Hardwork Is The Key To Success
With five Olympic gold medals in her trophy case, Bonnie Blair is one of the most decorated women athletes in Olympic history. When I was reading How to Be Like Women Athletes of lnfluence, I focused the entire chapter about Bonnie Blair. I even called her husband, speed skater Dave Cruikshank, over the phone, and he told me that the key to Bonnie's success was a passion to win.
"Bonnie has the ability to drop everything around her and focus on the task at hand," he explained. "Once she was on the line, nothing would rattle her. When you saw that burning intensity in her eyes, you knew she was ready to conquer. She was so intense that nothing else mattered."
One of the truly great role models of passionate living is the late, great basketball coach Jimmy Valvano – known simply to fans and friends as Jimmy V. It was a privilege to know Jimmy V and to interview him a few times on my radio show. I also shared the lectern with him at a couple of speaking engagement. He is remembered primarily as the coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the 1980s, and he amassed a career record of 346-212. After retiring from coaching, he worked in the broadcast booth at ABC and ESPN, where he was often paired with veteran commentator Dick Vitale. In June 1992, Jimmy's doctors diagnosed him with an aggressive form of bone cancer.
On March 4, 1993, Jimmy was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the inaugural ESPY Awards event. In his acceptance speech, Jimmy said, "To me, there are three things we all should do every day … Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears. Could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.''
Laughing, thinking, emotion – that's the passion of Jimmy V. That's the passion that powers all intensely focused people to achieve their dreams. In his book on the life of coach Jimmy Valvano, author and motivational writer Justin Spizman wrote about the success ingredient called passion:
Once you figure out the blueprint for your dream, it is vital to put your heart into it. No dream has ever become a reality without a strong belief system. Passion for your dream is like gas for your car. It makes it go. It powers it. Without it. your dream would be stranded ….
While a dream needs thought and passion to become a reality, without action behind the meticulous planning and a strong belief in your dream, you will have nothing. You can talk about it forever and the whole world can be excited about your passion for your dream, but without action, your dream will be nothing more than a noble thought on paper.
The great twentieth-century artist Pablo Picasso was once asked where his creative abilities came from. He replied, "Where do I get this power of creating and forming? I don't know. I have only one thought: work. I paint just as I breathe. When I work I relax: doing nothing or entertaining visitors makes me tired. It's still often three in the morning before I switch off my light." This kind of artistic passion is undoubtedly common to all great artists. As the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo once said, "Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish."
Is that the prayer of your soul? Do you truly and passionately desire to achieve something that seems beyond the reach of your abilities? Then you have the first and most important thing you need in order to focus on your dreams and achieve them. You have passion.
Harness the Passion!
I have a copy of Investor's Business Daily (IBD) delivered to the end of my driveway every morning. There is one feature in that publication that is must-reading for me – the "Leaders & Success" section. In that section, IBD digs into the lives and thoughts of great leaders to reveal the wellsprings of their success.
One writer who has contributed many of those pieces for IBD is Michael Mink. I have gotten to know Michael, and he has been my writing partner on a couple of books.
Over his career, Michael has written at least five hundred articles for IBD, and all of that research, interviewing, and writing he has done over the years has given him a depth of insight into the principles of authentic leadership and success, I once asked him, "Michael, based on all the study and writing you have done about great people in business, politics, the military, sports, and science, is there one common trait that you have observed in all high-achieving people?"
"Absolutely," he said without hesitation. "Every one of those people had an intense, even obsessive passion for what they did. Passion is the common denominator."
Carl Yastrzemski, the great Red Sox left fielder and first baseman, was an eighteen-time All-Star in his twenty-three-season career. He once described his passion for the game this way: "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day, and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it.''
The power of passion helps to keep you from veering off onto detours, rabbit trails, and dead-end streets. The person who is passionate about one great goal doesn't get distracted by five or ten lesser goals. A great passion keeps you single-mindedly focused on your most important dreams and goals. It helps to keep your energies channeled into the one thing you want more than anything else. To learn more, you can check out Hardwork Is The Key To Success.