One Essential Ingredient for SuccessBy
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” Thomas Paine
We were attending our son, Drew’s, graduation from Air Force flight school, at Sheppard Air Force Base. It was the culmination of a dream he has held and worked toward since childhood.
As we toured the base, talking with students and instructors, I thought about all he and the other students had worked through to experience this day. Drew joined the Air National Guard when he was 17. Endured the rigors of basic training. Earned his MS in mechanical engineering. Attained his private pilot license. Certified in aerobatic planes. Applied to four annual pilot selection boards with the Air National Guard. Missed the cut off on three before finally being selected. Went through officer training. And all that only earned him the opportunity to enter flight school.
At the morning welcome, in the briefing room, his commander talked about their strenuous training program. He said, “This is the longest flight school. 55 weeks of non-stop pressure.” When talking about the T 38 trainer, which they flew, he commented, “This is the most difficult plane to fly in the Air Force.”
Later we drove to a control tower for a tour. While waiting to go inside we were standing on a grassy area between two of the runways watching a steady stream of jets take off and land. As I watched a T 38 taxiing out, canopies up, with the instructor sitting up and behind the student who was in the front seat I thought, “Now that’s intense. Everyday someone sitting behind you critiquing your every action and word. And if you screw up you get chewed out and possibly washed out.”
And all this while you’re flying a difficult airplane which if you mess up you could die.
So that evening, when we sat in the base theatre and watched these 22 students, in their dress uniforms, walk on stage one at a time having their wings pinned on my eyes welled with tears. Each had persevered and accomplished their dream. No matter what else happens in their lives they will look back at that moment with well earned pride.
You have dreams. You have hopes. What are they? Have you focused them? Really?
Maybe you’ve tried to reach some. You’ve hit barriers and detours growing discouraged. You’ve told yourself, “It just isn’t meant to be.”
You look at others and think, “They accomplish things so easily. Why is it so hard for me?”
Yet even those who appear to be “overnight successes” worked years in obscurity to finally break into the light. When you read or listen to their stories you realize the hardships they went through.
The Bible says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Perseverance is critical. Nothing great was ever achieved without it. Those who have accomplished the greatest often struggled the hardest. Yet they never gave up until their lives were complete and their goals reached.
So how do you hang on when it gets tough? A few suggestions.
First, clarify your goals. Make sure what you are aiming at is what you really want. If not you’ll never pay the price to achieve it.
Second, expect setbacks and hard work. If you begin thinking it’ll be easy you’ll give up when things get tough.
Third, prepare yourself. Get the education you need, not only formal education but ongoing. With books and the internet you have available an unlimited amount of help from people who have accomplished what you dream about.
Finally, if your goals are really heart-felt and you’ve prepared then go for it and don’t quit. You will hit barriers, get knocked down, but you’re never defeated unless you give up.
The result will be an incredible journey. You’ll accomplish far more than you ever dreamed. Others will look at you in amazement and sometimes envy. But you’ll have the satisfaction of accomplishment that can never be taken away.
What are your dreams? What are you willing to pay the price to accomplish? What’s holding you back?
Take some time right now and write down your most heart-felt goal. Figure out the first step towards it. Ask for God’s guidance and help in achieving it. Then everyday take one more step.
And if you do this and never give up you too will stand in amazement at your success.
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Douglas Armey, the LPL Financial adviser associated with this website, practices in Fresno, California and may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the following states: California, Idaho and Oregon.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance reference is historical and is no guarantee of future results.