Friday, September 16, 2011

On Achieving Extraordinary Success

Bonnie St. John, a professional speaker and Olympic medalist asked, How does a person achieve extraordinary success?” she gave an example taken from Ken Kragen, a major Hollywood agent, who took talented performers like Kenny Rogers, Travis Tritt, and Lionel Ritchie and made them superstars. His observations on what makes the difference between a star and a superstar might surprise you. Lots of people sing beautifully, work hard, and stay focused, yet still don’t make it to the top. According to Ken, author of Life is a Contact Sport, superstars are usually the people who get the most help. He taught his clients to cultivate help by making more contacts, sending more thank you notes, and just being nice. Being “helpable” is key to achieving your full potential.

The only way to achieve success is to partner with someone who has it. It is not enough to become successful without the “help” of another person. No one becomes successful on his or her own. As the famous saying goes, “Behind the success of every man is a woman” proves it without a doubt. Even the Lone Ranger has Tonto with him at all times. Thus, no one cannot and must claim success by himself or herself.

But what does the Bible speaks of experiencing “extraordinary success” for anyone who desires it? The Bible is filled with many examples of men and women who through the help of God experienced tremendous success. One that stands out is when God spoke to Joshua Himself and revealed to him what he needed to do to gain success. It was a needed boost as he was to replace Moses as the leader of Israel. And God said to Joshua, Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8, NIV) Joshua needed to do something consistently and with commitment, i.e., adhere to God’s Word.

However, it must be remembered that success can never be achieved overnight. Let me share to you a story I come cross: When James Garfield (later President of the U.S.) was principal of Hiram College in Ohio, a father asked him if the course of study could be simplified so that his son might be able to go through by a shorter route. "Certainly," Garfield replied. "But it all depends on what you want to make of your boy. When God wants to make an oak tree, He takes a hundred years. When He wants to make a squash he requires only two months. We are producing too many squashes and not enough oak trees in our day.” Success involves time factor and it can never be separated from achieving genuine success. Thus, the main ingredient of time that the Lord gave Joshua must be upheld to ensure attaining the result he wanted.

Having established clear parameters that the key to obtaining extraordinary success comes from faithful adherence to the Word of God, consideration of time and consistent commitment to do everything written in God’s Word, then we are guaranteed success. Just make sure that no matter what we see and feel, we will not be moved away from completing our desired goal. With God on our side, who can be against us? Remember that what God said He would do and He always fulfills what He says to the last point.

Thus, the point of the whole mater is this: let God be on our side. Also, let Him supply the right people and success, God’s way is guaranteed! Although, there is much opposition that may arise along the way, never look at them as hindrances but opportunities to improve what lies before you. Once the mindset is set-up this way, there is nothing that will impede your progress towards gaining extraordinary success. Nothing great was achieved without going through great things whether they are positive or negative things.

The principle that God gave Joshua more than 4,000 years ago is still relevant to our time today. If God holds the key, what will stop you from obtaining it for yourself especially when available? Just make sure you are ready to adhere to it wholeheartedly.

Let’s talk again!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Straining Towards the Goal

Here is the Apostle Paul’s ministry philosophy stated in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.“ (NIV)

What is your philosophy towards the future in fulfilling your life goals? As the 2010 Vancouver Games concluded, there were many things that I personally learned and experienced. Primarily, it has united a country towards one goal and purpose where many might see as trivial. Yet one way or another, the games has done more good than bad to this adopted country of mine. To this I say, I am proud to be Canadian. Furthermore, it provided an opportunity to appreciate its national anthem even more. It was sung many times over during these past two weeks than any other. It was an anthem of prayer for “God keep our land” and declared by many echoing in the different time zones and regions. Truly, something wonderful happened that the whole world noticed it.

Having such a perspective unifies purpose and goal that builds a nation and people. But most importantly, it builds an individual to pursue greater things as well. The Apostle Paul is such an individual that we can all emulate in our time. In this opportunity to host the world in these games, Canada adopted a call to all to “Own the Podium” program that many poked at being too serious. This is exactly an echo of what Paul declared for himself. And this was the reason why Canada broke the record for having the most number of gold medals earned by any host country and from all Winter Olympics in the past. This was the fruit of such declaration and intention.

One aspect that piqued my interest was in the area of Long Track Speed Skating Men’s Team Pursuit that produced gold against USA was “The Push.” Here’s the story behind it: Skating against the United States in the gold-medal race, the Canadian team brought out their secret weapon - a speed skating tactic called The Push, which was kept under wraps for three years in preparation for Vancouver. The Push, in which each skater gently nudges the teammate in front of him at key times to keep the group from losing momentum, helped down the United States by a mere 0.21 seconds. It was, as Canadian coach Marcel Lacroix would later describe, the difference maker. "It's very subtle, you don't really see it, but it was so effective today it was stupid," the coach said after the race. After the race, Makowsky described the strategy as a slight push coming out of each corner, where the front skater tends to lose momentum due to air resistance. The skaters drafting behind him provide momentum with the third skater pushing the second, and the second pushing the first. "It was something that we worked on. It really helped us today, especially in those last couple of laps when we were all getting tired," Makowsky said. "It's definitely not something you can pick up overnight, that's why we've been practising it."

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about and doing to pursue his goal and to attain the ultimate heavenly prize reserved for him by God. It cannot be attained overnight but must be practiced until it becomes a natural part of life. It should not be based on a theory but must be embedded in the mindset and actions. In order to reach the goal, nothing and no one should become a stumbling-block but a stepping-stone to propel you towards the prize. It is always a journey not an excursion. And only the persistent and disciplined prevails. The only difference between gold and silver was a mere 0.21 seconds but it was considered as the difference-maker of the game. They strained towards the finish line with all their might and the push worked in their favor.

Whatever you are facing right now, God is behind you with His own brand of ‘The Push” for us to receive our prize in heaven when the time comes.

Let’s talk again!