“Freedom lies in being bold.” Robert Frost
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” Beverly Sills
The great Greek philosopher Plato believed one of the greatest virtues is courage. Although many others such as love, tolerance, justice, knowledge and humility are equally so, there is no argument to dispute the importance of courage. Under certain conditions, many of the other virtues need courage to prevail. In fact, the virtue of excellence which is the key to success often requires courage. In the movie, “Eddie The Eagle,” courage and the pursuit of success is displayed in its finest form. Without giving too much away, the movie tells the story of an unwavering, young man, Mr. Edwards, who defined success on his own terms. Many obstacles were put in his path, but he was not deterred. His grit, determination and enthusiasm persevered which helped him beat the odds toward his defined victory of success.
What else did Mr. Edwards have in order to succeed? He had the confidence to define his vision of success in spite of anyone who attempted to halt him, and he designed his life to pursue this quest. He is in the company of great historical and contemporary figures. Mary Anne Evans a.k.a. George Eliot disguised herself as a man in 19th century England to succeed in getting her masterpiece, Middlemarch, published. After being rejected for emphasizing his talent around gospel singing, the great Johnny Cash persisted in getting a producer’s attention by re-inventing himself with an early rockabilly style. The founders of Google and other startups were rejected several times pitching their ideas to established companies and venture capitalists. There are so many examples which we hear little about. All of these people were able to defy rejection, sometimes over and over, and to continue pursuing success often in the face of ridicule.
When we talk about confidence, there are multiple sources. The most important is how we communicate with others as well as how we present ourselves to the world. In order to succeed, you must remain positive no matter how much negativity the environment yields. Maintaining a positive attitude allows you to feel lighter and remain open to the possibilities. No matter how hard you might work, there are never guarantees but you will never know unless you try and try again. Some people have natural talents and abilities, yet those who do not may have something greater, the will. Effective communication, perseverance and hard work can mold someone into something beyond their or anyone else’s wildest dreams.
If you are like Mr. Edwards, Ms. Evans and others, you will face multiple rejections. You must prepare yourself not only for this probability but for the follow through. As soon as the moment of dismissal occurs, it is over, passe, and the only thought to be given is how you might learn from it going forward. Scarlett O’Hara’s famous response to Rhett Butler’s departure in Gone With The Wind “there is always tomorrow” has great merit. If need be, you must practice stating that line or something which resonates with you. By doing so, you will exercise your mighty brain into developing a healthy, positive habit eventually expressing yourself without any evidence of feeling defeated. In fact, by projecting an image of infallibility, more doors could open. Remember, no matter how unique, everyone has the capacity if they persist. It is up to each and every one of us to be brave, stay steady and hold the bar high.
As I began writing this article, something interesting occurred being someone who believes there are no coincidences. A few days ago, after writing my first paragraph, I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal indicating some highly anticipated, nonfiction books to be released this spring. One is called Grit. The title intrigued me because I had just used the word in my description of Mr. Edwards. Reading the synopsis, the book is about research around this very subject matter. The author was repeatedly told by her father she would never amount to anything. In response, she did the very opposite and has done research on the subject matter of perseverance and resilience. I cannot wait to read this timely book. In the meantime, I will continue my journey of achieving and pursuing as I highly encourage those of you who are like minded to do the same.