Thursday, 21 August 2008

Bridge Builder, Pace Setter or Record Breaker?

How often do we come up against an issue or problem and immediately think,
"I can't do that"?

How often do we look to others to solve our problems because we feel inadequate?

Why do we think others find things easier than we do?

In reality, our insecurities and failure to identify our own strengths can be a real barrier to our success ... as can our fear of criticism of others if we fail.

But take heart! Just about all of the most successful people in every walk of life have made serious mistakes. In fact some of them even declare that they expect to make mistakes in order to succeed. Many of today's multi-millionaires have failed badly, to the point of bankruptcy. But their main strength is a failure to accept defeat when they are down. They learn from their mistakes, apply that knowledge and continue to strive for success.

Look at the competitors in the Beijing 2008 Olympic games. We see the victors, who have trained hours each day for many years to achieve their peak which enables them to take on the rest of the world and win.

But think also about those athletes who don't come in the top 3 positions ...
  • Do they see that as failure?
  • Does that make their efforts a waste of time?
I think you only need to listen to some of the interviews to realise that for many, simply making it to the Olympic games was their dream. Having competed, they are now spurred on to try even harder and improve their performance.

Think also of the bigger picture ...

  • National pride (such as the Afghan Taekwondo bronze medal winner who won his much troubled country's first ever Olympic medal)
  • Potential for improvement
  • Opportunity to learn from errors and improve
All oftese things have significant value; value which is key to future success, not just today's glory.

And for those medal winners (in some spectacular cases, previously unknown athletes) who have dedicated themselves to training and discipline; they have reaped rewards beyond their expectations. But they can't just stop here. The will need the same (possibly greater) focus and dedication to stay at the top of their sport until the decide to retire.

We may all have different goals, different reasons for doing things, different abilities and different strengths, but we all have the ability to try for somthing we currently find impossible and achieve it. The sub-4-minute mile was considered impossible until Roger Bannister achieved it. Interestingly, when that barrier had been overcome, many other athletes broke the same barrier within a short time after the original record had been set. Why was that? perhaps it was simply the fact that their targets had been re-set because of the achievement of one other person. The impossible had become possible.

So what are our targets? Do we want to be the pace setters or the followers? Both are important. We need to decide in our own mind and then head for that target, and in order to achieve that goal we may need to rethink about ourselves, what we are achieving and what we can achieve.

Pablo Picasso wrote, "I am always doing that which I can not do in order that I may learn how to do it"

Interestingly, Sir Kenneth Robinson also wrote, "Creativity suppressed either deserts or subverts."

Are we going to suppress our own abilitites through lack of self belief or fear of failure?

I hope not.

Until next time ...

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