Years ago I helped a friend who was a Missionary in a Skid Row Rescue Mission in San Diego. I helped her off and on for about three years. My task consisted primarily of playing the piano for the Sunday evening services. About 100 men and women, most homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, and others considered dropouts in general, sat silently listening to the preaching after which they lined up to get a free meal. I was surprised to find during a discussion with them, that they were from all walks of life. Some were married, others not. Actually many were educated college graduates, others had resumed as successful businessmen and professionals. The thing they all had in common was that all of them had lost all hope; something happened that beat them down and conquered them. They had given up. Their excuses were along these lines: “My wife or husband walked out on me. I lost my job. I lost everything in the stock market or a bad real estate transaction. Familiar justifications included “Someone framed me or I’m a born loser”.
At the time, I was working as a Sales Director, and it amazed me at the similarity between the salespeople and those on skid row in terms of the excuses they had to justify their situation. Among sales agents excuses were: I don’t have the capital to get going if only I had a better car, I don’t have enough time, the market is off, my office is not in the best location, it’s my broker’s fault, I need better clothes… and the list goes on. In the winter it’s too cold or too wet and snowy. In summer it’s too hot and muggy or windy. Strangely enough one of the big ones was, “the cards are stacked against me”. Without exception, all just couldn’t get past some experience or problem so they threw in the towel and over time developed a case of “Excusitus” – the failure disease.
Then there are those who simply are unhappy with who they are and don’t think they deserve success. They are simply unhappy in their own skin. The tall want to be shorter, the shorter taller. The heavy want to thinner, the slim want to be curvier. The rich boy, born with a silver spoon in their mouth and Dad did everything for them, long to be able to start a business or a venture all on their own; the poor boy, born in poverty and living in the ghetto with little or nothing wish they had a Dad to do something for them to help. Fortunately, there is a law of compensation in the world that evens the odds. All any of us need to look inside ourselves, evaluate what we DO have – our talents, our abilities our opportunities and recognize that each of us, in our own way are as good as anyone else in God’s green earth. We have the innate God-given ability to become anything we want to be if we want it badly enough and are willing to “pay the price” in terms of time and effort to get there.
The pages of History shine brightly with the success of plain ordinary people who rose to greatness from the ashes of poverty and the depths of misfortune. They took inventory of their situation and then an inventory of their individual physical and mental assets and they looked for opportunities. They capitalized on their strengths, had great ideas, shared their passion with anyone who would listen, refused to take “no” for an answer, surrounded themselves with positive successful people, and went out to rise to incredible heights of success. Making excuses was not in their vocabulary and they didn’t wait for “something to happen, instead, they made things happen.
You can too – it’s up to You! Successful people approach life differently: When they fail, they get up, brush themselves off and get up one more time than they fall. When things didn’t go right they learned from every mistake and recognized that opportunity almost always swings on the hinges of adversity. They suffer loss but go on to profit. They understand that success is not always sure, but neither is failure final. So, they just keep on keeping on.
“We are who we are by the events of the past. But we can be whoever we want to be by how we choose to shape our future” James Dicks
This article was modified from an article originally written by Roberta Standen and posted to this site on 2008/06/12.