Monday, March 9, 2009

The Secret of Success

"The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination." ~Marian Zimmer Bradley

The journey to success can be a treacherous one. No matter how meticulously you plan, or how enthusiastically you dream, there will be trials and tribulations. It's inevitable. Yet here's where my story-teller's mind jumps in to play.

Imagine you're bouncing about with several companions on a rickety boat in a stormy sea. Rain falls in bitter cold sheets, drenching the lot of you while the gale-force winds buffet your leaky vessel with relentless glee.

One person shouts above the shrieking wind, "Hang on there, help will arrive! We just have to work together and we'll make it through this!"

Another screams, "We're doomed, I tell you! Doomed! Shark-bait and fish food. This baby's going down and we're all going to die!!!"

Which person would you rather share the life-raft with? *wink*

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." –Louisa May Alcott

There have been endless jokes about the old 'glass half-full or half-empty' scenario. Yet one thing remains true. We train our eyes, train our mind to seek out whichever circumstances we believe in. This applies to The Big Picture as well as the absolutely mundane. Why bother to even look for a convenient parking space if you already know it's impossible? Hmm? *grin*

Few people find success without actively seeking it out. Success is elusive, I admit. You have to invest time, energy, and focus with determination and an endless supply of patience. Most important though is the belief that leads our perception. We must believe in success in order to look for it. We must have hope and optimism to chase those clouds away and keep our inner light shining bright.

"An optimist is the human personification of spring." –Susan J. Bissonette

Now a phrase like "beliefs create reality" may strike some as metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. Others may just see it as simply another take on positive thinking, a perspective that has been around for eons. But let's backtrack and examine the idea from a strictly practical viewpoint. Bottom line: If you believe in success, you're more likely to have your eyes and ears open to any opportunity that comes your way. Put more simply, if you're looking for smiles, you'll find them. If you're looking for scowls, then that is what you'll zoom in on.

"You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be." ~ Lou Holtz

If we walk into a room with our heads held high, shoulders back and an enthusiastic smile blooming on the face, we'll make a different impression than if we trudge in with shoulders slumped, right? Now consider this. Our self-talk, our beliefs, affect the impression we make on ourselves. You are the captain, and the ship is your life. Think back to the imaginary companions' cries during the treacherous storm, which person would you want piloting your ship?

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes." --Benjamin Disraeli

A good way to examine your beliefs about success is to fill in a sentence like this:

"If I were a success then I would…"

For some of us, just starting the sentence gives us shivers and tingles. *grin* What would I do? Would I write with more passion or pump out more pages? Would I feel a surge of anticipation and bask in a glow of confident expectancy?

"Success doesn't come to you…you go to it." --Marva Collins

Success and optimism go hand in hand. It's natural to assume that the outer trappings is what signifies victory As if 'success' is a magical land in which only a lucky few are granted entrance.

Here's my quote: Success is not the promised land; success is a chosen attitude that leads to accomplishment.

"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success." --Dr. Joyce Brothers

Being a success means also that you accept mistakes as part of the process. There's this great Disney flick called 'Meet the Robinsons.' The motto of this movie could have been: Making Mistakes is the Secret of Success. *grin* I love this movie for many reasons, but especially for this theme. It's so true. Unless you let yourself experiment and make mistakes, you'll never move forward. And unless you Believe You Are A Success, you may not have the confidence to make those oh-so-necessary mistakes.

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success." – Thomas J. Watson

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heart-breaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." --B.C. Forbes

This week, as we tackle each new day, let's frame our thoughts with an attitude of hope and success. Let's 'look for smiles' and tell ourselves every day (at least for one week), "I Am A Success." Remember, winning doesn't make you a success. Knowing you already are a success means you Go For The Win.

Success will never be a big step in the future, success is a small step taken just now. ~Jonatan Mårtensson

Wishing us all a very successful week indeed!!

Smiles to you all,

Chiron O'Keefe


Captain Hook said...

Wow! Quite inspiring. I especially love all the quotes.

Emma Newman said...

This is *so* timely for me - just what I needed today, thank you! I am teetering on the brink of a freelancing career and am, quite frankly terrified. In my little boat I have an aging pessimist and a bright-eyed optimist duking it out... currently the optimist is winning but the mumbling pessimist is still loud enough to make my stomach churn.

Chiron said...

Thanks, Captain Hook! So nice to *see* you here!


Chiron said...

Yikes, Emma!

One of the most difficult challenges a writer faces is to utilize the inner critic without being overwhelmed. Sometimes we just have to shout, "Hush up, I'm writing!!" *smile*

Wishing you much success with your freelance work!


Judith Leger said...

I've always had faith and believed in the basis of good in and of all things. Then I married a pessimist. You know what, it hasn't changed me and I hope I've affected him in a positive way.

When I first started to seriously write, I went to him and announced I wanted to seek publication. The pessimist that he is jumped right in and said, "Takes someone special to have a book published."

Hum, popped my bubble for about two seconds. Then my faith and belief in my ability kicked in. I set out to and ended up accomplishing my goal. My writing became published. So goes to show pessimists the power of positive thinking can work.

Sandy said...

Oh, this is a wonderful post, Chiron. Thank goodness,I've seen the glass as half full. Even for us optimists, there are days when we are discouraged, but this post really helps.


Chiron said...

Yay! Good for YOU, Judith!

And of course, when I read his comment I thought to myself, "Which goes to show, Judith IS someone special!"

So there!

Yup, progress wouldn't exist without the eternal optimist. Edison wouldn't have sweated out the hours to create the lightbulb, there wouldn't be personal computers or Disneyland! The best and the brightest couldn't accomplish squat without optimism.

I'm sure you have made a difference in your hubby's life. I bet now he can't live without your sunshine. *smile*

Thanks for sharing some warmth my way!!


Chiron said...

Hello Sandy!

Yup, even us optimists need a boost now and then. I always tell people, I write the essays for me too. *wink*

I'm glad this week's theme helped brighten your outlook, dear one!