Wednesday, December 1, 2010

3 D’s


Success is not a matter of luck or the result of being discovered, rather success is most often the result of hard work and a sheer refusal to give up on what you have.

Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, failed at every early attempt and went broke five times before he finally succeeded in manufacturing and marketing the early American motor car.

R H Macy, the founder of Macy’s Department Stores, started seven failed businesses before hitting it big on 34th Street in New York.

Harland David Sanders, also known as Colonel Sanders, founder of the famed Kentucky Fried Chicken, faced several critics and plenty of opportunity to quit and try something else. His famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before he finally found a restaurant who would accept it.

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4 years old and did not read until he was 7. His teachers and parents thought he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually he was expelled from school and was later in life refused admittance to college only to go on to win the Nobel Prize and change the face of modern physics.

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Then, as a young man he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Edison went on to make 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before he finally found a design that worked.

Winston Churchill struggled in school and even failed the sixth grade. Nonetheless he was determined to have a career in politics. However, for many years he continued to lose, in fact he lost every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister of England at the ripe old age of 62.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Military of the whole United States of America at one of its most critical moments of existence, was not at first successful in his military career. Early on he went to war as a captain and returned home with the rank of private. He went absolutely as low as you can go, but he didn’t stop there. He continued to fail in business after business and was defeated numerous times while running for office.

1832 – Ran for State Legislature – lost.
1832 – Applied for law school – couldn’t get accepted.
1836 – Had a total nervous breakdown and was bedridden 6 months
1838 – Ran for speaker of the house in his state – lost.
1840 – Sought to become elector in his state – lost.
1843 – Ran for Congress – lost.
1849 – Sought job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 – Ran for Senate of the US – lost
1856 – Sought the VP nomination of his party – got less than 100 votes.
1858 – Ran for US Senate again – again he lost
1860 – Elected as the 16th President of the United States of America.

All in all, Abraham Lincoln lost 8 elections, failed in business twice and had a complete nervous breakdown before succeeding to become one of the greatest presidents our country, and arguably any other country in the history of the world for that matter, has ever known.

I can go on, and on, and on with success story after success story, people from all walks of life, who endured hardship and criticism, difficulties, rejections and defeats, but who never quit, never changed focus, never gave up and eventually went on to build their dream.

People like Michael Jordan who knows the price of success.

Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team? But he didn’t let that setback or what others thought about him stop him from playing the game he loved and pursuing the dream he had. He said, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

What is he saying?

Don’t quit!
Don’t let disappointments dictate your life.
Don’t mistake dissatisfaction as direction.

For every one of these inspiring success stories, there are thousands perhaps millions of stories of people who have allowed rejection, loss, disappointment, hardship, criticism, failure or tragedy to send them down the road of permanent defeat. What will be your life’s story?

Sometimes it seems easier to quit. However, don’t abandon your dream in some attempt to succeed or somehow satisfy yourself. If you find yourself hating something or someone you once loved, perhaps what needs to change is in you, not around you.

The pressures of life are meant to mold us, not move us.

I once knew a man once who believed that God was speaking to him. This man had a wonderful family and a growing, prospering career. He was off a half day on Fridays, golfed on Saturdays, attended church with his young family each week and every year he volunteered a few days of his time to some mission endeavor. He seemed to everyone to have a great life.

However, the man was missing something. With all that he had, he was yet dissatisfied. Oh, he was not unhappy with his wife or children, job or church, but rather his house, or should I say – his yard. You see, this man wanted to have a beautifully landscaped and well manicured yard surrounding his home. Trouble was he was more motivated to have it than he was to work in it. Not that he completely abandoned his responsibilities, but after a few years of inconsistent care, he found himself less and less inspired and less and less happy with what he had.

I know this seems so trivial but it was not to this man. I heard his comments from time to time which grew to border on complaint, even though he was not the complaining sort. Some years later he told me that looking back on it, he could pinpoint where his real trouble began. He said that he had allowed himself to become obsessed with his desire to have this picture perfect yard. He started spending his free time reading up on and researching landscaping, and drawing diagrams of how he could completely redo his yard.

However, each time he would go outside and begin to measure or imagine a new layout, he would despair because something would just not fit or a tree was in the way, or he was going to have to break up concrete or move a sidewalk … after a while he just gave up on fixing the old and decided to look for a new.

He said that when he gave up on the old, his heart and mind changed, and from that time on, he came home every day and drove into his driveway with absolutely no appreciation for his home at all … he even developed a disdain for the house into which he and his wife had brought their first child and in which he had raised his three children all the way through elementary school. Anytime something in the house broke or needed any upkeep, it just added to the reasons why they needed to get rid of that old albatross hanging around their necks and get a new one.

Instead of looking for ways to improve what they once dreamed of owning, he now led his family in a downward spiral of depreciating acceptance that made the whole house feel wrong. Without realizing it, he had created discontent.

One day he found the perfect replacement. It was such a beautiful place, a large house on a huge lot, privacy fenced, and a welcoming entrance with a beautifully landscaped and well manicured yard. It promised such happiness and contentment – who could ever be dissatisfied with a dream like this?

Of course, as one would imagine, it was just a little more than they could afford. But, working and praying, re-working the numbers and searching for creative solutions, they were positive that God was in agreement when they finally found a way to work it out. This had to be God’s will … after all; they could never have managed it on their own. And, in fact – after a few months, they found it was hardly manageable at all.

It cost more than expected to furnish the house plus the added utilities, taxes, insurance and upkeep put them in a real financial bind. It was farther to work and school as well as the monthly bill for the lawn and pool services put them well over budget. Soon he was no longer off a half day on Friday, but rather worked late, and by the end of that first year he had to forego his Saturday golf game with the guys in favor of more time at work.

His wife decided to take a part time job which left the kids coming home to an empty house three days a week and by the second year the family barely found the time to make it to church. Things kind of went downhill from there until finally he found himself dissatisfied with life, family, finances and the future as he saw it. Following the same pattern, he knew what he wanted but was absent the motivation to work for it.

Have you ever been dissatisfied? If so you know what Steve felt.
In moments of dissatisfaction, especially holy dissatisfaction, people often make a critical mistake and pressure move them instead of mold them. In an attempt to fix the feeling they end up in creating a worse situation than they had before.

Don’t mistake dissatisfaction for direction.

Just because you get up in the morning, go through the day, or go to bed at night with dissatisfied, unhappy and obsessed with a remedy, does not mean that you have the right answer.

Often what needs to change are not the things around you but things inside of you.

Steve came to see me because he wanted to get his life back but, it was too late. He had made a critical mistake and realized that in an attempt to fix his feelings he had cost himself his fortune, his family and his future. His best memories were of his young family in their old house with the mediocre yard which he took care of himself. That old yard sure does look a lot different to him now than it did only a few years ago.

The pressures of life are meant to mold us, not move us.

Don’t abandon what God has given you trying to get what He has not.

Don’t take a temporary situation and create a permanent problem. The old might just be the new you have been looking for. You may not need to change what you are doing, but simply change how you are doing it. Most likely, if you spend as much quality time, thinking and working on improving what you have in your hand instead of trying to get your hands on something new, what you already have will far outperform and long outlast the new thing.

Where did I get this thought? It’s the very first lesson God teaches us about Him and how He processes life. Let’s look at the first words of the Bible. Turn to:

Genesis 1
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

Dream – Even after disappointment, dissatisfaction, failure …
God refused to abandon His first love, His first dream …
When you close your eyes, what do you see?
When you pray, what do you say?
Decide – God decided to take what He had, start where He was …
And reinvest in His dream & keep investing & keep investing …
Declare – Up until that moment, no one knew what God would do …
God spoke to seal His commitment and take His stand
There is no doubt now – God recycles dreams

God gives us life pursuits and He spends years preparing us for our greatest day. Take another look at what you have before you abandon the dream … The old might could become the new with a little work.