Although some are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, growing up to inherit the family fortune; let’s not confuse success with what we might call a birthright. In fact, success is not altogether about fame and fortune, although some dictionaries include such in their definitions, the Free Dictionary offers the better definition noting “success” as being “the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted”.

My son-in-law recently posted a quote to Facebook by the famed soccer player, Pele, who said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, study, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing.” I think his is the better of the definitions I have read, and I am relatively sure many successful people would agree. People like Ralph Lauren, a college drop-out who worked for Brooks Brothers in New York City before rising to the top of the fashion world. I feel quite certain Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz would side with Pele, he grew up in a housing project. Oprah Winfrey was born into abstract poverty but won a scholarship to Tennessee State University becoming the first African-American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19. Then there is Texas native, Harold Simmons who grew up in a “shack” without plumbing or electricity. He managed to get accepted to the University of Texas where he earned a bachelor’s and masters in economics.

Each of these billionaires would be the first in line to tell you their success came at a price; hard work, perseverance, learning, study, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing. Although they wound up extremely wealthy, life didn’t start out that way. The road to success wasn’t a nicely paved expressway, not even a country road; it was more like a briar patch. Many met with failure along the way, Walt Disney, for example, was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” – imagine that. Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times; Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before founding a fried chicken empire – KFC; and J.K. Rowling was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first “Harry Potter” novel. Needless to say, encouragement was in short supply, but hard work, perseverance, learning, study, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what they were doing, in the long run, paid off.

I am not suggesting everyone will be a Thomas Edison, whose teacher told him he was “too stupid to learn anything” and was fired from his first two jobs, for not being suitably productive, nor are my thoughts to suggest a means to gain riches. What I am saying is if you have a dream of doing something you love to do, never wake up, but then too, don’t sleep it away either. Get up, get going, keep going; keep the dream fresh in your heart; be willing to work hard, persevere through the difficulties and setbacks, be a learner, study, and always be prepared to go against the current swimming upstream. As I see it, just to keep trying, to not give up is in its own right success, if to no one else but me; and should you elect to place God at the helm, you’ll have an ace in the hole.



The Business Insider