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Thursday, September 24, 2009
American Writers & Artists Series with Tom Kavala
Thanks to Muslim Bushido for introducing me to this great website. The focus of AWAI is to help people develop skills to acquire financial security, independence and freedom. Like many things floating around in the universe we should take what's useful to us and has appeal to our particular needs and discard the rest. I hope this offers encouragement and inspiration.
SWING TILL YOU HIT IT
I’m going to tell you something my Uncle Mike once told me. If you want to know who’s responsible for most of your problems, take a good long look in the mirror. If you could kick the person most responsible for your problems, you probably wouldn’t be able to sit down for a month.
Painful, in my case, but true – and a lesson I have to relearn from time to time.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is get out of our own way. We need to stop looking only at where we are and start looking at where we can be.
Here’s a perfect example …
The little guy was having a tough time. My two-year-old nephew and I were in the living room, playing baseball. I was pitching a Wiffle Ball to him as he continued to fan the air with his little plastic bat.
My wife told us to take it outside before we broke something, so I continued to pitch to him in the backyard. I’d pitch the ball to him and he’d swing – and miss. Pitch…swing…miss. Pitch… swing… miss. Thirty to forty pitch… thirty to forty misses. I could see he was starting to get discouraged.
Every time he missed I’d tell him, “You can do it. C’mon, swing for the seats. You’re the best hitter there is.” And still he missed every single one.
Now I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but after thirty to forty swings, I noticed that every time he swung the bat, he swung in the same place. It didn’t matter whether my pitch was high or low, he always swung in the same place. So I aimed at his bat.
Whack! He hit it! He got so excited, he dropped the bat! He’d never hit a ball before! He didn’t know what to do! So he just ran in place squealing with delight, with his eyes wide, and his little arms flapping like wings.
I laughed and yelled, “Run to first base.” He ran the wrong way.
I said, “This way.” Around the bases he ran … all the way home … right into my arms. We fell backwards, laughing and giggling, into the soft spring grass. It was the best day of my life. How ridiculous it would have been if I had just given up on him after one or two swings. He wasn’t a good hitter when he started, but he stepped up to the plate every time…and kept swinging.
Stay With It
Nothing can defeat you unless you first defeat yourself. When asked what was the greatest attribute of a soldier, Napoleon Bonaparte answered, “Endurance.” It wasn’t loyalty…or courage…or skill at arms. It was endurance – the ability to keep going no matter what.
Whatever you want to accomplish in life will take persistence. Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work – continuous, hard work – is the only way to accomplish anything that lasts.
In life you will pay one of two prices. You will either pay the price of persistence or you will pay the price of regret. The price of persistence weighs ounces. The price of regret weighs tons. So never give up on what you really know you should do.
One of the greatest examples of persistence is Dr. Theodore S. Geisel. He wrote a book. He went from publishing house to publishing house. All he heard was “No”. He kept knocking on publishers’ doors and after hearing “No” a staggering twenty-three times; he finally heard “Yes”.
If you have kids – or if you ever were a kid – you know him by his pen name: Dr. Seuss. His books have sold over 220 million copies.
Then there’s the lady who went to seventeen publishers and got seventeen rejections. Number eighteen knew a winner when he saw it and published her work. The book was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first of the fantastically successful Harry Potter series. Today, with over 400 million copies sold, and published in 65 languages, J.K. Rowling, is one of history’s most successful authors. Suppose she had stopped at rejection number ten. The world would be a poorer place indeed.
Home run legend Babe Ruth also held the record for striking out.
Basketball great Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Harlan Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, is today a household name. But there was a time when, believe it or not, nobody would endorse his chicken recipe. He got rejected a mind numbing 1,009 times, but he persisted.
Talent, brains and athletic prowess are all wonderful things to be blessed with, but you can’t always rely on them. Talent comes and goes with different success stories, but persistence is a constant. Persistence is the hammer that drives the nail of success.
Keep Looking for Opportunities
So what do you do? Anything. Something. So long as you don’t just sit there. If you screw it up, start over. Try something else. If you wait until everything is perfect, you may find that it’s too late – opportunity will have passed you by.
One of the most powerful success principles is: Never give up! The choice of giving up or going on is a defining moment in your life. You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.
When I was launching my resume business, I noticed that business tended to drop off periodically. At the time, my business consisted mostly of writing resumes for graduating college students. The problem with student resumes is that they’re seasonal. I’d see a spike in business for two months or so before graduation, then it would peter out.
So I went in another direction.
I joined my local Chamber of Commerce and networked until I found a couple of executive recruiters who absolutely hate to write resumes. They are too busy trying to find and match job candidates to openings their client companies have. They have neither the time nor the patience to help some candidate write a killer resume.
That’s where I come in.
Now whenever they get a good client with a weak resume, they hire me to spruce it up. I get a ton of business from them, and here’s the best part – it’s steady work, because these recruiters are busy. And since their candidates are all executive level job seekers, I make a lot more money per resume.
Opportunities are everywhere; you just need to look for them. You can look at a setback as a blessing or a curse. Just having an opportunity to consider things that were previously out of your realm of interest can produce incentive to move in a new direction.
Your choice is simple. You can either stand up and be counted, or you can stay down and be counted out. Defeat never comes to people until they admit it.
So keep chipping away as quickly as you can, but even if you need to slow down for a time … or move in a different direction … still keep chipping away as much as you can.
Do today what others will not, and you’ll live tomorrow as others cannot.
Because success is a choice, not a chance. And, you have a choice to make now – whether to be at Bootcamp or not. Choose to be successful. Decide on the kind of life you want, or life will decide for you.
It’s not your circumstances that are important, but how you respond to your circumstances. Wherever you find your vision, you will also find opposition. Winners are not afraid to struggle in order to win.
Yes, it’s hard. Money is tight and you have a lot of other commitments. I know it’s hard; that’s why you have to go at it hard. That’s why you need to be at Bootcamp. I’ll be part of a panel discussion on Friday with four other entrepreneurs about additional ways to create revenue streams. All things you can easily do yourself. Remember, only those willing to try the impossible can ever achieve the spectacular.