America may have talent, but that doesn’t mean it has success

Screen Shot 2013-05-15 at 9.22.29 PMOne thing I’ve noticed in watching all the reality TV shows, is that while there is no lack of talent in America, talent alone does not get you success. Desire is more important than reality (Baum 33). Remember Rocky? It’s the classic American tale – effort and persistence in the face of adversity is more important that raw talent. Of all the Rocky’s, I can’t say I loved Rocky VI the best, but I loved the line from it: It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up and keep getting up.

You should all know by now that writing down your goals is more effective than just thinking about them. The act of writing them down helps create a clear mental picture, involving more senses and brain activity – the act itself is also the accomplishment of a task (Baum 34). Baum (34) calls it a Desire Statement, and it should start: “I want to…” instead of “what’s realistic for me?” (Baum 33). Think of the difference in that statement – one has unlimited possibilities while the other pre-supposes a level of failure.

The success strategy is simple:

  1. Write a Desire Statement (tell me what you want, what you really really want).
  2. Write a Reward Statement – write down what you’ll GET for achieving your desire (Baum 38). Also, Anthony Robbins takes this a step further and says you should also write down what you’ll lose or not achieve by failing to follow through on your desires.
  3. Develop a personal action plan – a set of actionable items that will lead you to your goal. Actionable meant you can check them off. “Get fit,” is not actionable. “Join a fitness center,” or “order P90X” are actionable items, that you can also set deadlines for and check off when they are completed.
  4. Belief – this is the attitude check (Baum 38). If you don’t believe it, no one else will either – heck even if you DO believe it, many others still won’t – I love proving people wrong. From my high school counselor who told me I’d likely never make anything of myself and should aspire no higher than community college (remembered ya Brian when I earned my Masters) and my journalism teacher who said I wasn’t good enough to be a writer (hmm, 250 commercially published articles, a few books and a few chapters for books, plus some academic pubs later, maybe she will reconsider). However, I will confess that (a) I use comments like that as fuel, and (b) I likely wasn’t good enough – at the time. If I can take that criticism or commentary and use it wisely, I can evaluate where I may need to improve my skill set – and so can you.
  5. Pay the Price (Baum 38) – this is the hard one because it means you actually have to do the work to get the thing you want. I love the line from The Untouchables, when Sean Connery wants to test Kevin Costner’s committment to going after Al Capone: “What are you prepared to do?” Many of us dream big and even write them down and even write down actionable items, but then drop the ball on the actual work. The railroads, highways and airports in this country got built by people with hammers and nails; desire and belief by themselves equals failure.
  6. Value Linking (Baum 38) – we will explore this one more later but it essentially says that if you link your core values to your desire, you will have that internal drive to get through the tough times.
  7. Set the Mind (Baum 39) – there’s nothing more powerful than a made up mind. Think of the movie Apollo 13. What if Houston had said, “gee guys, we’ll try to get you back,” instead of Failure is not an option.

While we may think that guys like NFL quarterback Tom Brady are successful because of their talent, just remember that he was drafted 199th in the year 2000 and his predraft report said that he was of, poor build, skinny, and essentially too fragile for the NFL. We’ve seen plenty of Heisman trophy winners and first round draft picks that had the talent, but not the desire and the willingness to do the work. Want a reality check on talent vs desire? Do a keyword search: “First-Round QB Picks Who Were Busts”, or just click the link.

Baum, Kenneth, and Bob Andelman. Mind over Business: How to Unleash Your Business and Sales Success by Rewiring the Mind/body Connection. New York: Prentice Hall, 2012. Print.

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