“Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep what you want from ending, do it. Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open” – Pauline Kael
History reveals there have been a number of people who overcame insurmountable obstacles and setbacks to succeed. You might even be surprised to discover that many successful entrepreneurs are diagnosed with the developmental reading disorder dyslexia including well-known Virgin founder Richard Branson.
Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, cites Sally Shaywitz, a Yale neuroscientist and specialist in dyslexia, who says, “Dyslexics think differently. They are intuitive and excel at problem-solving, seeing the big picture and simplifying… They are poor rote reciters, but inspired visionaries”.
Dyslexics have to overcome enormous odds in order to succeed which represents their strong will to thrive. It is estimated that a number of leading international CEOs past and present are also dyslexic.
The human will is undeniably powerful. Once a stern commitment is made to carry through with a project or goal, there is very little to stop a person. You may have heard it said that the human will has the capacity to move any mountain. As long as one’s will is resolute and fuelled with the right intentions, a person can overcome anything on their road to victory. Will power then becomes man’s greatest ally for success.
Interestingly, in Malay the title of this article translates to the following passage, “when you want to do something, you will find a thousand ways possible to achieve it; but when you don’t want to do it, you will have a thousand excuses not to do it”. In this instance we see that will and intent are two powerful factors required to realise one’s goal.
The other necessary aspect is purpose and passion. Purpose may be defined as understanding one’s role within the cosmos. It is the ability to harness your skills, talents and genius and direct focussed attention to a pursuit which resonates with your deepest self. A purposeful vision becomes an extension of this faculty, since it coincides with a common goal that benefits humanity.
One might conclude that the union of a strong will and purpose creates a purposeful vision, clothed with honourable intentions. Many pioneers have achieved enormous success in spite of prevailing external circumstances. It was Albert Einstein who said that “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” – Mahatma Gandhi
To me vision is the foresight to envisage an outcome without external validation. It is the ability to venture into the unknown realm; an inner knowing beyond the call of reason. Irving Stone’s classical biographical novel, The Agony and The Ecstasy depicts Michelangelo having an undeniable vision to paint and sculpt masterpieces. He overcame numerous impediments which included the political agendas of the papacy intrusted into power at the time. A strong and clear vision, matched with a strong sense of purpose opens up many roads and avenues to achieve one’s goal.
Those who have vision will stop at nothing to see their project come to life. I’ve previously referred to visionary Tony Hseih’s commitment to build the largest and most successful online footwear retailer Zappos. The company was subsequently sold to Amazon for over $1 billion in recent years. Tony’s executive team were continually faced with obstacles and setbacks along the way to building a global business. The quote, “The bigger the goal, the harder the climb” rings true in this case.
Having established that purpose and will are vital ingredients toward success, the other factor which is a common thread which binds purpose and will is knowing your why? Your WHY? is the motivating force behind why you choose to pursue your goal. When the road ahead becomes challenging as it no doubt will, your why? is the inner reassurance which reminds you why you started your pursuit in the first place. Without a why? your project lacks passion and the endurance to sustain you in the long run.
I’ve mentioned this in previous articles that my personal why? is connected to witnessing my father struggle with health problems while he was alive. As my father developed type II diabetes during his later years, I sought to understand the mechanism underlying human illness. Many years later I would also undergo my own health crisis. My why? is a daily reminder why I choose to empower people with the message of health and self-empowerment. It is strongly tied to an emotional setting which is all too alive in my mind and body.
The final ingredient necessary for achieving success is determination. This faculty matched with will and purpose is strong enough to overcome any obstacle life presents you with. Your determination when powerfully connected to your why? becomes the ignition which flames the fire toward lasting success. Nothing can stop a person who is aligned with the blueprint outlined below. They have aligned with their purpose and through a strong determination they connect to their why? and are able to achieve unthinkable success.
Wilful Purpose + Determination (WHY?) = Inspired Success
Those with a strong will and purpose rise to reframe failure. They see it as an opportunity to draw closer to their goal. It becomes a signpost rather than a dead-end. The cause and effect model which many people subscribe to dictates that if a venture does not work, one should abandon it.
Yet there is something powerful about the person who labours on despite the obstacles life throws at them. I draw your attention once more to Thomas Edison having failed 1,000 times before finally creating the electric light bulb. When there is a strong will matched with a powerful vision, failure takes a backseat toward greatness.
I leave you with the following question to ponder: How can you reframe a current goal so as to infuse it with purpose, will and determination?