Failure holds you back. If you are not where you want to be in life, then it holds you back. Everything pulls you back to where you are when you’re trying to get ahead, when you’re trying to improve yourself. Your situation, your friends, your family, your debt, everything… maybe not on purpose, but those things hold you back.
Success isn’t that way, it does not hold you up, it does not keep you at the top. If success was sticky you wouldn’t have scandals and sad situations like Tiger Woods, John Edwards, lindsay lohan… the list is pretty long so I’ll stop. If success was sticky, celebrities, sports stars, and politicians would actually still be role models and we could feel good about our children looking up to. Instead, failure is pulling at them, in spite of their successes. In fact, failure may be pulling at them harder.
When you’re in failure mode, your mind is consumed with your situation. Every day, even minute, can be a struggle. Maybe you’re working two jobs and you’re too tired to do your best job at either job. If you have children, you miss spending time with them and that makes you more frustrated. If you do like most people in hard times and get behind in your bills, the phone calls and letters can drive you insane or close to it. Constantly trying to figure out how to pay this bill or keep the power and water on and then a check bounces, takes it toll and soon you’re yelling at the ones you love. It takes incredible dedication and focus to claw and inch your way out of this situation. It can be done, however most don’t make it. Some do it with an Internet Business.
A successful person does not have these same problems. They should be able to reach new heights of creativity and productivity with the clarity of mind that not worrying brings – right? Some do. Some don’t. The human mind is a very sophisticated blob of goo! I always like to get the example that you can walk into a foul smelling restroom, like at a high school football game, and after a few minutes you no longer notice how bad it smells because your brain adjusts a few synapses and re-centers what “normal” smells like. Or after changing your first dozen diapers, you no longer gag and turn green… in fact, before long you can just keep eating while making diaper changes. In those cases the brain works for you and helps you out. The brain can work against you too. Success can lead to thinking you’re bullet proof, to thinking that you can get away with things that are wrong, or with sub-par performance. Success also brings followers, people who may not have your best interest at heart, people who want to pull themselves up to you but end up pulling you down to their level.
The key is focus. Take the Super Bowl for example. If you watch the game you’ll see some excellent examples of focus. A Quarterback who can keep his composure and scan around for an open receiver downfield, and throw the ball accurately, all while knowing a bunch of 250 to 350 pound (or more) massive, incredibly strong and fast guys are trying to knock him down and kill him. You’ll see receivers look only at the ball as it makes its way to their outstretched hands… all while knowing that another player is running at them as hard as possible and will try everything they can to obliterate them and make them drop the ball. And while all of this is going on, thousands of fans scream as loud as they can. Just as impressive as the concentration on the field, you’ll see coaches on the sideline execute their plans, evaluate, compensate, and adjust trying to out-coach the other coach.
The effect of focus and the fact that success is not sticky is easy to understand with sports. It’s easy to watch a great dancer with Creative Movement, an exceptional gymnast, any Olympic athlete and know the years of training and focus it took to reach the top. It’s just as easy to understand that if they stop working out, if they stop practicing, if they start eating junk food and smoking, they will quickly loose their position at the top.
It’s hard to have this same understanding in others areas such as work, your marriage, your children, and your faith.
Until next time,
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Thanks Fred for your article!
Gary J. Cooper