At the end of your career and life, you will not be defined so much by your failures or achievements, but by the opportunities to fail that you were determined to turn into successes. Those who know me will not be surprised to find that I believe we are all endowed with an innate desire not only to survive, but to thrive. You may ask, “If that is the case, why doesn’t everyone succeed?” I believe the answer is found in our response to challenges. Common sense tells us that if success was easy, we would all achieve it. The truth is, success is hard, but well worth the effort.
Do you know the difference between a roadblock and a speedbump? A roadblock is meant to stop you in your tracks; to keep you from going any further; to protect you from certain danger. The speedbump is intended to slow you down so you can maneuver carefully over or around an obstacle without doing damage on your way to a desired destination. I am convinced that many people get these two confused. Too many people see a speedbump and immediately change their destination.
Sometime ago, I began to examine and evaluate those who had achieved the pinnacle of success. Each of them at some point encountered what seemed to be insurmountable odds or roadblocks on the way to their goal. I am currently reading a book by Andy Andrews titled, The Little Things. In one chapter called, “The little things…like quitting”, Andy shares how a decision his father made to not allow Andy to quit at football through middle and high school engrained in him the desire to keep going when the going got tough. Andy goes on in that chapter to share the experience of having the manuscript for his book, The Traveler’s Gift turned down by every major publisher in the United States. In fact, Andy received so many rejections – fifty-one in all - that even those closest to him began to tell him it was time to move on. That was before he submitted it to the fifty-second publisher. You guessed it. They said yes! The Traveler’s Gift has now been translated into forty languages and has sold several million copies.
Now don’t get me wrong, some roadblocks are there for good reason. Often they become points of redirection in our lives. But before you redirect, make sure it is a roadblock. Just think about this list of famous failures who changed their lives and our world because they refused to see roadblocks and instead saw speedbumps: J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, etc…
Don’t ever let quitting be easy for you. The late motivational guru Zig Ziglar once said, “Competition is fierce the first 40 hours of the week, but drops off dramatically at the 41st hour.” Dare to go further, do more, and be more by choosing to see speedbumps instead of roadblocks.