The first try is just to warm up.
Life is a steady flow of choices. I have made hundreds of thousands of decisions, with each one changing me just a bit. Most choices, at least individually, are of little consequence. Some of these “little” decisions, however, have had a significant impact on me when their cumulative effect is measured, such as eating sweets, smoking, drinking alcohol, watching television, and so on. And fate, of course, can lead me to danger with a simple decision to turn left instead of right.
What I get from life can largely be determined by the choices I make. My start in life and the nurturing and support I get as an infant, child and adolescent, of course, helped me to get a good start, or a bad one. But there are countless examples of people who have overcome great barriers to achieve greatness by almost any definition. More important, however, is every person’s opportunity to achieve success by his or her own definition.
How many times have we heard someone say, “I can do it” and watch them do just that? Why does this happen? What special power do we get when we state our goal so assertively? And why do some of us fail to do what we claimed we would do?
Saying my goal aloud does not make the difference, although I do place added pressure on myself when I tell others what I intend to do. Protecting my image, or at least my self-image, has a lot to do with that. But if I don’t want something badly enough I simply swallow my pride, admit defeat or rationalize, and move on, hoping no one else noticed.
Perseverance and determination are the keys. We can do just about anything as long as
we have enough time. Every spring I read about the octogenarian who has graduated
from college, or even high school. I see through television commercials or other media how people overcome severe physical handicaps to climb big mountains, run fast or far, operate computers and other complex equipment, write music or books, and so on. I hear about bank presidents who started out as tellers, jockeys who began as stable boys, baseball pitchers who finally get to the majors in their thirties, composers whose masterpiece wasn’t written until the end of their lives. There is no end to success stories. Special talent is not a prerequisite. Determination is. Perseverance is.
Some people somehow figure out how to “have it all,” but they are in the minority. But with focus and determination, more of us could get to the top, however we have defined it.
Nike’s advertising slogan tells us to “Just do it.” They know that we won’t always win; but they also know that we can’t win if we don’t try. And “Just do it” tells us to try.
What Nike doesn’t tell us is to keep trying. Because with determination and perseverance, we just might do it. This I believe.
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