What does it take to be successful in the world today? Do your parents have to be well off? Does it take amazing luck?

I read a lot of biographies. And they all seem to agree on one clear fact. Other than the royal family in Britain, no one is born successful.

Show business, stock markets, sports, literature, all have their share of those who rose to the top from meager beginnings.

Success Is Not Always The Absence of Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” - Winston Churchill. Churchill was one of the biggest failures in history until rising to greatness in WWII.

So was Abraham Lincoln. Failed business and elections plagued him throughout his early career. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. Whatever you are— be a good one.”

Michael Jordon, arguably the greatest basketball player ever, was entrusted with the game winning shot 126 times and failed. Jordon said,

“I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. I can accept failure — everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

An unemployed woman named Joanne Rowling was living on welfare yet became billionaire J.K. Rowling within five short years.

Numerous publishers rejected the original Harry Potter book yet that one publisher took a chance on the unknown author and the rest is history.

Some Final Thoughts

When you buy stocks they usually include the warning that past performance is no indication of future benefit.

I would say that the opposite is true in life. A history of failure is not an indication that the lessons learned from those failures won’t eventually make that person successful.

When Thomas Edison was asked about inventing the incandescent light bulb he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

You can’t win the Lottery if you don’t buy a ticket and you can’t be successful in life without taking risks.

You have reached your current station in life by taking chances. You have learned, educated yourself enough to reach your current level of success.

So what’s next for you?

Is there any reason you can’t go higher? What’s keeping you from the next rung on the income, or success in your field, ladder?

More than likely it’s your own self-sabotage. Telling yourself that staying where you are is safer than risking loss to achieve more.

If you try to advance you’ll fail. The risk is just too much. Fear of loss is always more powerful than expectation of gain.

Sure glad Churchill, Lincoln, Jordon, Rowling and Edison didn’t feel that way.

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