article is the first in a series of four articles for
the month of April. These are personal insights based
on observations and teachings from different resources.
This is designed to be a training series in which the
articles focus on a particular life skill to enhance reader's
approach to life and work. This particular series contains
material useful for new graduates but can also be applied
to those in ministry and other professions.
What You Really Want
the time of year once again when students everywhere put
on long robes and square hats and prepare to march in time
to solemn orchestra music. Graduation is upon many schools
these days, and whether it's for pre-kindergarten kids or
for five-year college students it will be a memorable experience.
One of the things that makes graduation so memorable is
the work required the achieve it. Any graduating student
can tell you that it is not an event that just happens.
The achievement of graduation is really a compounded effect
of a lot of little achievements during the school years.
Doing assignments, taking notes, developing study habits
and balancing it all with home and social life are all small
achievements that are realized day to day. In short, graduation
is the recognition of all those small disciplines and accomplishments.
As author John Maxwell puts it, "Your graduation didn't
happen today; it just showed up."
What most people don't realize is that the same principle
applies to every other kind of success or accomplishment
in life: Any success is the result of a lot of little achievements
that add up over time. Unfortunately, most people want success
the microwave method-easy and instant.
thing that most people don't realize is that the level of
success in any endeavor depends heavily upon the desire
of the person. While resources are always factors whether
success is realized, the desire of the person to accomplish
his or her goal is usually the main issue.
Everyone wants to achieve something. Even those who say
they don't want to achieve anything actually want to achieve
underachievement. Desire to achieve is everywhere; people
desire to amass wealth or gain knowledge or sculpt a physique-all
of which the world equates with success and achievement.
The difference maker in whether those people achieve or
fall short, however, is most often what they choose to do
with that desire. In general, people do five things with
their desire for success:
They settle for less. The word "mediocre" literally
means "halfway to the peak." It connotes only
making it to the middle, not going to the top or realizing
a goal. When we settle for mediocre we essentially say that
we want to go halfway and are satisfied with only staying
where we are. A standard of "halfway" may come
from people thinking that what they want is either too far
out of their reach or is too hard to attain. As a result
they settle for what they can get rather than what they
are capable of.
They dream and talk but never do. Bob Taylor, maker of Taylor
guitars, says, "Inspiration is easy. Implementation
is the hard part." People might read books and attend
seminars and talk about all the wonderful things they've
learned to do. However, the fact still remains that if they
don't do anything with their training and plans, they will
not make any progress.
They achieve but don't go beyond initial success. One-hit
wonders and single-book authors have successes early on
but then either cannot produce material of the same standard
or simply try to replicate what they did. People who use
their desire this way sometimes become so enamored with
their past successes that they cannot go anywhere else.
In order to keep achieving, one must learn from the past
and strive for going beyond what was previously reached.
They achieve consistently but without direction. Stephen
Covey puts it this way: "Management is efficiency in
climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether
the ladder is leaning against the right wall."
He goes on to describe these highly efficient, productive
managers like men cutting a path through a jungle with machetes.
They do the work quickly and get a lot of things done. Then
someone (the leader) climbs a tree, surveys the scene and
shouts to the managers, "WRONG JUNGLE!"
The managers all shout back "SHUT UP! WE'RE MAKING
If you want achievement that has significance and leaves
a legacy, strive for achievement with direction.
They know what they want to achieve and keep on achieving.
People in this category are making the best use of their
desire to achieve. They not only know what they want to
achieve, but they keep growing and are able to break new
ground. Their goals and life purpose are in step with each
other; every step they take is in the right direction.
achievement is striving for something greater than you for
people other than you that will leave a legacy that will
last longer than you. I invite you to join me for a three-part
journey in which we will explore how to achieve true achievement.
Graduating students may find this particularly eye-opening;
according to reports, there is life beyond the toga and
will be drawing on a story from the Bible as basis for the
rest of this series. Those of you with reservations are
encouraged to stay with me; after all, the most effective
management and self-improvement principles are directly
out of the Bible. In this series, we will be looking at
King Solomon, the richest man who ever lived and the greatest
king the world has ever seen. He accomplished what much
of the world called great achievements. However, early in
his career as king he was faced with a daunting task that,
if achieved, would fulfill the dreams of his father and
forefathers. Over the next three weeks, we will look at
how Solomon realized this great goal by looking at three
areas which he drew on. We'll look at:
1) His Vision-Solomon could only seize what he could see.
2) His Teachability-there's a reason no other ruler has
come close to his wisdom.
3) His Growth-throughout the entire process of accomplishing
his goal, he continually reached for more than what he had
you would like a head start on the story that will unfold,
read 1 Chronicles 28 and 29:1-9.
Check back next week for the next installment in the Achievement
a Mentor in John Maxwell
Place, Big Growth