“My sword is too short!” cried the spartan boy to his father after his strike failed to land.
“Add a step to it, then,” was his father’s reply. “Add a step to every strike, and you’ll never miss your mark.” To get ahead, you must extend your efforts.
‘Do all you can for yourself first then trust in Providence,’ added 19th century businessman PT Barnum. “Until you get to where you can rely on yourself, you should not expect to succeed.”
In the fast industrializing world there are so many opportunities for growth right now that millions of people could raise themselves out of poverty if they just put their mind to it and did a little more.
Professor PLO Lumumba, in his speech to the youth of Africa said that: “The world is full of opportunities, but those opportunities are only there for those who are prepared, and those who have the ability. We live in a world where everybody thinks that when they graduate they must be employed. The world is now looking for young men and women who can innovate, young men and women who can invent, the world is looking for inventors and innovators who themselves are going to be job creators, whichever talent you have, nurture that talent. There is money in your talent, if you are to be a musician, be a good one who is celebrated across Africa, if you are a runner, be the best runner you can be.”
“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin immediately,” wrote Napoleon Hill.
How many people today believe they could achieve big things if only they had the right opportunities around them? How many more believe that something out of their control hinders their progress? And that once the stars align in their favor — surely will succeed?
But we must begin now with what we have where we are if we want to get ahead, and do what we can, where we are, with whatever means are at hand. Because every minute that we sit around trying to figure out what to do, writes Tim Grover, “someone else is already doing it. Make a choice or a choice will be made for you.”
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Abraham Lincoln
Those who wait for opportunities to fall into their laps often ignore the fact that one of the most effective ways to get ahead is to start immediately. Some believe that success is a matter of luck and that we are at the mercy of God. The problem with this approach is that it takes away our sense of responsibility. If everything really is in God’s hands, then there is nothing we can do to change our future.
People who believe in fate have robbed themselves of the chance to prove themselves by working hard on their own behalf. Others believe that making progress depends on magic potions, spells, and other superstitious beliefs, none of which are based in reality.
But the best strategy for someone who’s waiting for a big opportunity is to work hard at it. If we do nothing, we are less likely to succeed. We should be proactive in our efforts as this will help create opportunities for ourselves. Others play life as if playing the lotto — hoping to one day strike it rich. They blow their dice and toss them, a strategy that never succeeds at length, because while luck will favor them sometimes, in the end, the house always wins.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says that a man who stands atop a hill waiting for roast duck to fly in his mouth will wait a very long time. So too does he who waits for luck to change his situation. Effective people do not wait for luck, but cultivate it, by creating opportunities and favorable circumstances. Purpose, self-application and hard work always hits it’s mark.
While indeed some do get a head start in life — the highly effective always overtake them in the end. Success that is earned, not stumbled upon, is worth ten times it’s weight. Just like the farmer who produces wealth from mud, so too does the effective man who produces results from effort.
“There is nobody whom Fortune does not visit at least once in his life,” says an old proverb. “But when she finds that he is not ready to receive her, goes in at the door and leaves through the window.” The secret is to be ready when she comes. The ineffective man fails to recognize her but he who is prepared embraces her and invites her to dinner. She finds him ready with his rod cast out and his bait in the water.
“I never did anything worth doing by accident,” wrote Plato to his students, “nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.”
“Opportunity is missed by most people,” said Thomas Edison, “because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
The moment we commit ourselves, providence provides, in every step of the way. “All life is an experiment. Thus the more experiments you make the better,” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Life is a learning experience from the moment we are born to the moment we die. We learn from each new thing we discover and grow with each new experience. But we can only grow by the act of doing, this sets in motion a chain of events that propels on to the next thing.
We often wish we were bigger, better, stronger in order to begin, but Steve chandler says to, “Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it anyway you have to, but do it.” Action will set you apart from the competition and as you persist, it will be the single most competitive advantage above all.
History tells us that we don’t have to wait until all the tools are in place before we begin. We must just begin. We just need to take that initial step and continue with a sincere resolve. “The best time to plant a tree,” goes the old proverb, “was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” If you are serious about your goals, you can accomplish anything.
The Wright brothers spent only $1500 on their first powered flight in 1903. If they had waited until they had the money to build a larger and more sophisticated plane, it would have taken forever for them to achieve their goal.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Though the distance may be great, it is up to each individual to take that first step. Now is the time for us to pursue our dreams. There are no more excuses, no more reasons to delay. We have a world of opportunity; it is up to us to make the most of it. If we don’t start now, we risk losing our window of opportunity to move forward. The man who gets busy doing it; and starts where he is is sure to get ahead.
Read more in my new book : The Trials And Triumphs of Hyperachievers