Choosing Your Road to Success

By Jim Sweeney

A young man, walking along a downtown street, saw the president of a respected growing company sitting on a park bench, obviously pleased with himself and with the world. He paused for a moment and then walked slowly up to the wealthy businessman.

“Sir,” the young man said, somewhat unsure of himself, “may I ask you the secret of your success?”

The company president shrugged, “There is no secret,” he answered, “but you must jump at opportunity.”

The young man frowned, puzzled. “But how can I tell when my opportunity comes along?” he asked.

“You can’t,” the businessman replied, “you just have to keep jumping.”

It was good advice, for each opportunity can bring you one step closer to success than you’ve ever been before.

However, each of you has to arrive at your own definition of success, at what you really want to achieve in life. Sometimes that can be the most difficult task that you’ve ever been asked to do.

Success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For example, Michaelangelo’s famous statue of David is considered to be one of the greatest works of art ever created. People admire it and stand in awe before it. It’s a masterpiece, breathtaking. Yet few know that the statue was actually fashioned from a block of marble that had been spoiled in the quarry and thrown away as useless. Someone had the ability to see beauty in that old stone.

And what would you do if someone were to hand you just a chunk of iron and tell you to launch a business with it? Well, the plain old bar of iron might be worth $5 on a good day. But you could cast it into horseshoes and sell them for about $10. Or you could make needles from that bar of iron and they would have a total value of $3,285. And if you turned it into balance springs for fine watches, the iron would be worth as much as $250,000. Imagination makes the difference.

In reality, success depends solely on exactly what kind of satisfaction you want to get out of life, and that can’t always be measured in money. As an example, you might seek out a career in education. It’s possible that you could ultimately be America’s greatest teacher and leave the world a much better place than the one you found. You would be an outstanding success, the envy of everyone in the teaching profession. But you certainly wouldn’t make a lot of money. But then, money might not be that important to you.

For many, success is merely doing a job, doing it well and achieving a certain amount of recognition along the way. It is your arrival at that place in life where you really want to be. It is the fulfillment of a dream. But remember, a man’s dreams never come true until he wakes up and does something about them. For you’ll find that the man who succumbs to failure by leaning up against a tree, chewing on a toothpick and shouting, “It can’t be done,” is always interrupted by somebody else doing it.

One ducked success.

One didn’t.

Which one are you?