Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
We all have the potential to be far greater than we even imagine. In fact, few of us even come close to reaching our optimal capacity. We can achieve most anything in life if we are willing to pay the price. Only our thoughts, desire, and work ethic limit us. While it is true that success may come easier for some people, we have to believe that anyone can achieve greatness if they are willing to work. Like Buck William's once said, "its not who jumps the highest-it's who wants it the most."
Think about what Spud Webb or Mogsy Bogues has accomplished. These guys are barely five feet tall and they started in the NBA, a league that is dominated by athletes who are in most cases pushing seven feet tall. Heck, Spud Webb won the NBA "slam dunk" contest competing against guys who were almost two feet taller them him. Is that incredible or what? These guys are living proof that ordinary people can achieve great things if they work hard. And they are just the tip of the iceberg. Professional sports, and every other field of endeavor for that matter, are full of individuals who have reached mind-boggling heights through persistence and hard work.
Think about Pete Rose. Pete Rose without question was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. What you may not know is that Rose never displayed any special physical aptitude for baseball. In fact, in comparison to major league ballplayers, his physical skills were considerably below average. Rex Bowen, the head scout for the Reds, once told me that if he was out scouting and ran across Rose, and he didn't know who he was, he wouldn't even consider drafting him. He told me that Rose had below average Major League speed, a terrible arm, and poor bat velocity. Yet Rose, became one of the greatest players of all time, setting numerous Major League hitting records in the process. How did he do it? He developed his abilities through assiduous practice. In other words, he worked his butt off that's how. Hard work and perseverance are incredibly powerful and effective assets if put to use.
Think about Michael Jordan for a second. There is no athlete that appears to be more gifted. He is a physiological marvel. In fact physically speaking he is an absolute genius. Lets be real few men who have walked the face of the earth could run and jump like Jordan, and no man has ever played the game of basketball better. Yet when Jordan was in high school he was cut from the basketball team not once, but twice because he wasn't good enough. What does that say about genetic superiority and natural ability? I will tell you what it says. You can have all the natural ability in the world, but if you are not willing to work at developing that ability you will never reach your full potential. Like Jordan if you want to be great or even good for that matter you have to work hard.
Think about all of this. Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read. Isaac Newton failed a number of times in grade school and high school. Walt Disney was fired as a newspaper reporter because he was not a "creative thinker." And did you know that he was also given a dishonorable discharge from the United States Marine Corps School? Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college and Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. Jim Plunkett was cut from his High School football team. Both Mike Tyson and Larry Holmes were defeated a number of times as amateurs. Curt Leslie lost the first eleven contests that he entered in powerlifting. Bill Russell was cut from both his Junior and Senior High School basketball teams when he was in the ninth grade. Roger Staubach was at best a mediocre football player in High School. O.J. Simpson was such a bad running back in Junior College that they made him a defensive tackle. And here's something that really boggles the mind. Sholly Mahn was completely paralyzed as a child, but went on to win two gold medals in the 1964 Olympics at the age of fifteen. There are literally thousands of people who have achieved greatness by overcoming failure and/or adversity. The world belongs to such people. As Martin Luther King said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge amid controversy."
Think about our former President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy seemed to have everything in his favor. He was a Harvard dropout (he gets points for that), a war hero, and of course the President of the most powerful country in the world. He was rich, handsome, articulate, and the most popular President since FDR.
Half way into his Presidency though he made a major mistake by authorizing the invasion of Cuba. As you are probably aware the invasion was a historic military and political disaster. Consequently, most of Kennedy's political advisors recommend that he either deny that he had major involvement in the invasion, or at very least not address the issue. Kennedy did just the opposite though.
He stood before the American people and said that the Bay of Pigs was an atrocity that should have never happened. Then he took total responsibility for the invasion. He said, "It was my decision to invade Cuba, it was my mistake, and I take full responsibility for this horrific blunder." He basically said, "I really screwed up big time on this one."
Surprisingly, at least to his political advisers, Kennedy's popularity actually increased after he took responsibility for the humiliating defeat. By taking responsibility for his mistake Kennedy empowered himself. Powerful people, successful people accept the necessity for taking risk in life and for being wrong now and then. It comes with the territory. They don't waste their time and energy trying to justify their mistakes; they spend their time correcting them. Nothing makes someone look more foolish or impotent than the inability to admit a mistake and take responsibility.
Now think about this:
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by his own fears, he is a slave;
He has forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free!
Yours in strength,
Dr. Judd Biasiotto