“To get profit without risk, experience without danger, and reward without work, is as impossible as it is to live without being born” – A.P Crowthey
I am of the belief that human beings can achieve practically anything provided they believe that they will succeed, they commit themselves to the cause, they consistently apply themselves and finally they take 100% responsibility for their lives. The path to success is fraught with challenges and there will always be a million reasons why the dream cannot be accomplished.
The bigger the dream the greater the challenges, and while great challenges demand great sacrifices, they also provide great rewards. The difficulty is that many tend to remain transfixed on the setbacks, challenges and limitations until they eventually lose sight of their ultimate goal. Sometimes, we see the challenges even before we take the first step towards our goals and give up even before we begin.
However, pressing on despite our challenges or giving up because of them is a choice; and very often when you ask people why their goals never materialised, they cite the challenges, the problems, the people who never supported them, the lack of money, the lack of resources and networks, bad luck and so on as the reasons for their failures. They hardly ever look to themselves as the primary reason for the non-fulfilment of their dreams. Rather the problems were the cause of their failures. Challenges are part of life and are not going anywhere. They are meant to mould us because by overcoming them, we become better and it is only by becoming better can we achieve and become more. The sooner we wise up to this fact the quicker and the more effective our attempts at success will be.
Therefore, if challenges are an integral part of the human existence that none of us can erase away, by implication it means that anyone who has achieved any degree of success, large or small also experienced challenges. If they then succeeded despite those challenges, it then means that they must have made a conscious choice to press on and refuse to give up on their dreams, despite those challenges. Conversely, this also means that those that gave up when faced with challenges also made a choice to stop trying, just because it got too hard and things got too tough.
People sometimes give up on their dreams hoping on some level that over time someone somewhere will create another opportunity for them, the next attempt will get easier, the challenges will somehow go away, new opportunities will arise, there’s still time, someone somewhere will provide an answer to their problems, things will “miraculously” sort themselves out. Sometimes providence steps in and new opportunities arise, sometimes they don’t and people end up living a lifetime of regret. The only way of avoiding this is to accept 100% responsibility for our own lives, our own actions, the opportunities we create and the mistakes we make.
One of my most favourite quotes of all time comes from Ashley Montague, who says that “the deepest personal defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact become.”
To become what we are truly capable of becoming, we must take ownership and responsibility for our lives. No one else will do it for us. Success is always a matter of choice and never a matter of destiny.