MARTINA Navratilova a celebrated tennis hero, once said: “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” What makes life worth living are the challenges that we all meet and surmount.
The distinction between failures and those who are enjoying life is the fact that the former have problems they mostly cannot solve. Successful people are those that achieve their dreams and generally afford the main necessities that make life a pleasurable experience.
There is no field of human endeavour that sharply demonstrates the inherent craving in all human beings to be successful like sport. Soccer, basketball, wrestling, cricket and rugby evoke such powerful emotions among actors and spectators to such an extent that it is not uncommon to see both winners and losers weep as a result of their experiences.
Scholars have for years studied the life expectancy of people who excel in their chosen fields vis-a-vis those who fail to make it.
Most researchers have generally concluded that success significantly improves longevity. A demographic survey carried out in the United States in the late 1990s revealed that astronomers have a higher likelihood of living two extra years over and above the life expectancy of an average American.
This is explained by a life of continuously anticipating discoveries in the universe which characterise astronomy as a science. Success just like failure is not an accident.
Success is a result of a series of interconnected decisions and actions which eventually produce a good life. The main reason why many people fumble in the darkness of human endeavour without any direction or sense of purpose is because for one to succeed planning and effort are necessary.
There are four attributes that virtually all successful people share regardless of their ethnicity, race, education, background or nationality.
The four qualities of successful persons can be applied in spheres of human endeavour such as sport, education, business and many others with great results.
Quality one: Learning
One thing which is certain about life is that all the knowledge one has been acquired during this life. There is no person who enters this life with a compendium of knowledge which they acquired before they existed. The most skilled businessperson is nothing but a perpetual student.
In fact the greatest teachers from antiquity have always been those who were willing to be everlasting students of their chosen field of activity.
A survey of habits of the rich versus those of poor people undertaken by Dave Ramsey revealed that more than 90% of rich people love reading.
There are basically three ways of learning something new. One may read a good book or manual which explains how something is done, follow the manual or book and succeed through practice.
Secondly, a person may learn through imitation or simulating a good behaviour or behaviours observed from others.
Imitation is the primary method by which businesses learn how to do things. Successful businesses normally start off struggling.
They make it in their chosen field by studying and learning from successful ones. Success can be ensured by locating a mentor.
Quality two: Teamwork
Success just like failure is a communal experience. Whether we like it or not, we are all part of society. Our success is the success of society.
If a firm or a business collapses, other people and organisations are affected. The people who are most affected by the destiny of a firm are called stakeholders and they are to be distinguished from shareholders who actually own a business entity.
Stakeholders of a company may include customers, the owners, the community or business environment, the government, quasi-government entities and other businesses in the community.
Success in business or in any area of life entails teamwork because there is no person who is skilled or equipped to do all that they are supposed to achieve in isolation. We all need others to play their part well to ensure our success.
To be a success story is not enough for one to be an avid reader of books. One must constitute or choose a team of highly inspired and enthusiastic people.
Quality three: Focus
Most very successful people have an ability to focus on a single thing or activity until they have mastered it. In contrast, most unsuccessful people tend to lack focus.
Focus implies concentrating on a single area of human endeavour until one discovers their space or portion. Focus is associated with diligence and discipline.
Most people or organisations that lack focus invariably lack discipline. Focus or concentration on something disciplines us and enables us to channel our emotional, intellectual and physical energies in a constructive manner.
Focus facilitates the proper and diligent use of time. One of the most wasted resources on earth is time. The difference between a successful person and a failure is how the two individuals handle time that providence liberally affords all living people. All living people have 24 hours in any given day.
Success or failure depends to a larger extent on the use or abuse of time. Before a company diversifies it must first of all master one area of business so as to create a basis for future diversification. Most successful people are generally known for one area of human activity to which they have made a significant contribution.
Michael Schumacher’s name is synonymous with Formula One motor racing.
Gerrie Nel is known for his legal prowess, Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico is a well known business magnate in the telecommunications industry, Edison Arantes do Nascimento, known to many simply as Pele is a world celebrated football legend and Carlos Ghosn is French-Lebanese-Brazilian businessperson renowned for turning around and performing signs and wonders on Renault and Nissan.
If one wants to be successful one simply has to find what retains his or her attention and concentration the most and specialise in it.
Fourth quality: Patience
Most successful people or businesses invest quality time, skills and physical resources to ensure attainment of their goals. It takes many years of toil, research and experimentation, falling and rising to be reckoned as a success story in latter times.
Legend has it that Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was a US magnate who failed more than twenty times in business before finally breaking through with his Mickey Mouse invention which is a hallmark of the cartoon industry to this day.
Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb once said “genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. This implies that genuine and sustainable success is a fruit of many years of toil.
If all meaningful human achievements could be attained in a matter of hours or days, history would never celebrate the names of people such as the one whose 27 years in prison are a living testimony that where there is a strong will there is definitely a clear way.