Success starts from within
George Patton, in his 1944 speech to the 3rd Army, declared “America loves a winner, and will not tolerate a loser. . . Americans play to win.” Indeed, the American spirit has always been based on a desire not only to survive, but also to excel and succeed in every endeavor.
People’s appetite for success often leads them to associate with organizations that are successful, such as sports teams, churches, political movements, etc. People revel in the success of such organizations. It is dangerous, however, for one’s perception of self-worth to be dependent on the success of others.
Parents desperately want their children to enjoy success. In order for that to occur, it is important for parents and teachers to teach and model the characteristics demonstrated by successful people to the young adolescents that are so easily influenced by their actions.
Parents must insure that their children are exposed to mentors and role models who are successful and who clearly demonstrate the characteristics that made them successful. Hard work and determination, for example, are more easily demonstrated than described.
Most importantly, people who are successful generally maintain a positive attitude. Even under pressure, change, or unrealistic demands, they don’t allow themselves to become negative. Their positive attitude radiates like a bright light that fills a dark room. It is contagious, and it inspires others to join them in achieving common goals. They understand the words of Albert Schweitzer when he stated, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.”
The Bible, in Philippians 2:14-15, commands that we “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that no one can criticize you . . .” For those who genuinely want to be successful, there is no advice more sound.
Dr. Kenneth Varner serves as superintendent for Brewton City Schools.