An agent once contacted a very famous singer, ” I would like to invite you to a concert here in New York. You would sing with Elvis Presley and many other famous singers.” The famous singer jumps on the other side of the phone and shouts, “I will accept with only one condition.” “What would that be?” asks the agent. “Well, I have always competed against Elvis Presley. I have never beaten him. I would like to beat him this time. I would like to make one dollar more than he is making for this concert. If you refuse, I won’t do it.”
The agent excitedly says, “That should be no problem.” A week after the concert the famous singer gets his paycheck. He gets a one dollar paycheck. Elvis Presley was doing the concert for charity and was making no money. Beware of competing against the wrong crowd.
-Told by Dr. Robert Gilbert.
Success is not about being better than someone else but rather about being our best in what we do. A competitive spirit could usually graduate into jealousy. Most times, we could perform below our best when we compete with the wrong crowd or we could develop inferiority complex or a low self esteem when another person’s success becomes our standard to measure success.
What if the lion thinks that making of cow milk is what success is, it would definitely try and try but never achieve success. We only need to learn from and be happy with/for those that have achieved success in their own areas and then we could apply the lessons to our own path. Success is personal and life would become easier and a lot better when we can understand that we run our own race and only seek for ways to be better than ourselves. Set your goals not limiting yourself based on what others could not achieve, you are unique and you can achieve your set goal even if no one ever did it. So, do not let history write your story. Only learn from history and rewrite history with your story. It doesn’t matter whether someone else has done it better than you, don’t be discouraged because its not how long it takes you that matters but whether you conquer your own mountain. Activate that success in you and bring your mountains down because your success is personal. The only person you must try to do better than is the person you were yesterday.
Check for areas in your life where you have felt inferior because of other people’s success or areas where you have limited yourself because of other people’s failure. Put in your best in all you do today.
Funny how true it is that “to hide anything from an African man, put it in a book”. It is clear, I mean very clear that the reasons we’ve gotten where we are as a nation today and even in our personal lives is due to the kind of information we carry. Have you set a destination for yourself? What information do you carry to get there? It’s what we know that determines how far we go.
We are not permitted to make same mistakes by previous generations because now we have easy access to enough information in the global world of today. We are in the best of times as well as the worst of times, it is best for those who seek knowledge and worst for those who ignore it. Great readers become great leaders. If you are not loaded, your head would become a load and you’d have nothing to offload. What if Jesus didn’t have enough of the Word to fight the devil? What if Bill gates didn’t have enough information to create Microsoft? What if, oh! Just what if? Develop a reading culture and seek for facts. I always wondered how people do not know how much you can gain from buying a book for just 200 naira. I have read quite a number of life transforming books and the information I gained are so priceless compared to the price paid for the book.
It’s true in life that you EARN more by applying the principles you’ve lEARNt. We see here that “what you learn determines what you earn”.
Show me the kind of books you read and I’d tell you where your life leads to, though, try not to be an information monger but rather be an information user. To acquire knowledge without application is like having a car and still trekking to work every day.
What you know determines how far you go. Success is just another word for well applied knowledge. To stand out from a crowd, you must first stand out in knowledge. To do more than others then there must be something you know more than the others. Charles Steinmetz, a great electrical engineer was once invited to repair in huge electrical generator in a company’s factory. After a few days of research with the generator, its electrical drawings, a paper and a pencil, He walked up to a dynamo and made a large “X” in chalk on the casing, and gave instructions to the technicians on what to do and the generator would work. Indeed when they followed the instructions, it worked. The manager was thrilled, and told him to send an invoice. The bill was for $1,000. The manger got furious and asked him to send his invoice. The manger received the invoice and it contained two items: $1 charge for marking the casing with an X; $999 for knowing where to put it. Indeed he got paid because of his knowledge.
Start now to buy books for personal development and for career development.
In my early days in secondary school, I used to answer English questions just the way I felt it rhymed in my ears, so I could pick just any answer even if I always spoke the sentence wrongly. So I picked my answers by chance and hoped it was correct. I got an English teacher later on who taught us that each question had a principle to answer it. For example for concords, a plural noun should be followed by a plural verb and I moved from a mere pass in English language to a distinction! when I wrote my Secondary School leaving Certificate examinations.
This is a similar scenario of how our life works today, life is not run by chance but by principles. To earn a distinction in life, you must be ready to learn how the system works. Some have given their lives in search of money and wealth but only very few have given their all for the search of the principles. Which is actually the real deal? Imagine a man that travelled all the way to Jerusalem in search of Solomon’s treasures but on getting to the door that separates him from the room of treasures, he gets there and starts turning the knob anti-clockwise. No matter how hard he tries, he would never enter that room except he understands the principle of turning that door knob clockwise to open it. Did you even imagine how much that man may have spent, all he would have done just to travel from where he was to get to that door? At the end of it all, only an important or rather simple principle as such separated him from his treasures. No great man today ever made it by accident, it was all a careful application of principles, there are so many books today, tapes and so much on the internet from which you can draw knowledge to guide you in getting the principles. There has never been a century armed with more information than ours. The sad story though is that a lot of us also ignore knowledge.
All our decisions in life must be based on principles. O! how I love the way Jesus dished out so many principles on the mountain and at the end of it all he said:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on a rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who builds his house on sand” – Mathew 7:24-26.
Seeking for the principles of how life works would surely put you on a solid foundation for life. Living a careless life would always result to nothing but a well principled life always results in great things. Seeking the principles involves asking right questions. The key to unlock the mysteries of life is to ask ‘questions’. One of such questions is for us to ask ourselves at every point in time is ‘What is expected of me?’ or ‘What should be the right thing for me to do now?’. When we know what is expected of us and we are willing to do that which is expected of us in every area of our lives then we are ready to achieve excellence.
Understanding and applying the principles would surely set you on the right foundation and make you outstanding in life. To excel in your education, seek the principles; to excel in your finance, seek the principles; to excel in your career, seek the principles. To excel in any area of your life at all, ask the right questions and seek the principles.