I Will!Reach perfection. No one is born that way. Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence. Signs of the perfect person: elevated taste, a pure intelligence, a clear will, ripeness of judgment. Some people are never complete and are always lacking something. Others take a long time to form themselves.
--Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658) – Aphorism 6, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (A Pocket Oracle)
Booker T. Washington said years ago, “The circumstances that surround a man or woman’s life are not important. It is how that individual responds to those circumstances that is the number one determining factor in whether they will fail or succeed.”
Success is a progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. An individual who says, “I want to become a school teacher,” and sets out on a path to become one is just as successful as the wealthiest person in America.
I’ve interviewed scores of achievers from all walks of life. They had four common characteristics: Number one, they were inner directed versus outer directed. They weren’t so quick to believe well-meaning friends or family who said, “You can’t do that.” Number two, they had a passionate desire for something they wanted desperately to attain or accomplish in their lives. Number three, individuals committed themselves to personal excellence. They refused to be average. And last but not least, they flat-out refused to fail. I’m not saying they didn’t fail. Many of them actually failed their way to success, but failure did not stop them.
The Census Bureau can tell you there are 2 million millionaires in America. There’s a brand new millionaire created in the United States every fifty-eight hours. The average millionaire goes bankrupt 3.2 times, dibs and dabbles in seventeen different ideas or companies, doesn’t hit it big until the eighteenth try, gets his or her dream at age forty-seven, and becomes a millionaire at age fifty-four.
Everybody has a shot, if they have desire, if they have a dream. You have to ask yourself, “What is my area of excellence?” and in defining your area of excellence, you must ask yourself these critical questions. What is it that you love to do? What do you have a passion for? What can you throw your whole heart and soul into? What would you do without financial reward? When you’re doing what you love to do and would do it for free, your work is your play. If you work is you play, you’ll never work a day in your life. Ask yourself, “What comes easy to me but difficult to someone else?” In other words, find your area of unfair competitive advantage. Last, ask the people who know you best, your friends and family: “What do you see me as?” “What do you think I would be good doing?” When you answer these questions honestly, you will have identified your area of excellence. The key in this hypercompetitive economy: The market pays superior rewards for superior performance.
We don’t live in a society that’s divided between rich and poor, black and white, haves and have-nots. We live in a society that is divided between dreamer and non-dreamer. People get in trouble in life not because they want too much; they get in trouble because they settle for too little. Don’t settle for. Make it your goal to find a goal. Somebody better get excited about your life, and you better pray it’s you.
Through countless interviews I’ve had with successful individuals, the question was, “What are the words, the pictures, and the images that successful people think about?” They think about dreams, they think about visions, they think about productivity, they think about going places and doing things. They think about the two words, I can.
What are the words, pictures, and images that go through the minds of unsuccessful people? They think lack, they think about scarcity, they think “Woe is me,” they think about the words I can’t. … We walk toward the dominant impulse in our mind. Mind is everything…
Success is never a question of CAN you succeed? It’s a question of WILL you succeed? Will you have the self-discipline? Will you pay the price? Will you persevere?
-Dennis Kimbro, Ph.D.
Dr. Kimbro is listed in Who's Who in Black America. He is a recipient of the Dale Carnegie Achievement Award, and is past Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship at Clark Atlanta University. He has appeared on the Larry King Show, the Today Show, Sonya Live, and has been featured in Success Magazine, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Essence, the New York Times, & USA Today. His work is best summarized in the PBS Video, The Legacy of Achievement with Dennis Kimbro.
<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
What is the meaning of life? How about this: keep trying until you get it right. Time after time, experience upon experience teaches me perseverance. Keep striving and continue forward. Duty calls me to bristle up and grit my teeth and “keep on keepin’ on.” Pessimism is an option, but not a viable one. The Book of Joshua instructs me not to be discouraged, for God is with me wherever I go, whatever I do. I am called upon by the Great Teachings to be patient, to stand firm and to persevere – comfort will come to me in due time. The eagle misses seventy percent of its strikes – why should I expect better odds? What is the source of the eagle’s perseverance? The same source that is available to me: Light. Light in my word, Light upon the path I tread, Light that I may carry into the lives of others. Native Americans traditionally believe that each sunrise brings a new day, and one should not be burdened with sorrow by not starting over. Perseverance is a force of will.
My belief system encompasses what Albert Pike called “a religion of life and of society… and of truth and right action in the world.” Those activities and occupations in my life, the many encounters upon my path, are designed to promote God’s great design in making the world. (My use of the word “religion” here is a seeking of knowledge motivated by honor and duty. There is also a religion of toil, of nature, that of the family, and also of business wherein we exercise a faith in one another, worshiping the True and the Good we find in each other and by example that same Truth and Goodness found throughout all of Creation. Failing to follow these great examples of Nature subjects me to the Law of Retribution exacted by a loving Universe.) This life is intended to teach me how I may responsibly exercise free will.
The power to do should not be confused with the power to will. What I can do may be limited in some way; what I can will is sovereign, and an inalienable right. I can be prevented from taking action by some means, but there is no limit to what I may will. I have the providence of choice in what I wish to bring into my life and the lives of others – I am the master of my resolution, and living consciously obliges me to exercise that resolve prudently and judiciously. I am free to make poor choices, too. Because I have this obligation to myself, my family and friends, and those I encounter casually, I am also given the faculty to accomplish what I will. I am cautioned, when performing what I propose, that I will reap the appropriate consequences of my actions.
I am a Soldier of Light, sworn to uphold the right of all to choose freely, and to make responsible choices of my own. I believe that independent thought is the privilege of everyone, that reason and truth, self-reliance and independence can overcome tyranny. I believe that I must be zealous in the performance of my duties to God, to my country, to my family, to others and to myself. Zoroaster of Persia (circa 600 B.C.) defined the universe as imbued with two forces: Spenta Mainyu or Holy Spirit (the force of truth) and Angra Mainyu, a destructive spirit opposed to truth. These concepts are a probable source of the dualism found in Western religions, including Christianity. Zoroaster believed in free will – that mankind was able to choose between good and evil and was responsible for the consequences of those choices. The Supreme Being of this faith was termed Ahura Mazda, or God of Light. Opposed to this is the Principle of Evil, or Ahriman, indicating an absence or antithesis of Light. The Hindu Vedic deities, Agni, Usha and Mitra are all associated with Light in some form. Without the necessary free will in the individual (choices made either based on the Light of conscious moral Law or the absence of it) and the Omnipotence in the Creator (the Source of Light), there would be neither religion or any law of right and wrong, nor any justice in human punishments or penal laws.
Life is a series of choices, continually placed upon our path: the exercise of individual Liberty tempered by obedience to the greater social good of civil and moral Laws – that is the true test of the individual and the free will.
The use of enlightened determination is tremendously powerful. But it necessitates the Harmony and Beauty of well-regulated self-discipline. It exacts a price, every time. It requires unrelenting perseverance. Bristle up, grit your teeth, and keep on keepin’ on!