likens it to our heartbeat. “Like a healthy heartbeat, your personal Peaks and Valleys are an essential part of a normal, healthy life. So are the Plateaus, if they are times of healthy rest when you take stock of what is happening and pause to think about what to do next. Peaks and Valleys are not just the good and bad times that happen to you. They are also how you feel inside and respond to outside events.” So, he goes on to say that we can make good use of our time in the Valley. There are valuable lessons to be learned in the Valley and, you can’t stay on the Peak if you are not prepared. Even though the old man lives on the peak, he goes down into the valley from time to time for provisions. He says that both physical peaks and valleys, and personal Peaks and Valleys are connected. How? He says…”The errors you make in today’s good times create tomorrow’s bad times. And the wise things you do in today’s bad times create tomorrow’s good times. People who use a Peaks and Valleys approach during bad times make things better when they return to basics, and concentrate on what matters most.” If you look back over the course of your life I’m sure you can see the Peaks and Valleys. I know I can. He says…”the path out of the valley appears when you choose to see things differently.”

At first after reading the book I thought — cute story. But like with most everything I read, I see if it can be applied to my life. The answer is yes. Can it be applied to your life? Probably. I’ll let you be the judge of that. Buy the book if you want to know more. He’s got tips for you in these areas:

– To manage your good and bad times
– To get out of the Valley sooner
– To stay on the Peak longer
– To get to your next Peak
– To help People

To learn more about Peaks and Valleys visit their website www.PeaksAndValleysTheBook.com

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Decisions — How powerful are they?

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” –Anthony Robbins

One of the things my father told me during our many conversations about life is this — “People bring most of their problems in life on themselves.” How? By their choices, by the decisions they make. Note, he didn’t say all. I decided to see if this was true. I began by analyzing other people’s problems. I’ve heard many tales of woe and found his statement to be true. Illness aside, their situations/circumstances could have been avoided. Think about it. I’m just going to throw some words out here of situations and you can do the thinking — pregnancy, credit cards, running out of gas, driving under the influence of alcohol, lying, what you spend your money on, not saving money, gambling, not keeping your agreements, living beyond your means, bankruptcy. Got the picture? In the book “Awaken the Giant Within,” author Anthony Robbins http://www.tonyrobbins.com had the following to say about the power of your decisions:

The 3 Decisions that Control Your Destiny:

1. Your decisions about what to focus on.

2. Your decisions about what things mean to you.

3. Your decision about what to do to create the results you desire.

“Too many of us don’t make the majority of our decisions consciously, especially these three absolutely crucial ones; in so doing, we pay a major price. In fact, most people live what I call “The Niagara Syndrome.” I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, and current challenges. When they come to forks in the river, they don’t consciously decide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely “go with the flow.” They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result they feel out of control. They remain in this unconscious state until one day the sound of the raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagara Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say, “Oh shoot!” But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall. Sometimes it’s an emotional fall. Sometimes it’s a physical fall. Sometimes it’s a financial fall. It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream.

How do we turn things around if we’re caught up in the momentum of the raging river? Either make a decision to put both oars in the water and start paddling like crazy in a new direction, or decide to plan ahead. Set a course for where you really want to go, and have a plan or map so that you can make quality decisions along the way.”

This is just some food for thought. You may not agree with everything that has been said, however, the decisions we make greatly impact our lives.

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