Sunday, September 7, 2008

Anyone Looking to Succeed, I Recommend You See this...

I feel as though many people who are looking to succeed face a constant up hill battle. A battle where results are often not obtained instantly. Family, friends, etc. may often hint at disappointment due to the lack of instant results while such entrepreneurs (business executives or dreamers) are trying to figure out a way to make it happen.

What I am about to share with you is a true story and should help everyone who hasn't seen instant results. Besides from helping your own personal psyche, I hope this provides you with a nice rebuttal when someone asks you "so have you made any money yet?"

"The Stockdale Paradox"

(Good to Great, by Jim Collins)

"The name refers to Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was the highest ranking United States military officer in the "Hanoi Hilton" prisoner-of-war camp during the height of the Vietnam War. Tortured over twenty times during his 8-year imprisonment from 1965-1973, Stockdale lived out the war without any prisoner's rights, no set release, and no certainty as to whether he would even survive to see his family again. He shouldered the burden of command, doing everything he could to create conditions that would increase the number of prisoners who would survive unbroken..." Having no idea when he'd be rescued, he did many things. One in particular, he said, "I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect I would not trade."

Collins was able to interview Stockdale and at the very end of the interview, he asked: "Who didn't make it out?"

Stockdale: "The Optimists."

Collins: "The optimists? I don't understand given what he said a hundred meters earlier."

Stockdale: "The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas. Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."
"This is a very important lesson," Stockdale says, "You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end-- which you can never afford to lose-- with the discipline to confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

Collins says, "To this day, I carry a mental image of Stockdale admonishing the optimists: "We're not getting out by Christmas; deal with it!"

"Life is unfair- sometimes to our advantage, sometimes to our disadvantage. We will all experience disappointments and crushing events somewhere along the way, setbacks for which there is no "reason," no one to blame. It might be disease: it might be injury; it might be accident; it might be losing a loved might be getting shot down over Vietnam and thrown into a POW camp for eight years. What separates people, is not the presence or absence of difficulty, but how they deal with the inevitable difficulties of life." (pgs.85-87)

-Make Miracles Happen

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