It may not be the most suitable of analogies, however, I firmly believe that developing the resolve to seriously pursue our dreams can be likened to an art of war; and as in any war, the three factors that determine success are belief, strategy, and discipline. Whenever I make this statement at talks, I almost always get puzzled facial expressions. Please, allow me to explain
Wars are first won in the hearts and minds of men even before they step on the field of battle. Combatants don’t suddenly develop the belief that they will be victorious halfway through battle. To be victorious, they must step into battle with that belief already stamped on their hearts. It is this belief which in turn drives their actions to succeed and makes them victorious; in spite of the pain, challenges and distress. The same applies when it comes to going after our dreams; unless we first believe that it is possible, we would have lost the war even before we began the fight. Our beliefs, positive or negative, empowering or limiting, will always drive our actions and in turn produce the results we already expect to get – hence, success or failure.
As in war, achieving success demands facing “the opponent” and the opponents in this case are the challenges, difficulties, and setbacks that one will encounter en route to achieving one’s goals. Devising a successful strategy for success requires anticipating and developing a plan of action to address whatever potential challenges one may encounter. Many goals remain unachieved not because of the lack of will or intent, but because of the lack of action or strategy.
Like an exciting New Year resolution, the idea of achieving a goal often gives us an emotional high, all be it temporary. We immediately rush off to tackle the goal, riding on this buzz, without having put together a proper, well thought-out strategy. As soon as things get tough or a challenge “we did not anticipate” crops up, the buzz quickly goes away and we throw in the towel.
When creating a strategy for achieving our goals, we must give proper thought to factors such as – the nuts and bolts of HOW we are actually going to achieve the goal, what resources do we have and how will we obtain the resources we lack?, what potential challenges we may face, how are we able to overcome those challenges, what is our timeline for the goal, what is our “plan B” if plan A doesn’t work out, etc. It is by sitting down and painstakingly thinking through this process that you will be able to gauge your own level of commitment towards achieving the goal. If you are able to sit through this process and come up with a robust plan of action, then your chances of success are very high. However, if you catch yourself rushing through the process or unable to take the time to do create a proper plan, then you’ve got to question if you really, really want to accomplish this goal. Always remember, the better your level of preparedness the higher your chances of success. Remember the 5P Principle – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!
Finally, as with war, successfully accomplishing our goals requires discipline – the discipline to commit to do whatever we have to do, when we need to do it, in order to get the results we desire. Success requires work and work requires discipline. To quote Ogden Nash, “If you don’t want to work, then you have to work to earn enough money so that you don’t have to work.” Without the discipline to make the sacrifices and apply the effort required, our dreams will remain just that, dreams.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, in any war, it is the side that has a better strategy, resources, holds the unwavering belief that it will succeed and has committed heart and soul, that walks away victorious. The side less prepared is conquered. Which one will you be?