It was considered impossible. No other human had ever done it. Scores of people tried for decades, but only to face failure. It all started from an attempt to avoid bullies. Although no one had done it before, he believed he could it. To that end, he was patient and persistent, studying the situation very closely, studying all the mechanical aspects involved. He also used his medical knowledge to devise a special training program. Not only did he break through a previously impenetrable barrier, but he taught countless others that the impossible can become possible. It was 1954. Oxford University. The time read 3:59.4. Roger Bannister had just done the impossible. He broke the 4-minute mile.
She knew what she wanted to be. She believed wholeheartedly that she could do it, but the odds were stacked against her. She grew up poor in the New York projects, dropped out of high school, and became a junkie. By the time she was 19, she was a single mom. Having no skills except raising a child, she took a job as a nanny, which took her to Texas, and then on to California. After that job fizzled out, she found a job as a brick layer and also attended cosmetology school. At night, she participated in the local theater group. Being an actress was her childhood dream. It’s what she wanted to be. Deep down she knew she could do it. In 1983, the famed Hollywood director, Mike Nichols, saw her in a play and signed her to a Broadway show. A Broadway show that caught the eye of director, Steven Spielberg, who cast her in the lead role of one of his movies. Over her career, she became an actress, comedian, author, and television personality. She was also nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and is only one of a few who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award. This is Caryn Elaine Johnson…better known as Whoopi Goldberg.
She was only 14 when she earned her blackbelt in Taekwondo. Later she would go on to earn her 2nd and 3rd degree blackbelts. Although terrified of flying, she forced herself to overcome her fears, and became a licensed pilot. She even had reasons to fear water, but became a certified scuba diver. She also went on to become a published author, motivational speaker, and traveled the world inspiring others. She’s a stellar example of what it meant to be motivated, to be determined. To her, an obstacle was a steppingstone to achievement and fears were there to be conquered, as she said, “don't ever be afraid to face your fear, do something that scares you; it makes you feel alive,". It all came to be in February 1983. That’s when Jessica Cox was born, born with no arms.
He loved to run and play basketball. Although his basketball team went on to win three national championships, running was his favorite sport. Not only was it his favorite, it made him famous. So famous that he had buildings, statues, roads, and parks named after him! But it wasn’t just the running. It was the cause he was running for. A cause that he believed in. A belief that enabled him to raise over $750 million. Not only did he raise a tremendous amount of money, but he took the time & opportunity to raise awareness, awareness for a terrible disease. Cancer. He embarked on a run across the entire country of Canada. He called it the Marathon of Hope. He ran over 3,339 miles. He ran with only one leg, as he lost the other to that dreaded disease, Cancer. He ultimately died from the terrible disease. Today he is considered a national hero. This was Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist, who died in June 1981.
She was born in the Bronx, New York, to poor and drug addicted parents. She routinely ate from dumpsters and slept in subway stations at night. When she was 15, her mother died of HIV and she was homeless. She understood the power of knowledge and that an education could save her. So she took appropriate actions, focused on her studies, and graduated high school in just two years. She won a New York Times scholarship and was accepted into Harvard University. She would go on to earn her PhD in Clinical Psychology and then went to Columbia University to earn a master’s degree in Education. She authored a New York Times best-selling memoir, which became an Emmy nominated made-for-tv movie on Lifetime Television. She then went on and co-founded, The Arthur Project, an organization that mentors and supports underserved, at-risk youths. Not only did she overcome some extremely difficult circumstances, she now helps others do the same. So that they too can find peace and happiness. This is Liz Murray.
He struggled with depression and loneliness. He was tormented to such an extent that at the age of 10 he attempted suicide. He was so challenged, that he lacked the ability to take care of himself. But things changed. He changed. He decided life was worth living. He decided that he could make a difference. And he did. Today, he is a famous author, motivational speaker, and the founder and president of an international nonprofit organization. His inspiring message is to live a life without limits. He has traveled to over 57 countries where he has shared his story with over 400 million people, while his YouTube videos have inspired millions more. This is Nick, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs.
He was severely bullied throughout his childhood. Onetime he was hospitalized when a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs and then smashed his head into the pavement until he lost consciousness. His peers also made fun of him and called him a weirdo because he liked to spend his free time reading. He wanted to make a difference, to change the world, and he believed he could. He sought to challenge several of the largest industries in the world and was met with tremendous resistance, even from his friends. After three major failures, which cast doubt on him, his abilities, and his visions, he bet everything he had on one last try. He succeeded. As a result, his company won a $1.5 billion-dollar contract. Today, he really is following his dreams. Today, he really is changing the world. He co-founded PayPal, Neuralink, OpenAI, and Tesla Motors, founded The Boring Company and SpaceX, and is the chairman of SolarCity. This is Elon Musk.
So how’d they do it? How’d those seven people overcome such difficult circumstances and become so successful?
According to research, they all succeeded because they were able to leverage a number of specific factors. Not only did these factors enable their success, but these special factors are common in most successful people. These factors not only work together, but they build upon each other, creating a step-by-step “Success Model” for how to succeed.
So what are these factors and where do we start? It all starts with you. What do you want to be, do, or have? What is it that you’d go after if you knew you couldn’t fail? That’s the first factor. That’s what drives us to take action. It all begins with our desires, which serves as our “Motivation.” But Motivation doesn’t play by itself. It has a friend, a very important friend.
Have you ever refused to give up? I don’t mean when you had that temper tantrum at Toys “R” Us when you were five. I mean, has there ever been something you wanted so badly that you just refused to give up until you got it? You made up your mind and that was it! There was no turning back! Well, that’s motivation’s friend. Allow me to introduce you to success factor number two, “Determination.”
Motivation & Determination (“M&D”) work well as a pair because of the way they complement each other. Motivation is “why” you’re doing something, while Determination is “you’re going to do it until ‘the why’ is satisfied, until ‘the why’ is completed.” To be successful, you can’t have one without the other. But they’re also just the first two factors, the first pair in the “Success Model”. Now, let’s meet the next pair (and yes, the order of the success factors matters).
Do you like to watch paint dry and water boil? When’s the last time you stood in line at the Dept of Motor Vehicles? Or how about those long lines at Disney Land! Fun wasn’t it? So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about success factor number three, “Patience.” In a nutshell, Patience is the ability to accept or tolerate delays, pain, or suffering over time, without getting angry or upset. Seeing that becoming successful can sometimes take a while, being patient is a key factor. For example, it took Elon Musk and Tesla Motors nearly 10-years before the Model-S car came out and they became a household name, and for Amazon, it took it 9-years to become profitable, and now it’s one of the most profitable companies in the world. So, just like how M&D work well together, Patience also works well with another success factor.
“You’re SO stubborn….but I mean that in a good way.” In a good way? Does anyone really mean that? Probably not. Anyway, if Patience is the ability to endure things over time, basically waiting for something to happen, what is it that is good at “making” things happen? What is it that can push, push, push, and be really stubborn? What is it that enables us to continue in spite of severe difficulties and suffering? Allow me to introduce you to success factor number four, “Perseverance.”
See, although Patience is good at being able to “stay” in the game for as long as it takes, Perseverance is good at “playing” the game, taking action, and enduring the results, especially when the results aren’t favorable. So, just like M&D, Patience and Perseverance (P&P) also work well together, complement each other, and in order to be successful, you also need P&P (along with M&D).
Ok, here’s a question for you. What’s something that you never seem to have enough of, but other times there’s just too much! What is it that rules everyone’s lives and is probably the most important success factor? It’s “Time” and it’s twin brother, “Timing.” You see, it’s so important because to be successful, to realize your dreams, often requires both. For example, when it came to the electric car, in the early 1990’s, GM already had the EV1, but market demand just wasn’t there, so in 2003, GM shut it down. Interestingly enough, it was also in 2003 when Tesla Motors was formed. And by the time they rolled out their first car, the Tesla Roadster in 2008, market demand had arrived and the cars were selling! But Time (and his twin brother, Timing) also work with another factor, the sixth factor, which is called, “Opportunity.”
I say they work together because when their paths cross, when Time meets Opportunity, that’s when great things happen. But unfortunately, their paths don’t cross very often. However, if you can focus on creating more time, then you will have more opportunities, which translates into more chances for your dreams to come true. For example, for Tesla, the opportunity was twofold. First, in 2008, market demand had now materialized and the technology improved to the point where it was now feasible, like the batteries that enabled a range of 244 miles and the motors, which allowed the car to be fast, which was good because their first vehicle was marketed as a sports car.
Random…aimless…and um, careless. That’s how I’d describe my local NFL team. I’d tell you who they are, but then I’d have to elaborate, I’d have to tell you how I really feel, and that would get real ugly, real quick. But those words, “random, aimless, careless” do mean something in terms of the Success Model. They are examples of how NOT to plan your actions.
You see, you have a goal, and to achieve that goal, you need to leverage the Success Model in a very specific way. When you take the actions needed to move yourself closer to your goal, you don’t just take any ‘ol actions. You take “appropriate actions”. Appropriate actions are actions that are strategic in nature, they are planned out in advance, and are aligned with your goal. Appropriate actions are what enable you to achieve your goals. And that’s the seventh success factor, taking “Appropriate Actions”.
Ok, so let’s do a quick recap, a summary of the factors that have enabled people to achieve their goals, to be successful. Here’s the seven factors and their order: Motivation (the why) & Determination (I’ll do it until) + Patience (ok, I’ll suffer in silence) & Persistence (get your ass in gear!) + Time (and his twin brother, Timing) & Opportunity (hello, I’m knocking!) + Appropriate Action (your strategic plan) = Success.
M&D + P&P + T&O + AA = Success
Ok, so that’s the secret sauce. Those are the special ingredients that enable people to be, do, and have what they want! Well…sort of. Actually, there’s one more factor to cover. In fact, it’s the key factor. It’s what’s responsible for enabling all the other factors, for bringing them all together and making them work hand-in-hand and step-by-step.
So what are we talking about?