We have all been there. That moment when we have tried everything we know to do and still do not feel we have achieved what we set out to do. We have fought the fight and have come against the odds but still we have not reached the goal. The only thing we have left to do is the hardest of all... to quit.
For most success-minded people, the idea of quitting is against all they hold dear, however, that does not stop it from entering our thinking from time to time. I am not talking about those who at the first sign of difficulty through up their arms and just give up. The world is full of people who see quitting as their first option and follow that option often.
You are not a quitter. You see quitting as not an option at all. You believe and quote the words of the great coach, Vince Lombardi, who told us: "Winners never quit and quitters never win." Still, in the secret inner chambers of your heart, there are times when the idea of just giving up and moving on is very enticing.
So what do we need to do to keep the demon of defeat away from our door? What are the keys to staying strong and seeing our goals to completion, no matter how long that takes? I have listed 10 simple and basic things you can do to keep defeat at bay and to achieve the success you see in life.
First, I want to share with you a quote from Winston Churchill's famous 1941 speech to his former boy's school. Many of you have read or heard this quote hundreds of times, however, I want you to write it down and carry it with you. This is a great tool to encourage you and help you stand strong in times of doubt and discouragement. It is also the simple truth of success. This thinking took England to victory over some of the darkest days known to mankind, it can get you to your goal as well.
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." - Winston Churchill
1. Know What You Want
Would you head off for vacation and not have a destination in mind. I know that many people dream of just heading out and seeing where they may end up, however, you usually end up where you do not wish to be. Those who are successful know where they are going and why they are going there. In short, they know what they want from life. This knowledge is called having goals.
Radio and TV personality and success expert, Earl Nightingale (1921-1989) said, "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going." It is a fact that if you know what you want from life you are likely to achieve it. Those who do not know what they want are wondering aimlessly and never finding what they are looking for.
2. Clear Written Goals
Once you know what it is in life you desire, you need to write it down in clear detail. Those who think they will just remember it do not achieve their goals because they change every day. Your mind is always working. It is never stagnant, therefore it is always changing. Trying to remember a definite goal is almost impossible.
Think of it this way. You are going on that trip. You have a map and you know the city you are going to, however, each time you look at the map, the dot for the city changes its place on the map. Will you ever get to where you are going? Not likely. The same is true for your goals. By writing them down you create a map which you can look at and find it the same every time you need to use it.
3. Belief in Your Mission
Belief is a powerful thing. When we believe in what we are doing and see it as an important mission to achieve, we find the strength and courage needed to do what must be done. One of the ways that Winston Churchill encouraged the English people to fight on during those dark days of the war was to always remind them what they were fighting for. It was for England, their home and country. It was to stop the approaching evil and stand for all that was right, good and free.
Belief gives us the why to what we are doing. When you have a strong enough why, the how will always come. Too many give up because they first look for a "how" to succeed rather than a "why" to succeed. When we believe in what we are doing, we will always find a way to overcome any difficulty that comes our way. English philosopher, John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) said: "One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests."
4. Belief in Yourself
Along with believing in your mission, you must also believe in yourself. It is one thing to know what needs to be done, and another to believe that you can do it. I have always found strength in time of struggle by repeating to myself this fact: If God created me with a purpose to complete, then He has all intentions for me to complete it. If the Creator of the universe is behind you, how can you fail?
Do not get the belief in yourself confused with conceit. Believing that you can achieve your goals is not believing that you are better than others, only that you can do what you were created to do. Believing in yourself is where we find strength to go that bit farther down the road to achievement. Nineteenth century activist and writer, Lydia M. Child (1802-1880) put it this way, "Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture."
Passion is a fire that burns deep in the soul of the one who has a dream. Success-minded people know what their passion to achieve their dreams is the energy that keeps them going when everything seems to tell them to stop. It is that burning desire that fuels the achiever to try just one more thing, take one more step and never to give up.
Like all fires however, passion must be fed. This is where having that written goal comes in. Each time it is read it fuels the fires of your passion and helps you to move on. Know that this is not just a wish for success. Wishes are made of smoke and you cannot hold on to them. This is your dream. It is solid, it is real and it is yours.
6. Sense of Adventure
Real success-minded people know that every difficulty, every road block, every challenge is not something to avoid but a new adventure to be embraced. American author, William Feathers (1889-1981) said, "One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure." Adventure gives us purpose. It makes the challenges of life exciting. It makes the journey to achievement fun.
The time when we want to give up and quit is the time we feel discouraged, tired and worn-out. When we develop a sense of adventure we start to see those times are something to overcome, not give into. We find the energy to press on and move toward the next great adventure life holds for us.
7. Helping Others
One of the most positive and successful people I have known in my lifetime has been the great author and speaker, Zig Ziglar. I do not believe that any person has inspired me more than Zig to keep going, even when I really, really, really did not want to. What was the key to Zig Ziglar's success and that he passed on to everyone who desires to achieve success? Simple: Help other people.
"You can have anything in life you want," Zig used to say, "as long as you help enough people get what they want." This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. That is because it is 100% true. I have written it down so I can read it often and never forget that success comes from helping others to succeed. By helping others to be their best, you in turn become your best. When it comes to helping others, there is no down side.
8. Purposeful Action
Here is a truth that I want you to write out and attach to your bathroom mirror so you see it every day. Learn it, believe it and never forget it for a moment. It is the foundation to all success in every area of your life. Without it you will never achieve your dreams and with it you will never fail. Ready? Here it is: NOTHING HAPPENS WITHOUT ACTION!
No matter what you want to achieve in life, nothing will be achieved without taking action. You can always do something that you did not do before. It does not matter what you know, who you know or when you know it. Knowledge by itself is incomplete. As the great motivator, Tony Robbins said, "You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action."
The way to avoid giving up is to never stop. There is always one more thing you can try. There is always one more turn in the road. Remember the words of the great inventor, Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931) who said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." And Edison knew about trying and failing. Most men would have never moved beyond the many failures that Edison did. But then, we would not have most of the wonderful conveniences we have today without those who were determined to find the answers they sought.
Here is the key to the success of Edison and those many men and women like him who tried and failed over and over again. The key is they never see failure as failure. Just because something did not work does not mean it is a failure. You just discovered something you weren't looking for. As Edison said, "Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."
Success is a two-edged sword. There is little in this world as satisfying as success. To know that your hard work and determination paid off and you have won the prize is a great feeling. It is encouraging and exhilarating. However, it can also be the first step to your biggest failure. Few have seen success to the degree that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has. Gates makes this observation about success: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."
Far too many people achieve success in an area of life and then quit. They think that their success will be enough or it will linger in their life. The truth is, success melts like ice cream in the hot sun. It is there and it is wonderful, but if you stop and hold it in your hand you will end up with only a messy hand. The best way to celebrate success of a goal is to immediately set a new goal. Once you have done that, go back to step one and start the adventure all over again.