Real Life Success
Sometimes, people the school system labelled failures can turn out to become outstanding success in life. These three people were once considered failures by their teachers:
#1. Thomas Edison: His teacher said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” But he became one of America’s most famous inventor with 1, 093 patents credited to him.
#2. Albert Einstein: He did not speak until he was 3-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His teachers described him as “mentally slow.” And many of them from elementary school through college, and even professors thought he would never amount to anything. But Albert Einstein revolutionised the world of science through his Theory of Relativity, and became the most famous scientist of the 20th century.
#3. Peter J. Daniels, an Australian billionaire, was told by his teachers that he was a stupid boy and would never amount to anything because he failed at every grade in elementary school. Today he serves as a director and chairman on a range of international boards; and his family owns the only privately-owned gold and silver bullion bank in the world.
This means that you believed a lie when you bought into the success myth: Go to school, get good grades, and get a well paying job. The reality is that those who failed in school today can become tomorrow’s success. Life’s success hinges more on attitude than on aptitude – what you learnt in school. Therefore, I will do two things – define attitude and explain why it determines success.
What is Attitude?
The Meriam-Webster dictionary defines attitude as “the way you think and feel about someone or something”. It further explains it as “a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person’s behavior.” This means that attitude is invisible. It exist within the mind – the inner part of a person. But, it is made visible or reflected by speech or non-verbal behaviors such as facial expression, hand gesture, voice tone, body language and so on. In other words, attitude is a state of mind or emotion that affects a person’s behavior.
Also, in Matthew 12: 33-35, attitude is described in two ways. First, as a tree. It is written: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” In other words, the fruit of the lips and actions originates from the tree of the heart. For a fruit follows from the nature of the tree.
Second, as a store. It is said, “… For out of the heart’s store come the words of the mouth. A good.person out of the good store of the heart brings out good things; and an evil person out of the evil store brings out evil things.” What does this mean?
Imagine a file cabinet. Let the mind be the file cabinet, then the files organized within it, attitude. Just as you look up a file to handle a correspondence, so you withdraw from your store to speak or behave in a certain way. Infact, your words and deeds are a by-product of your attitude – what is stored in the mind. If this is so, how important is your attitude?
The popular David and Goliath story shows us why attitude determines one’s success. It reads:
“The Philistine armies were stationed on a mountain on one side and Israel armies on another mountain on the opposite side: and a valley was between them.Then a fighter came out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath and was close to seven feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and wore bronze scale body armor that weighed about 5,000 shekels. He had bronze armor on his legs and hanging on his back was a bronze javelin. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed 600 shekels; and his shield bearer walked in front of him. Goliath stood and called out to the armies of Israel, “Why have you come out to make war? Am I not a Philistine and you Saul’s servants? Choose a man for yourselves to come down against me. If he’s able to fight and kill me, we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.” Goliath added, “I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me one man so that we can fight each other.” When Saul and his armies heard these words, they were troubled and full of fear. So for 40 days Goliath came forward, morning and evening, to challenge the armies of Israel with these same words.”
But on the 41st day of Goliath’s threat to Israel, David showed up. So that morning as David heard the same words from Goliath, his response was different. He asked the men who were standing by him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the shame from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” And when David was brought before the king, he said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of the giant. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” At the end of that day, a 17year old boy killed a trained warrior who had being fighting from his youth, and made the entire people of Phillistines servants to Israel. (1Samuel 17)
The lessons this story teaches about attitude are:
Lesson #1 – Fear (negative attitude)defeats
For 40 days King Saul and the army of Israel were defeated by fear. The height of the giant, his past war records and the words he uttered intimidated them. So for 40 days they endured his insult without fighting. But in one day, a young David saw the same giant, heard the same words, yet fought and killed the giant.
Lesson #2 – Confidence (positive attitude) empowers.
While the army of Israel was fearful, David was confident. They felt helpless and hopeless but he was bold and sure of God’s help. For he told the King, ““Let no man’s heart fail because of the giant. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Thus, in the same situation the army was weak, he was strong.
Lesson #3 – Success is an attitude.
Trouble reveals the inner person. That’s the reason Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” David had a stronger mental capacity than the army of Israel. He could perform under pressure without falling apart. Therefore, his inner attitude of mind gave him victory over the giant.
Attitude is Altitude
As I conclude, I will like you to remember this particular point: Fear and self doubt gives birth to an “I can’t” attitude that makes one weak in the presence of trouble. But confidence or self belief triggers the mind to figure out ways to solve a problem, and so gives you an “I can do” attitude. That’s the reason those who believe they can move mountains do, while those who believe they cannot don’t!