Want to be successful? Then don’t quit when trouble comes.
Last month, on a trip to Indianapolis, the first flight on my trip was delayed. As a result, a 44-minute connection time at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport shrunk to about 20 minutes. As I came out of the arrival gate, I looked around for the bank of monitors to check the departure gate for my connection. I found out it’s at gate C6 and the status said, Boarding. Then I realized where I was.
I just came out of gate F9. And my next flight was departing from another terminal. That’s a very long walk! Quickly, I checked the departure time for the next flight to Indy. It’s in two hours. As I walked towards Terminal C, I started to ponder the possibilities.
“It won’t be that bad if I miss the flight,” I thought. “After all there’s another one in 2 hours. Actually, it would be a good thing. I've not had lunch and I can already feel the hunger pangs coming. Missing this flight will allow me time to get lunch before continuing on my trip. So, it’ won’t be that bad.”
As I thought of possible places to eat at the airport, I continued to walk briskly with long, measured strides. I wasn’t in a hurry, but I wasn’t slacking either. Still hopeful that I may just be able to make it to my departure gate on time, I secretly wished that I would miss the flight so that I could relax and get something to eat.
But I made it! I got there just before the gate closed.
For years, I’ve learned that putting the required effort in and not quitting when I face obstacles would usually get me to where I want to be; most of the time. When we endure and stick to it against all odds, there’s a good chance of a great reward at the end. Those who quit do not get the rewards.
Vince Lombardi was the one, who said: “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”
It may the difficult, but when the going gets tough, the tough really needs to get going. You definitely don’t want to give up. Success never comes to those who give up. One of Thomas Edison’s quotes says:
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.”
Determination or willpower is one of those attributes that we humans have that work to help propel us towards success. When there is a will, success is not far behind. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Willing to be Imperfect
Even after putting in a reasonable effort, there’s the possibility that you may not get what you want, through the path you had imagined. That doesn’t mean that the path is a complete dead-end. As we persevere when we face difficulties in our goals, we may discover better ways of accomplishing our objectives. Enduring snags and hitches could provide a much-needed focus to reveal better methods. The difficulties we encounter could be pointers to detours that lead to another path; a path which may eventually lead you to the Promised Land. Thomas Edison was also famously quoted to have said,
“Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.”
After many unsuccessful trials by him and many others before him, Edison finally came up with the first commercially practical incandescent lamp. Just imagine if he had quit after all the previous versions he came up with, turned out to be fraught with problems.
Peter Sims wrote an excellent piece in The New York Times that chronicles some of the more recent examples of people who succeeded through imperfection. He said, “most successful entrepreneurs don’t begin with perfected ideas or plans - they discover them.”
So, why don’t you look at those stumbling blocks as stepping stones onto something better? If you approach setbacks with such a mindset, you’re more likely to learn something new and useful.
Learn As You Go
When things do not pan out as expected, you may be provided with many opportunities to learn. History is replete with stories of people who learned something new just because they persevered in an endeavor. They stumbled onto new discoveries because they refused to give up.
Sims further wrote in the same article: “… leaders, managers and collaborators … must to be willing to learn from mistakes. Affordable risks should be encouraged and small failures celebrated - these are the marks of learning organizations”.
As you begin this New Year, what’s your challenge? In what areas have life thrown you a curve ball? What have you been working on that you’ve found yourself in one detour after another? I encourage you to continue to apply reasonable efforts.
See those setbacks as opportunities to learn from imperfections. Grow from them.
Don’t quit. And success will be yours.