Adversity and Success

Adversity and Success: People with lots of resources don’t often achieve genuine success.  Success at anything is difficult and rare.  In fact success is rare because it’s difficult.  And it valuable because it’s rare. 


  • marketing speaker philadelphia rodney goldstonMost entrepreneurs don’t revolutionize an industry.  
  • Most sales people don’t land really big clients.
  • Most athletes don’t set world records.  
  • Most entertainers don’t achieve world wide notoriety   

Genuine success is simply to difficult. It always requires tremendous fortitude, and willingness to suffer through trials and tribulations.  People with lot’s of options see the barriers, think what’s the point, and walk away.  

On the flip side people living in tremendous adversity, the worlds underdogs, view the same barriers to success differently.  At some point they realize – ‘no one is coming to my rescue but me’.

Working hard and seeing it trough is their only option for a better tomorrow.  Fortitude, work ethic, and eventually success are birthed from their adversity.

Talent vs Skill

I don’t think that most people really get the whole talent vs skill argument.

Talent you have naturally.

Skill is developed by relentlessly laboring at your art.

Naturally talented people who lack good work ethic fade quickly…think Allen Inverson.  Contrast Iverson with Talent vs SkillMichael Jordan, who though naturally talented, lacked the skill to make his high school basketball team on the first go round.  So he practiced to augment his natural talent with the required skills.  As they say the rest is history.

Talent vs Skill: Example from a different Michael

Last week I watched a documentary called Michael Jackson: The Real Michael Jackson.  In it Michael discusses the day in day out consistent practice required of him and his brothers to make their act absolutely perfect.  All of the brothers were naturally talented, but they all acknowledge that without being driven by Joe Jackson to practice until perfect they would not have attained the level of success they did.

Here is an absolutely amazing video of Michael Jackson practicing his craft.

It’s possible to develop talent through skillful practice

You most likely look to your gene pool for an explanation of your talent or perceived lack there of.  The idea that talent is passed down from parents or grandparents whether it is musical or artistic skill, ability with numbers or being great at juggling is dominant thinking.

Talent vs Skill: The nature vs nurture argument

Doubtless there are significant genetic factors involved, but there are almost certainly environmental factors in the mix too. I believe the two work together, one boosting the other. Remarkable genes only spawn remarkable talent if the skills are suitably nurtured.

What I’m saying here is that where a person has no ability at all they can learn and earn their way to becoming talented, through practice, practice, practice.

Something to make you go…hmm! Hard work outworks talent when talent won’t work.

talent vs skill

Talent vs Skill: Interesting Reads

Seth Godin’s opinion

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers

Photo Credit: YellowGirl900508


The following from Jeff Bezos, founder of graduation speech at Princeton.

You have the following choices:

  • Let inertia be your guide, or follow your passions.
  • Follow dogma, or be original.
  • Choose a life of ease, or of service and adventure.
  • Wilt under criticism, or follow your convictions.  
  • Bluff when you’re wrong, or apologize.
  • Guard your heart against rejection, or act when you fall in love.
  • Play it safe, or be a little swashbuckling.
  • Be a cynic, or be a builder.
  • Be clever at the expense of others, or be kind.

Choose wisely for you are the decisions that you make.

Eat That Elephant – How To Accomplish Goals

How to accomplish goals

That elephant is the mammoth goal you set which seems impossible to accomplish.  It’s daunting. Weighs you down to think about it.

  • It’s the 5 inches I want to lose off my waist.How to accomplish goals
  • It’s the $1,000,000 in new sales you want to do this year.
  • It’s the 4.0 you want this semester
  • It’s the $100,000 in crowd funding you want to attract
  • It’s becoming a movie star
  • or just about any monumental goal you can think of

How to accomplish goals

To eat that elephant do 3 things

  1. Stop looking at it as a whole elephant.  You can’t eat an elephant…no one can.  Instead break the elephant down into small bite size chunks…yum!
  2. Automate those small chunks where possible.
  3. Never, never give up

How to view that elephant as bite sized chunks

Set large goals that challenge you, but not so large they paralyze you.  Break a large goal like, doing $1,000,000 in sales into small manageable easily measurable chunks.  For example: You could say I will meet with 10 new prospective clients each week.  I will do 5 proposals each week.  See measurable and attainable.

The power of automation

The idea here is to think less and act more.  Once you know the correct thing to do automate it.  If you put yourself in a position to think sometimes you’ll convince yourself not to do that thing you’ve already figured out is the right thing to do.

Example: Losing 5 inches on my waist will boil down to mostly small changes in my diet (at least I hope so).  What I already know: for best results eat within 3o minutes of waking (breakthefast), eat nuts,  low fat greek yogurt, and drinking lots of water everyday.  So I automate it.

Each week I buy ten 5 ounce cups of greek yogurt and stick them in the frige.  I keep large packs of walnuts on hand.  First thing I do when I wake up each morning: drink 16 ounces of cold water (yes I measure it), eat one 5 ounce cup of yogurt, and have a handful of walnuts as a snack about 2 hours later.

I’ve automated my first two meals of the day.  I don’t think about it. I just do it. No thinking allowed until lunch.  Look for ways to automate the small task (the chunks) that lead to the greater success (the elephant) you want.

Never giving up

This may sound over rated but the fact is most people simply give up to soon.  They don’t stick with their weight loss habits.  They tire of rejection so they stop making calls.

The most difficult part of anything is the start.  Once you get going don’t guit.  Find the necessary motivation to keep pushing forward.  Every step you take brings you closer to your goal.

Something to make you go…Hmm!

Early in life basket ball hall of famer Ervin Magic Johnson decided he wanted to go to the NBA (definite elephant).  To accomplish this he made a smaller goal to shot 100 free throws every day.  His neighbors tell stories of him as a kid shooting the free throws outside in rain and snow storms (commitment).

More insight and motivation on how to accomplish goals and eat elephants:

See It Through

7 Things Anyone Can Do To Be Successful

How To Achieve Any Goal

Photo Credit: bocavermelha-l.b. via Compfight cc

The Problem With Doing What You Want

The problem with doing what you want is is that the responsibility for commitment and execution is all on you.  There’s no one else to point the finger at for your situation.  Adam tried blaming God when he said “The woman you gave me…” see Genesis 3:12.

It’s the same for saying what you want.  The responsibility for your words are yours.  Words are like toothpaste…once they’re out you can’t put them back, so be careful.

Bart Simpson learned this lesson.