What separates successful leaders from average ones? What is the secret behind the accomplishments of high achievers? While there are many things that can contribute to success, there is one thing that is sure to prevent it every single time. What is it? The absence of trying.
Sound overly simplistic? It may seem that way, but there is pure genius in this principle that is so obvious, yet often overlooked.
Every successful author, leader, inventor, and artist have at least one thing in common: they tried. They attempted something.
The great hockey legend Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” His point was that nothing great ever happens without effort. No author has accidentally written and published a great book. No artist has accidentally painted a masterpiece. It took effort. It took trying.
So what prevents us from trying and accomplishing great things?
- Lack of confidence. Fear of failure paralyzes us. If you’re going to be a great leader, and if you’re going to accomplish anything in life, you have to be willing to fail along the way. (John Maxwell wrote a great book on this subject called Failing Forward.) Every technique, venture, process, or idea you try is not going to work. The key is to learn from the ones that don’t, and constantly improve.
- Lack of inspiration. Weed “inspiration-killers” out of your life. Detach yourself as much as possible from the things that discourage and drain you. From where do your best ideas come? When do they come? What inspires you? Identify the things that bolster your faith and make you want to attempt great things, and then incorporate them into your weekly routine. I set aside specific times of prayer and Bible reading because those activities inspire me to attempt great things for God.
- Lack of energy. Even if you have the greatest ideas in the world, you need the energy to make them happen. What actions, habits, and environments give you energy? The larger amounts of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy you have, the greater your chances of success.
- Lack of persistence. Even with confidence, inspiration, and energy, you still need persistence to become successful. Don’t give up on your dreams. Just because something didn’t go as planned the first time doesn’t always mean it should be abandoned. As the old adage suggests: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Adapt, analyze, evaluate and keep trying. Thomas Edison understood the value of persistence. He is reported to have tried over 1,000 different elements before he found the one that made the light bulb work.
If you look back over your life, you will discover every great accomplishment was the result of trying something. Great lives are the result of great attempts.