Monday, March 19, 2007

 

Consistency - Parent of Progress, Cornerstone of Success

Copyright 2007 by Donovan Baldwin

In his book, "Awaken the Giant Within", Anthony Robbins has the following to say about achieving success:

"In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently."

Remember back down the line where someone told you that if you put a little bit of money in the bank every week or out of every paycheck, after a while you would have a large chunk of money? Made sense, right?

Or how about if you take a walk every day, or at least several times a week, you will lose weight, get fitter, go down a dress size...whatever! Do you remember that?

Okay, how about brush every day? I know you've heard that one!

So, what the heck do all these things have in common?

No peeking! You actually have to read the article.

Oh, okay. We all know and understand that simply taking the occasional swing at changing our lives or improving them or losing weight or making more money isn't going to work. It's the exercise done regularly and often over time that improves our bodies. It's the money put into the bank out of every paycheck that mounts up to enough to actually invest in something expensive. It is brushing our teeth every day that helps keep tooth decay in check and keeps the dentist off our backs.

That little Austrian kid, what's his name, probably did have some good genes going for him. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger never would have made "Pumping Iron", got discovered, made a lot more movies, married Maria Shriver, and become the governor of the state of California if he had only visited the gym once or twice and then quit...or only showed up every other Wednesday.

Like so many successful people, Ahnald (sorry, couldn't resist) visualized a goal for himself, figured out what steps were needed to get him there, and then was willing to spend the time and effort necessary to perform those steps regularly and religiously.

Raining and cold today? Got to get to the gym. Don't feel like working out? Got to get to the gym. Not only that, if something he tried wasn't working, he tried to figure out what would work and started over.

Was every step along the way perfect? Of course not. Just look at some of Arnold's movies, and you will see that some would definitely NOT remind you of the future governor of California...or of Gregory Peck, Charleton Heston, or Gabby Hayes, for that matter. What did matter was that he kept swinging...er, lifting, and did not give up.

Same with Ronald Regan, by the way.

Or how about that young black woman born in the segregated city of Birmingham, Alabama in the mid 50's? Who would have thought that she ever would have a chance to become anything. I grew up in the South of the 50's. I remember what she faced. It wasn't just two water fountains (white and colored) and three bathrooms (men, women, and colored). That's almost just an inconvenience compared to being considered by a large part of the population to be less than human and not being allowed to even dream of following the paths to achievement open to those who did not have skin the same color as hers. However, she too had a goal and never quit working at it despite the obstacles, and the almost certain times that she must have felt that her goal must be impossible to obtain.

Today, Condoleezza Rice is one of the most famous, most respected women in the world. Her name will go down in history because she had something to work towards and realized that just taking a casual swing at it once in a while would not get her where she wanted to go.

By the way, it was another person with skin the color of hers who would not give up and quit either. Partly because of the sacrifices of people like Martin Luther King, not only did the extra water fountain and bathroom go away, but so did a lot of the obstacles that little girl faced. He didn't quit trying either, until he could try no more...and that decision was not his.

Pick somebody successful. It doesn't matter if it is Tiger Woods, Thomas Edison, Donald Trump, or Tony Robbins. Heck, Edison even said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." How many of us would have quit after two or three tries?

How about that unemployed ex-secretary in Britain. Thought up some silly characters and wrote a book about them. Twelve publishing houses rejected her story before one decided to take a chance on it. Even her good friends were telling her to give it up and get a real job when the first Harry Potter book by J. K. Rowling hit the stands.

An old story I remember from a bazillion (my spell checker says "kazillion" doesn't exist) years ago was about a sports writer watching a famous golfer sink a difficult putt. A man beside him snorted and said something like, "I wish I had been lucky enough to be born with his talent." The sports writer didn't say anything at that time, but he thought to himself of all the times he had seen that same golfer practicing putting over and over between rounds when he could have been resting.

Yeah, we all have different levels of skills and talents. Our parents may or may not have been able to help us out. Our genes, or the circumstances of our birth and heritage, may or may not have made it easier for us to accomplish this or that. However, again and again we can see that the winners...those who succeed, are not always the most talented, those born rich, or those whose genes made it easy for them.

So many times in life's race, the winner is the one who simply did not quit running.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer and a University of West Florida alumnus. He is a member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, health and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness, yoga, writing, the environment, happiness, self improvement, and weight loss.

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