Saturday, April 19, 2008


Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. Thomas Carlyle

Encarta defines persistence as the quality of continuing steadily despite problems or difficulties. It is a fact that we all face difficulties in our lives. As we face these difficulties we all have different ways of viewing and responding to our circumstances. Some people really struggle to deal with problems that arise in their lives while others seem to have an uncommon strength when it comes to handling adversity. I can’t help but wonder why it is that some people seem to have that uncommon ability to adapt to and overcome their problems. What makes the difference? Is it education, gender, age, qualifications, or some secret that some are privileged to learn?

It is not always the most educated person that is the most successful. It is quite often the person that has the ability to be persistent regardless of their circumstances. Most of the successful people that I have encountered are not necessarily the most educated. They have certain qualifications, but they are not necessarily the qualifications one receives from an academic environment. I do believe that academics can play a very important role. If nothing else, academics can prove ones ability to make and sustain a commitment. This sustaining a commitment is the the very essence of persistence. However, the people that seem to be most successful in life have an even higher sense of commitment. They have an uncanny ability to stick to their mission. They do not let anything deter them from doing or becoming what they desire. They set a goal and they stick to it.

I can’t help but think of people that have achieved their goals while enduring incredible obstacles. I think of Abraham Lincoln overcoming the lack of formal education, suffering from severe bouts of depression, facing numerous tragedies in life, failing in almost every endeavor he took up, and still becoming one of the greatest leaders of all time. Consider Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They both overcame hatred and prejudice. They did this with non violent opposition and changed whole governments, societies and the world’s view of oppressed people. James Stockdale endured horrendous treatment while spending over 7 years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. Not only was he able to endure and survive incredibly harsh conditions and brutal treatment, but he was able to change his captors view of him and eventually won better treatment for him and nearly 400 other captives. Viktor Frankl was able to survive the brutality of Nazi concentration camps and the loss of all that was dear to him. Art Berg became a quadriplegic at a very young age and was able to be a father, business owner, hall of fame professional speaker and even was awarded his very own super bowl championship ring. The list can go on and on of incredible achievements of valor, glory, and fame. That is not the real goal of what I am trying to convey. The point is not the achievement and becoming famous. The point is not that only famous people posses the ability to overcome great odds. The point that I really want to make is that it is not some magical quality that can only be obtained by the rich and famous. It is not necessarily taught in schools or universities. No this quality can be the possession of anyone.

The quality that I am talking about is persistence. Everybody has the ability to be persistent. The common man has just as much ability to persist as the rich and famous. It really depends on how much we choose to cultivate this ability. It is not as though it is some mysterious quality or something that has to be searched for. It is something that has to be cultivated. I mentioned James Stockdale earlier. He was an avid reader of ancient philosophers and gave a great deal of credit for his inner strength to his studies of Epictetus. Stockdale believed “that each individual brings about his own good and his own evil, his good fortune, his ill fortune, his happiness, and his wretchedness” How? By following the line of thought that all persistent people follow. It is not your circumstances that determine the outcome; it is your response to your circumstances that determine the outcome. Viktor Frankl stated that if you have a big enough why you can overcome any how. In other words, if you have a purpose strong enough to make you persist towards your goal, you can succeed. The real trick is in being persistent. Refusing to give up on your intended goal.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Action is the antidote to despair. Joan Baez

I have just returned from a wonderful vacation in the Bahamas. I went on a cruise with my family on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. We sailed on the Sovereign of the Seas. It is a very nice ship with lots of activities. The crew was really pleasant, the food was excellent, the entertainment was well organized and of high quality. I think most on the cruise had a great time. Best of all the weather was beautiful. It was in the mid 80's F with a light breeze and plenty of sunshine. The only problem I can think of is that it did not last long enough.

While on the cruise I noticed that allot of things were going really well. The thing I noticed about whatever was going well is that it was caused by people taking action. When a crew member seemed overly charming, it was because that person took action to be charming. If a person on the islands was successful at selling their product, it was because they took action to make that happen. I know this sounds simplistic and many people are saying, well duh,how else are you going to get things done. Yes, being successful at anything has to start with taking action. But, those that are the most successful do not sit and wait for the circumstance to be right to take action. The boldly do. They take action when others hesitate or when others take a break.

Action oriented people create their circumstances. If they have a desire to be the most hospitable person on the ship, they go around greeting people and being hospitable. They do not wait to find the perfect time or the perfect situation. They make it the time and the situation by choosing to act. I noticed some people on the other side of the issue. Some people waited for something to happen. For circumstances to be a little bit different or a little bit better before they would take some action. Those that waited seemed to be the passengers or workers that were the least happy. They expected someone else to be responsible for their success or their happiness. Those that took bold action always seemed to be happy. If it was having fun or providing a service those that were action oriented had the best time. The bolder the action the more the success. Some passengers took it to the extreme and maybe were a little aggressive in some endeavors, but in the final outcome they had a lot of fun.

If you take action you can be sure that things will happen for you. If you fail to act then things are likely to happen to you. Be a person of action and remember this quote, "Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone." Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, April 05, 2008


It has been said that man can live 40 days without food, 3 days without water, 8 minutes without air, but not 1 minute without hope. Rick Warren in God's power to change your life.

I recently wrote an article on the 5 qualities of a leader. I stated that in my studies of successful people I noticed that these people embodied 5 qualities. These qualities are as follows:

1. Successful people never let circumstances dictate the outcome. Successful people learn to respond to their circumstances. They know that they cannot always control what happens, but they can control how they respond to what happens.
2. Successful people are persistent. They have their big idea and they stick with it.
3. Successful people take a realistic inventory of their talents and abilities. They recognize their personal strengths and weaknesses. They play to their own strengths and overcome their weaknesses by capitalizing on the strengths of others.
4. Successful people are resilient. They recognize that failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. They do not fear failure they embrace it. They see every failure as a step closer to the realization of their dreams. They become masters of overcoming obstacles and staying focused on a positive outcome.
5. Successful people have passion. They are faithful and they pursue their dreams with a constant vigor and they love deeply. They do not fear rejection and loss as much as they fear living without a purpose.

As I study people that have the ability to capitalize on these 5 qualities I recognize that HOPE is the binding factor. It is hope that allows people to overcome their circumstances. Without hope Circumstance dominates. It was hope that allowed the great achievements. It is hope that keeps us hanging on in the face of great adversity. It is hope that gives perseverance it power. I was recently made aware of a little girls struggles to survive after going through a very serious surgery, a double lung transplant. The little girl is 8 month old Lucy Johnson. You can see Little Lucy's full story at care pages. You can find her story by registering on the site and typing LucyGwendolynJohnson in the search engine. It is a beautiful, yet heart wrenching story of people coming together to join in hope.

This is what the people at Care Pages do. They join people together in Hope. You can read many inspirational stories of people joining together in hope to overcome many life threatening illnesses. Please take the time to at least look through the site. You will be inspired by the quality of the people highlighted on the site. You will see people that absolutely embody the qualities that I speak of. 1. They never let their Circumstances dictate the outcome, they fight. 2. They are persistent in their will to overcome. 3. They capitalize on their talents to endure and use the talents of others to help. 4. They are the epitome of resilience. 5. They are passionate about life.

Go to care pages and join in with the network of people that are combining their voices and strengths in HOPE. Hope for themselves and for so many others.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

You are your own boss

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, or rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. Bob Moawad

This is a great quote to remind us that we alone are responsible for our lives. It is not circumstances or destiny that determines our fate. It is our actions and our responses to circumstances. Yes, circumstances are often difficult and no, I do not always make the right response. However, that does not mean that I cannot learn from my mistakes and setbacks. I always have the chance to respond in a better way. If I miss the opportunity to respond in a great way in one situation I can make the choice to respond in a better fashion at any time. I can turn my mistakes around when I choose to do so. If I fail at something and have a resulting poor response I can still choose to respond differently and turn my fortunes around. Life is not a pass/fail course. We are constantly learning and improving. Each setback or failure can be an opportunity to get better. No apologies or excuses are necessary. Remember, your life is your own. You are not graded by anyone but you. Look for your own way. Do not rely on others for your success and do not allow others to predict your failure. You alone are responsible for you.