The Key To Achieving Goals- Simple and Powerful, Yet Damned Hard To Do
There is a simple, unglamorous, obvious key ingredient to achieving goals, dreams, aspirations. It is right here in front of us, but so damned hard to do. Are you able to do it? If you can, victory is yours. Here it is.
The World Cup is upon us. It was while watching a documentary last night on the fortunes of six superb Manchester United players from the 1990s that I was reminded of this powerful insight, shared with me on Friday by a colleague.
He inadvertently gave me the message for today’s Possums when he told me this: “Well, it’s time to quote from that movie ‘The Best Marigold Hotel’, when the son who is trying to restore the old hotel in India says:
“Everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright, it is not yet the end…”
There was David Beckham, sent off in disgrace in the 1998 World Cup, death threats and attack from all quarters, only to rise again as true champions do. And Eric Cantona, banned for nine months after kicking a rival fan who racially abused him, who rose again to captain United.
It all comes down to this. You have never failed if, every time you get knocked down, you stand up again. It is as simple as that. And I believe it. Passionately. Sure – it is better to ‘win’. Bang. Done. Thank you ball boys and girls. But that’s not life. Setbacks are table stakes. It’s how you tackle setbacks that counts.
There is 15 year old girl I know. Her mother told me she was worried about her- this teenager was very flat. Things were not going well (not big things- just everyday life things). She had missed out on term-end recognition on school matters when most of her peers were lauded; was not picked for the musical; was selected in the lower sports team unexpectedly and with her team mates of previous years named in the team above; and just not cracking it in most of her pursuits. Yet she was disciplined. She put in the hard yards.
I spoke to her. She was dispirited and disheartened, self-esteem and confidence battered. We talked about persistence. About never giving up. About learning from setbacks and picking yourself up, and going again. I told her about Gandhi, who had said: “Adversity is the mother of progress.” She did not appear to listen. And I kind of forgot about her for a while.
Then we bumped into each other last week. “How are you going?” I asked. “Pretty good,” she replied energetically, with a big smile.
“Things are good. You see, soon after we chatted, I did something I am really proud of. I went and got a job. Just 10 hours a week, mainly weekend work, at a neighbourhood café. Not many of my friends have a job. I earned $120 last week, and banked it. Oh- and I have been really working hard on my sports game- scored a goal last week- the coach was really pleased with me. And that musical I told you about… I wrote to the director and asked she consider me if anyone withdrew from it. I explained how passionate I am to be in it. Last week she called, There had been a drop-out, and I’m in. I did really well in my exams by the way- better than ever before. Oh- and I also nominated myself as a candidate for House Captain. I don’t have much chance- there are some excellent candidates- but, as you said “You have to be in it to win it” and I am having a go. I am confident I can bounce back from any disappointment, and am pleased I put my hand up …..”
I looked at her in awe. Now- that’s what I call refusing to stay down. Pull yourself up. Take the setbacks. Take the lessons they bring. But do not give up on yourself. Never give up. You see, in India they say ‘everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright, it is not yet the end…’
Quoting Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men and women with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
So- a question for you. Are you ‘pressing on?’