Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Secret of Success or Who's Piloting Your Ship?

"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." ~Marion 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?

Few people find success without actively seeking it out. Success is elusive, I admit. You have to invest time, energy, and focus along 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 spin 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 your eyes will seek out and locate the clouds no matter how brightly the sun shines.

"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 grin 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. 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, optimism and determination 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. 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!!

Now you tell me your favorite examples (in your life or of your favorite hero) where thinking and acting like a success made a difference. Any techniques you utilize?

Smiles to you all,

Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas and Between the Lines.


Kathy Holmes said...

I'm definitely a believer in walking tall and confident and then just notice how people respond to you - works every time!

And my dear uncle Don was so special because every time I felt I had failed he'd say, "You're one step closer to succeeding, Kat!"

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Miss Mae said...

Well, you know, my dream for so many years was just TO GET PUBLISHED! When I finally--actually--truly--had my very first article accepted in Jan. 2007, I was elated. To me, that was success.

Jan. 16, 2008, I had my FIRST book released to the world! What a rush! True, it was ebook only, not a REAL book that could be held in one's hands, but it was all MINE. I thought of that as success too.

April 2009, my SECOND book, became a REAL, PRINT book...I could hold this one in my hands, which made it even more real. Definite success.

October 2009, another PRINT book of a story that'd originally been refused so many times I lost count. Now it's won the P & E poll for its category.

All these things add up to success. Initially, all I'd wanted was to JUST GET PUBLISHED. I've attained that, with the grace of God, and I'm eternally grateful.

Celia Yeary said...

CHIRON--I like the idea that we don't achieve success unless we pursue it. Now, we all know that, but it makes me stop and think--yes, really--I need to work to make something happen in the publishing world. No one is going to come knocking on my door and hand it to me. Very good post, as usual!Celia

Sandy said...

Fantastic post, Chiron.

I noticed no one finished your sentence you asked.

I'm going to try. If I were a success then I would take more time to enjoy life because then I could hire someone to cook the meals and clean the house. lol What were you expecting, Chiron? Something serious.

I'm already successful. Really!

Linda LaRoque said...

Being optomistic has a direct effect on our ability to achieve. I believe a positive frame of mind is half the battle in achievement.

Chiron said...

Hi Kathy!

Wow, Uncle Don was a champ! How very cool. Yup, walking tall and confident works for me too. An interesting side-note, in SEP's novel, Glitter Baby, the character has a method for appearing confident even when (and especially when) she's not.

She yawns and looks at her watch. Pretty neat, I'd say!

Thanks always for stopping by, Kathy. Enjoy your vacation (you lucky Pluto you!) *wink* Say hi to Walt for me!


Chiron said...

Miss Mae, that's fantastic! You're in on a secret that many people could benefit from--Successful people celebrate every win. You ARE A Success, my dear, and I'm so proud to know you!


Chiron said...

Hi Celia, and thanks!

It's funny just how often we wait for something that could be ours if we just 'went for it'. Even some of the blogging agents comment on the nearly apologetic queries they receive from people who don't believe they are a success but want others to believe it for them.

No one is going to convice us, we have to convince ourselves. And no one will believe we are a success unless we believe it first!

Thanks always for jumping in, Celia!!


Chiron said...

Hi Sandy!

So that's what you'd do if you were a success! *laughs* Okay, my dear. Hmmm... What if you were an airplane? ;-P Just kidding!!

Anyways, thanks for stopping by! You ARE a success and I do know it.


Micole Black said...

This was a great post, thank you for sharing it with all of us!


Micole Black

Chiron said...

Hello Micole!

What a pretty name!! Thanks so much for stopping by. I really appreciate the comment!


Micole Black said...


Thank you for the compliment on my name. :)