I believe many people feel that the road to success is a road they will never travel or so they think. These people believe that their lives don’t contain “success” with a capital ‘S’ let alone with a small ‘s’. It is my belief that life is full of many successes, small though most of them may be.
Let me illustrate my point. Some years ago, I was playing golf with my oldest daughter beau, Peter. He loved to play golf but was new to the game. On this particular day, he scored 44 for nine holes. But he was disappointed. I asked him what his best score for nine holes had been in the past. He said his score that day. Then I asked him how many pars he had scored in any one nine holes he had played before. Just one he replied. ‘How many did you have today’ was my next question. “Three”, came the reply. Next I asked how many times his score on a hole was better than mine. Three again was the reply. We talked about the birdie putts that he just missed.
Then I put these three questions to him. Did you play well? ‘Yes’. Have you improved? ‘Yes’. Did you achieve success? ‘Yes’. Peter then began to realise he was on the road less travelled-the road to success.
The moral to my little story is simple. Many of us only see success in terms of ‘Big Things’ and reaching that sort of success. They don’t realise that success is a journey not a destination. We all need to chart what we do. We need a set of goals, long, medium and short-term with an action plan for each with a time schedule.
Years ago, at a motivation seminar, the guest speaker told a short story which was designed to leave the listeners “hanging”. This is how the story went..
There was this tramp sitting in the gutter of a wealthy city and as he, the speaker, passed by he heard the tramp say as he pointed towards a new beautiful, white Mercedes sports car as it went flying by
“There, but for me, goes I!”
I wondered about the “moral” of the story for a moment or two and realised that the speaker was simply making the point to all assembled that each of us controls our destiny. We are the ones who decide how we react to life and what we get out of life. Many of us decide not to travel on the road to success and the road to success continues to be the road less travelled for many.
Let me pose you a question? Did you give up a goal or a desire today or last week or last month? Many of us do. We do this because we fail to understand that even before we give up we have already achieved much to get as far as we have. We often become what I call 95%ers I. e. we have done most of what is required to succeed. But we fail to come over the crest of the hill or to turn the corner and travel along the road to success. We break our journey and many of us fail to restart that journey again.
The other mistake we make is we believe that success is a destination. It is not! It is a journey whose “destinations” are stages in our lives.
There is an Australian motivational speaker named Joe Byrnes. He has had his fair share of failures in his life. But he uses a list of quotations to inspire him daily to continue his journey on that less travelled road. He adds a new inspirational quote to his “Success Journal” every day. I, too, have such book and each day I write a motivational message on the whiteboard in my classroom for my Maths students. It never ceases to amaze me that the motivational saying blends into my subconscious and comes forth in something I say to inspire my students.
Another speaker I have heard recommends a “Success Book”. Here you record your new successes e. g.
• I rode a bike today.
• I typed my first letter.
• I kicked my first left foot goal.
• I umpired my first grand final.
Goal setting is another way to put us on this journey. Using a diary to record my goals and their attainment is one way I kept myself on the road less travelled. For the last 30 years of my teaching career, I keep a working diary for all my activities. About 15 years before my retirement from fulltime teaching, I said to a colleague that I felt that particular year was rather flat in the way of achieving success. This disappointed me. So I decide to read through my diary and record what had actually occurred.
Boy, did I forget about a lot I had achieved that year. It was, in fact, a great year. I had achieved much. This brings me to the final point I would to make.
Many of us just drift along. But, if we look at what we have done there is much to be pleased about. Not all of us can create earth shattering events or the like. Much of the ordinary things impacts for the good of those around us. We need to realise that and do an audit of our lives.
And many of us will be surprised at how we come out in such an audit. You will truly see that you are on “the road less travelled”.