The two sides of success

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965

Most people I encounter have a common goal: they want more success in life. Of course, success means different things to different people, but typically, they want some combination of the following: more money, love, fame, attention, time, power, or possessions; better health; and fewer struggles.

When we see someone who has achieved a certain level of success, we often attribute that success to either exceptional talent or luck, such as being born into a privileged family or having superior educational or employment opportunities. We look at athletes who’ve attained superstar status and think they were born with special talent. We see successful business people and think they had some lucky break, some insider secret.

The truth is, we’re seeing the finished product and judging their successes based on limited knowledge and a limited view. We’re evaluating their achievements from an outsider’s perspective.

I’ve worked with countless people seeking success in their lives. What most people don’t realize is that individuals who succeed don’t get there quickly or easily. They work long and hard to master their chosen field; they endure many failures and overcome many obstacles. The path to success is messy. While it looks neat to an outside observer, the view from the inside is very different.

So here’s the lesson. If you really want to achieve success in life, you need to be prepared for a long, difficult journey. The most common reason people don’t achieve success is because they give up too quickly. You have to be prepared to face some setbacks and some failures. Success is a struggle. It involves sacrifice; it requires hard work.

If you want the key to success, here’s what really works. Develop a vision. Take action. Expect setbacks. Learn from them and act on what you’ve learned. Repeat the process and keep moving forward. Remember that from the inside, success is messy. And don’t give up.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan
1963 –

Copyright © 2015 John Chancellor


The two sides of success — 2 Comments

  1. John,

    Once again you’ve hit on a compelling truth: instant success is rarely as instant as it appears. True success comes from hard work and lessons learned from failures. Besides if it was easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying.