Successful People Have One Thing in Common

It’s impossible to finish anything that you don’t start. That’s the one thing for certain that all people who have accomplished something have in common…they started. 

Starting may have involved risk. Primarily the risk of failure. Successful people started anyway. Starting may, in fact likely did, mean ending something else. That ending may have felt like a loss. It’s tough to start when it feels like it will result in an immediate loss. Successful people started anyway. 

Less successful people, those who don’t understand that never taking a risk is the riskiest thing they can do, too often use their time to criticize the efforts of the people trying to accomplish something. 

I sometimes wonder if they use their criticism of others to shield themselves from the feeling of loss that comes with knowing they didn’t have the courage to even try. 

Knowing that success can only come from trying and understanding that trying often ends with something less than complete success I encourage people to make failing (at least temporarily) a regular part of their lives. 

I’d much prefer to make an effort that results in failure than to live my days wondering “what if.” Failing gives me another chance to start again, another chance at success. Not even attempting to succeed gives me nothing. It’s the same for every person reading this post. 

What we think of as failure isn’t failure unless we decide to not trying again. What we think of as failure is really a lesson in how not to do something…so long as we try again. 

Every person you think of as successful has attempted something that ended with less than complete success. They could have stopped and accepted failure. But they began again, and again and again until whatever they were attempting ended in complete success. 

I can assure you they had detractors along the way. People who criticized them and their efforts. They ignored the “can’t do” crowd and listened only to people who said “you can do it.” If they couldn’t find “can do” people then they told themselves… “I can do this.”

The quote below from President Theodore Roosevelt expresses these thoughts better than I ever could. One modern day caveat about this quote. I firmly believe that if he were alive today President Roosevelt would adjust his quote to use less inclusive language. Today we know that every human being born is endowed with the potential for greatness. There are circumstances in life that can make it more difficult for some to achieve that greatness. Successful people however make sure that none of those circumstances are of their own making. 

Here’s the quote.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Do not be a timid soul. The only way to achieve success is to try. The goal in life is not to arrive at death’s door safely, it is to accomplish something along the way. 

It is with absolute certainty that I say you can accomplish much if only you’re willing to try. 

Success is Not Required

So…lots of people will disagree with this but I believe that success is not required of anyone. I also believe that everyone has an opportunity to succeed. That last part there, the part about opportunity, that’s the part that not everyone will agree with.

I understand why, I mean knowing that you actually do have the opportunity to succeed has been known to put pressure on people to try and leverage that opportunity. To a whole lotta people that just looks like too much work.

So instead, they simply say that they don’t have the chance to succeed. 

Let’s talk about those opportunities for a minute. We should all be clear that not every opportunity is created equal. Some people have far more and far better opportunities than others. Depending on where you were born, depending in some cases on when you were born, and sadly, very sadly, even depending all too often on the color of your skin, your opportunities can vary greatly. (yes, I know there are more factors that can come into play but this isn’t intended to be a complete list)

Here’s what all successful people know; regardless of circumstances, regardless of any obstacles, regardless of anything someone else may do to try to stop you, if you want success enough, you can have it.

Hard work, smart work, good planning, and desire can overcome almost ANY circumstance or obstacle. Yes, there are places on this earth where the challenges can make even basic success nearly impossible but “nearly impossible” is not impossible. I should also point out that if you’re reading this you’re not likely reading it from one of those places.

If you’re sitting in Texas, or London, or Rio, or Tokyo and you’re saying “well, what about the people in Syria, (or pick your own place or people) see, not everyone can succeed,” as an excuse for your own lack of success then I have to tell you that’s just an excuse for you not to try and it’s a pretty lame excuse at that.

You have to decide if you’re going to let chance, circumstances, past history and the opinions of others prevent you from achieving the success that is available to you. You also have to decide exactly what success means to you. 

Success is very personal, my success and your success are likely are least somewhat different. You don’t have to do what others expect of you to consider yourself a success but you do have to be honest with yourself. Sitting around wasting your talent and abilities could be someone’s definition of success but most people wouldn’t think it was a good one.

Complaining about what you can’t do has the ability to prevent you from doing what you can do so stop complaining about what isn’t and create what will be…you know you can do it!

There is no requirement that anyone succeed at anything but everyone should know that success is within their reach if they are willing to actually reach for it. YOU are a part of that “everyone” and now that you know you can succeed you have a choice to make. I hope you make it a good one.