THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE

It is easy to succeed today. If you want to get ahead in life, go the extra mile. There is no competition on the extra mile. Are you willing to do a little more than you get paid for?

Most people don’t want to do what they get paid for and a second category of people want only to do what they can get by with. Hard working people are in demand everywhere regardless of age, experience or academic qualifications. When we give or do more than what we get paid for, we eliminate our competition. In fact, we become the competition. This attitude is much more important than intelligence or a degree.

Fritz Kreisler, the great violinist, was once asked, “How do you play so well? Are you lucky?” He replied, “it is practice. If i don’t practice for a month, the audience can tell the difference. If i don’t practice for a week, my wife can tell the difference. If i don’t practice for a day, I can tell the difference.”

Persistence results from commitment and leads to determination. There is pleasure in endurance. Athletes put in years of practice for a few seconds or minutes of performance.

Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.”
― Roy T. Bennett

TURN SCARS INTO STARS

THE WILMA RUDOLPH STORY

Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 – November 12, 1994) was born into a poor home in Tennessee. At age four, she had double pneumonia with scarlet fever, a deadly combination which left her paralyzed with polio. She had to wear a brace and the doctor said she would never put her foot on the earth. But her mother encouraged her; she told Wilma that with God-given ability, persistence and faith she could do anything she wanted. Wilma said, “I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth.” At the age of nine, against the advice of the doctors, she removed the brace and took the first step the doctors had said she never would. At the age of 13, she entered her first race and came way, way last. And then she entered her second, and third and fourth and came way, way last until a day came when she came first. At the age of 15 she went to Tennessee State University where she met a coach by the name of Ed Temple. She told him, “I want to be the fastest woman on the track on this earth.” Ed Temple said, “With your spirit nobody can stop you and besides, I will help you.”

The day came when she was at the Olympics and at the Olympics you are matched with the best of the best. Wilma was matched against a woman named Jutta Heine who had never seen a defeat. The first event was the 100-meter race. Wilma beat Jutta Heine and won her first gold medal. The second event was the 200-meter race and Wilma beat Jutta a second time and won her second gold medal. The third event was the 400-meter relay and she was racing against Jutta Heine one more time. In the relay, the fastest person always runs the last lap and they both anchored their teams. The first three people ran and changed the baton easily. When it came to Wilma’s turn, she dropped the Baton. But Wilma saw Jutta shoot up at the other end; she picked the baton, ran like a machine, beat Jutta a third time and won her third gold medal. It became history: That a paralytic woman became the fastest woman on this earth at the 1960 Olympics.

What a lesson to be learnt from Wilma. It teaches us that successful people do it in spite of, not in absence of, problems. When we hear or read stories of people who have turned adversity into opportunity, doesn’t it motivate us? If we regularly read biographies and autobiographies of such people, won’t we stay motivated?

Some of the best music was composed by Beethoven. What was his handicap? He was deaf. Some of the best poetry written on nature was written by Milton. What was his handicap? He was blind. One of the greatest world leaders was US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. What was his handicap? He served from a wheelchair.

Read the life histories of people who have turned a negative into a positive. They refuse to let disappointment and failures pull them down.

ANDREW CARNEGIE

Andre Carnegie /Kar-Nay-Gee ( November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919 ) was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, and immigrated to the United States with his parents as a young boy. He started out by doing odd jobs and ended up as one of the largest steel manufacturers in United States. At one time , he had 43 millionaires working for him. A million dollars is a lot of money today, but it was worth much more during those days. Someone once asked Mr. Carnegie how he dealt with people. Andrew Carnegie replied, “Dealing with people is a lot like digging for gold: When you go digging for an ounce of gold you have to move tons of dirt. But when you go digging, you don’t go looking for the dirt, you go looking for the gold.”

Andrew Carnegie’s reply has a very important message, Though sometimes it may not be apparent there is something positive in every person and every situation. We have to dig deep to look for the positive. What is your focus? Search for the gold. If you are looking for what is wrong with people or with things, you will find many faults. What are we looking for? Gold or dirt? Even in paradise, fault finders will find fault. Most people find what they are looking for.

CAUTION : Looking for the positive does not necessarily mean overlooking faults.

STAY AWAY FROM NEGATIVE INFLUENCES

An eagle’s egg was placed with the eggs of a chicken. The egg hatched and the little eagle grew up thinking it was a chicken. The eagle did what the chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds. It clucked and cackled. It never flew more than a few feet because that is what the chickens did. One day he saw an eagle flying gracefully and majestically in the open sky. He asked the chickens: “What is that beautiful bird?” The chickens replied, “That is an eagle. He is an outstanding bird, but you cannot fly like him because you are just a chicken.” So the eagle never gave it a second thought, believing that to be the truth. He lived the life of and died a chicken, depriving himself of his heritage because of his lack of vision. What a waste! He was born to win, but conditioned to lose.

The same thing is true for most people. The unfortunate part of life is “Most people go to their graves, with music still in them.” We don’t achieve excellence because of our own lack of vision. If you associate with achievers, you will become one. If you associate with givers, you will become one. If you associate with givers, you will become one. If you associate with negative people, you will become one.

Whenever people succeed in life, petty people will take cracks at them and try to pull them down. When you refuse to fight petty people, you win. In martial arts, they teach that when someone takes a crack at you, instead of blocking you should step away. Why? Blocking requires energy. Why not use it more productively? Similarly, in order to fight petty people, you have to come down to their level. That is what they want, because now you are one of them.

Don’t let negative people drag you down. Remember that a person’s character is not only judged by the company they keep but also by the company they avoid.

I WANT TO BE FREE !!

There is a misconception that freedom means doing your own thing. One cannot always have what one desires. Many times it is not easy to comprehend the benefits of good values and discipline. It may even seem more profitable, enjoyable and convenient to do otherwise. All we need to do is see countless instances where lack of discipline has prevented people from succeeding.

Rather than the restraints of discipline pulling us down, discipline is really taking us up. This is what discipline is all about. We are all familiar with that big animal, the giraffe. A mama giraffe gives birth to a baby giraffe standing. All of sudden, the baby falls on a hard surface from the cushion of mama’s womb, and sits on the ground. The first thing mama does is to get behind the baby and give him a hard kick. The baby gets up, but his legs are weak and wobbly and the baby falls down. Mama goes behind again and gives him one more kick. The baby gets up but sits down again. Mama keeps kicking till the baby gets on its feet and starts moving. Why? Because mama knows that the only chance of survival for the baby is to get on its feet – otherwise it will be eaten by predators. Is this an act of love ?- THINK

Children brought up in a loving, disciplined environment end up respecting their parents more and become law-abiding citizens. If discipline were practiced in every home, juvenile delinquency would be reduced by 95%. -J.Edgar Hoover

We hear this phrase all the time: “I want to be free. “If you take the train off the track, it is free, but where does it go? If everyone could make their own traffic laws and drive on any side of the road would you call that freedom or traffic? What is missing is discipline. By observing the rules, we are actually gaining freedom.

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired but controlling the desire. – Epictetus

HOW ARE WE MOTIVATED?

WE ARE ALL MOTIVATED – EITHER POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY.

When i was a teenager, I heard a story of two brothers. One was a drug addict and a drunk who frequently beat up his family. The other was a very successful businessman who was respected in society and had a wonderful family. How could two brothers raised by the same parents, brought up in the same environment, be so different?

The first brother was asked, “What makes you do what you do? You are a drug addict, a drunk, and you beat your family. What motivates you?” He answered, “My father. My father was a drug addict, a drunk and he beat his family. What do you expect me to do? That is what I am.”

The second brother was asked, “How come you are doing everything right? What is your source of motivation?” And guess what he said? “My father. When I was a little boy, I used to see my dad drunk and doing all the wrong things. I made up my mind that, that is not what I wanted to be.”

Both brothers derived their motivation from the same source, but one was using it positively and the other negatively. Negative motivation brings the desire to take the easier way which ends up being the tougher way.

Remember the greatest motivator is belief. We have to inculcate in ourselves the belief that we are responsible for our actions and behavior.

Always remember that, People do things for their own reasons, not yours. Sometimes we’re tested not to show our weakness, but to discover our strengths.

THE GREATEST GIFT

Of all the creatures in the world, humans are physically the most ill-equipped. A human cannot fly like a bird, outrun a leopard, swim like an alligator, nor climb trees like a monkey. A human doesn’t have the eye of an eagle, nor the claws and teeth of a wild cat. Physically, humans are helpless and defenceless; a tiny insect can kill a human with it’s sting. But nature is reasonable and kind. Nature’s greatest gift to humankind is the ability to think. Humans can create their own environment, whereas animals adapt to their environment.

Sadly, very few people use the greatest gift-the ability to think- to its full potential.

Life is like a cafeteria. You take a tray, select your food and pay at the other end. You can get anything you want as long as you are willing to pay the price. In a cafeteria, if you wait for people to serve you, you will wait forever. Life is like that too. You make choices and pay the price to succeed.

Failures are of two kinds: those who did and never thought and those who thought and never did. Going through life without using your ability to think is like shooting without aiming.

Change your thoughts and you change the world. – Norman Vincent peale

POSITIVE BELIEVING

What is the difference between positive thinking and positive believing? What if you could actually listen to your thoughts? Are they positive or negative? Are you programming your mind for success or failure? The way in which you think has a profound effect on your performance. Having a positive attitude and being motivated is a choice we make every day. Living a positive life is not easy; but then neither is negative living. Given a choice, I would rather go for a positive living. Positive thinking helps you use your abilities to the fullest.

Positive believing is more than positive thinking. It is knowing that positive thinking will work. Positive believing is an attitude of confidence that comes from preparation. Having a positive attitude without making the effort is nothing more than having a wishful dream. The following incident will illustrate positive believing.

Several years ago Lockheed introduced the L-1011 Tristar plane. In order to ensure safety and test the strength of the jetliner, Lockheed exposed the plane to the roughest possible treatment for 18 months, a program that cost $1.5 billion. Hydraulic jacks, electronic sensors, and a computer put the plane through its paces for more than 36,000 simulated flights (equivalent to 100 years of airline service), without one single malfunction. Finally after thousands of tests, the aircraft was given the seal of approval.

Does the Lockheed organization have reason to believe positively? You bet. There is every reason to believe that this plane is safe to fly, because of all the effort put into preparation.

“Be positive. Your mind is more powerful than you think. What is down in the well comes up in the bucket. Fill yourself with positive things.” – Tony Dungy

*Adapted from Daily Motivations for African-American Success by Dennis Kimbro, June 29, 1993, Fawcett Press, New York.

SAMUEL LEIBOWITZ : The meaning of being “Grateful”

This is the story of Samuel Leibowitz (August 14, 1893 – January 11, 1978), a famous criminal lawyer who never lost any murder case.
While he won many cases in the court room, he is widely known for “THE SCOTTSBORO TRIAL”.

In this case, nine young blacks were convicted of raping two white women in a moving train in Alabama, in 1931. The case prosecutes did not bother to go in depth about the case, and the verdict was highly influenced by the racism which existed in society.

All nine were sentenced to death by an Alambama state court in 1933. Leibowitz took the case and worked on it for years without accepting any payment or fees. Finally, he helped them get the justice. Along with this famous case he won, he saved seventy-eight men from going to electric chair. Or you can say that he saved seventy-eight men from death sentence.

What would you do if someone helped you live couple of more years on this earth to see your beautiful family, and this world? You would be forever beholden to him, right?

How many people do you think stopped to thank Samuel Leibowitz, or expressed gratitude in return of what he did? None. No one took the trouble to thank him for all he had done for them. The bitter truth truth about human nature is that it is full of ingratitude.

That’s how it goes. Almost always we do not bother to count nine things which go well and crib around just one thing which goes wrong. Human nature has always been human nature- and it probably won’t change in a lifetime.

Therefore, let’s not expect gratitude. Take joy in doing favour for others without expecting anything in return. That’s the only way to live happily, and to die peacefully.

I am going to meet people today, who talk too much, people who are selfish, egoistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised of disturbed, for I couldn’t imagine a world without such people. – Marcus Aurelius

Here is something I learned today, ‘Beholden’ which means ‘Grateful’ or ‘Obligated’,

HOW TO BE INTERNALLY DRIVEN?

One day, if someone gets up on the right side of the bed and calls me and says, “You are the greatest person on earth. You are doing a great job and i want you to know I am honoured to call you a friend, ” I know he is sincere. How does it make me feel? Great. But the next day, he gets up on the wrong side of the bed, picks up the phone and says, “You rascal, you cheat, you crook! You are the biggest fraud in town. ” How does it make me feel? Terrible.

So the first day when he says “you are the greatest guy,” I feel great and the next day when he says” you cheat,” i feel terrible. Who is controlling my life?Obviously, he is. Is that the way I want to go through life? Not at all. That is being externally driven.

I want to be internally driven. When he calls me and says I am the greatest guy, it is good to hear those words. But even if he doesn’t say those words, in my own estimation, I am still a good human being. And the next day when he rips me apart, while his words may initially sting, he can’t bring me down, because in my own estimation, I am having the same mindset like the previous day. When a person makes statements like, “You make me angry,” the focus of control is external. But if he says, “I am angry” or “I choose to be angry”, the focus is internal.

No one can make you feel inferior without your permission – Eleanor Roosevelt

So long as we blame outside sources, our miseries will continue and we will feel helpless. Unless we accept responsibility for our feelings and behaviour, we cannot change. The first step is to ask:

  • Why did i get upset?
  • Why am i angry ?
  • Why am i depressed?

Then we start getting clues to overcome them. Happiness is a result of positive self-esteem. If you ask people what makes them happy, you will get all kinds of answers. Most of them would include material things but that is not really true. Happiness comes from being and not having. One can have everything in life and yet not be happy. The reverse is also true.

Happiness is internal. Happiness is like a butterfly. If you run after it, it keeps flying away. If you stand still, it comes and sits on your shoulder.

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” ―Vivian Greene