When asked the first requirement for success, Thomas Edison replied, “the ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem without growing weary.”
We are faced every day with misconceptions and adversity regarding success in business or life, so much so that sometimes I wonder how anyone is ever successful. Issues like personnel, finances, technology, public relations, legal, distribution, sales, marketing, relationships, politics and government policies to name a few of the critical areas. Then there are the short-term wonder stories that tempt everyone to shortcut the path to success. Nobody hangs around long enough to see the final conclusion to those short-term wonder stories as they drive off the cliff. Ultimately the real success comes due to one’s character, for it’s your character that determines your destiny.
Character-Based Decision Making
The times I have been blessed with an opportunity to lead organizations I have tried to use character as the tool to foster the organization’s success. I went through a training many years ago conducted by the Character First Training Institute and it introduced me to the concept of character-based decision making. The training identified four areas: 1) take personal responsibility for the business from receptionist to CEO; 2) aim for success every day; 3) visualize the connection between character and success; and, 4) personally commit to character development.
Personal commitment is necessary for a character-based approach to be effective in managing your business or life. Anne Frank said; “The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Likewise, Helen Keller believed, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
People endured great hardship in order to successfully build our country. As entrepreneurs, we know endurance plays a critical role in achieving our dreams. It takes a focused effort over time. The problem is that over that time period we encounter self-doubt and discouragement. In order to accomplish great things in life one must not only act but also dream; not only plan but also believe.
Endurance is fueled by belief. So in order to have the energy for endurance one must have a great belief system. I thought this little poem by Edgar Guest titled “Believe in Yourself” would be appropriate for these times:
Believe in yourself: Believe you were made to do any task without calling for aid.
Believe, without growing too scornfully proud, that you, as the greatest and least, are endowed.
Believe in yourself! You are divinely designed and perfectly made for the work of mankind. This truth you must cling to through danger and pain; the heights man has reached you can also attain. Believe to the very last hour, for it’s true, that whatever you will you’ve been gifted to do.
Believe in yourself and step out unafraid. By misgivings and doubt be not easily swayed. You have the right to succeed; the precision of skill, which betokens the great, you can earn if you will! The wisdom of ages is yours if you’ll read. But you’ve got to believe in yourself to succeed.
The great game of life is worth playing at the highest level and you deserve it. Believe in you and you will have the endurance to sustain the fight. Is it worth it? You bet it is. Lloyd James commented: “The man who tries to do something and fails is infinitely better than he who tries to do nothing and succeeds.”