Everyone loves a winner. They are admired, loved and often handsomely rewarded for their success. But what makes a winner? Is it all about talent, good looks and the right connections? Or do you need something extra?
Every aspect of life today is competitive. Whether you’re trying to launch a business, get an education, sell your creative work or excel as an athlete or sports team, there’s competition to be the best.
So what determines whether you’ll succeed?
Michael Edwards was born in Cheltenham Gloucestershire in 1963. He became famous as ‘Eddie the Eagle’, the British ski jumper. Cheltenham is hardly the home of alpine sports, although there is a dry ski slope nearby.
What made Eddie famous wasn’t that he was any good, because he wasn’t. He finished in last place at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. But in his mind he had succeeded. He’d achieved his goal and become an Olympian.
Eddie funded himself through casual work, slept in his van and never ever doubted that he would be an Olympian. Everyone else did, but Eddie had an unswerving belief and sheer determination to achieve his goal. Eddie’s story was so compelling that it was made into a movie staring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman.
Ed Sheeran isn’t my kind of musician, but I was impressed when I saw him on a TV show recently.
The interviewer obviously was a fan, because she was fawning over him. She told him how amazing his music was, and that his talent obviously made him the success he is today.
He politely disagreed.
Not that he doesn’t believe he has talent, because he does believe it. But he also knows there are many others who are just as talented as he is. Some more so.
He said that he had written some good songs, but the reason he succeeded was because he worked hard and never gave up. He believed he would succeed. And he said the drive and determination were probably more important than talent. If talent is hidden no-one knows about it.
JK Rowling’s story is well documented. She was rejected by every publisher bar one. But she didn’t give up. She knew her stories about a boy wizard were good. She believed that if other people read them, they’d feel the same way. The rest, as they say, is history.
Roger Federer is a sporting icon who transcends tennis. But he left home as a youngster to become a tennis player. He often cried himself to sleep because he missed his parents and friends. But his desire to succeed was stronger than the desire to quit and return home.
David Gilmour, the guitarist with rock legends Pink Floyd, quit school to become a musician. His parents were horrified because he had a promising academic career ahead of him. But David threw it all away to go to London to busk and play the guitar.
For every Dave Gilmour, there are probably thousands who fail. Maybe that’s because they were not as good or maybe they weren’t as driven.
Here are four things to keep in mind when you next feel that maybe you’re not making the progress you want to;
1. TAKE ACTION
Decide what you want to do, and then take massive and consistent action to achieve it.
2. NEVER EVER TAKE ‘NO’ FOR AN ANSWER
You’ll get rejections. You’ll fail. But remember that failure is when you stop trying. So be stubborn and keep on trying, but think about point number 3.
3. BE FLEXIBLE
Sometimes you have to modify your ambitions. Maybe they are unrealistic because you don’t have the right mindset, skills or products. That’s why you also need to be flexible. Don’t slavishly follow a goal you can never achieve. But don’t give up too easily either! It’s a balance and you’ll learn through experience when to stick to your path or when to change tack.
4. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
Life is full of ups and downs. The ups are easy to ride. The downs can hit the stuffing out of you, if you let them. Understand that you can’t always control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you react to them. You can go into a negative spiral of feeling sorry for yourself. Or you can dust yourself off, take stock of the situation and take action again to move forward!
For every success story there are people who didn’t make it. Maybe they were not as good or as lucky.
That’s right, luck does play a part. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can get the break you need. How you handle that opportunity though is another matter.
One thing is certain though, talent alone isn’t enough to make you a winner. Drive and the determination are the keys to success.