We all have heard the stories of those special people that started life at the bottom of the ladder and yet somehow miraculously climbed from the bottom all the way to the top! It’s not only great to hear about those events, but it’s pretty inspirational, too. I mean, we know it’s tough to make it under good circumstances and yet some people overcome what seem to be insurmountable odds and gain such lofty heights despite those disadvantages. So how do they do it? The first thing that all those people do to get into the winner’s circle and become champions is that they have to become “real contenders”.
An Example Both Fictional and Real World
If you’re a movie buff, you probably love the ones about the guy or gal who overcomes all the odds. Remember “Rocky” the 1976 film (and then the 1979 and 1982 etc.)? Currently numbering 7 films in the series, they not only entertain but they really do make you think about an underdog who makes it to the top. Rocky may not be a real character, but the star, Sylvester Stallone is a real life “Rocky” all by himself. After all, he was basically an unknown in Hollywood when he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in a film that no one ever expected to be a success, let alone become a historic franchise about good ole’ Rocky Balboa and whose stories have grossed over $1.3 billion dollars worldwide over the past 40 years!
Stallone worked his rear end off against big odds and he became a real contender for the big prize by doing all the right things. Hard work, setting real goals, networking, planning, and re-evaluating plus not taking a lot of no’s for an answer. He believed in himself and no matter what you think about Stallone or the Rocky franchise, there is no denying what it has become. And becoming a contender and then winning the world championship (creating the “Rocky” franchise that is) makes his story so important and so very memorable.
Can Just Anyone Be a Contender?
The amazing thing about being a contender is that anyone who is breathing has the opportunity to contend. The matter is pretty simple. Every day you are alive you make decisions that can either put you on a road to contention or just continue to remain lost and not in the game at all. All that matters is whether or not you consciously choose to follow what is sometimes a difficult path and are willing see it through to completion to reach your goal. It’s not always easy and sometimes a little scary but necessary to get where you want to be. Just ask Sylvester Stallone.
When we wake up in the morning and make choices, it goes a long way in determining what kind of day we will have. Will it be a day of exploration, training, dedication, and expanding our horizons, fully productive, or will be a rest day, a day we take the easy way out and stop along the way and change direction at every breeze that blows by us? We make those choices ourselves and frankly most of the time we chose the path of least resistance and rest (not that we all don’t need rest days sometimes). That’s the reason that there are so few Rocky’s around and so many others who just never contend at all. Instead of going for the championship belt, they sit around and watch others compete, contend, and achieve their dreams and wonder why it isn’t them.
Why Do We Tend to Be So Damned Lazy?
I honestly never quite understood why so many people are content to tread water through life. I know people like that and I’m certain you do, too. You would just assume that at some point living in your comfort zone would become a complete bore and you’d actually want to step outside the lines and find out what life could really be like if you took a few risks, worked hard, and set yourself some real goals. But so many of us allow laziness to take over and we become content with sitting in front of our TV’s and make no attempt at self-improvement. You have to actually break a sweat if you want to be a real contender in life.
Ernest Hemingway, who during his life was a pretty good example of someone who contended and became a champion in his chosen field, once said this:
“There is nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man: True nobility is being superior to your former self!”
The point he was making is that you are here to improve yourself. Improve yourself, your circumstance, and the world itself if you can. And you actually can if you try.
Our Circumstances Are Just a Starting Point
It’s pretty easy to say that there are those among us who are born into terrible situations. For example, those in the so-called “third world” have little food, water, or any creature comforts like we do and often live in a hopeless situation. Despite that condition, many of those people overcome the odds and make a good life for themselves and even others, too, with a big effort. Their misfortune is that they were born into those circumstance and our fortune is having been born into our circumstances. We must realize that we are no better than they are and that being so fortunate doesn’t mean that we don’t have to make any effort to improve life because we just don’t have to work as nearly as hard as they do every day just to survive. It doesn’t take much to understand our responsibility in life is to try and improve ourselves and the world in some way, no matter what our original circumstances may have been.
Is Building Your Financial Wealth One of Your Goals in Life?
You may want to build yourself up and be a wealthy person and many of us spend all of our waking time doing just that. But if you stop and think about it, you can get there and you can also lose your wealth in a heartbeat, too. Easy come and easy go, as some say. There are wars, natural disasters, people die, and people make really bad money decisions and more. But if you develop goals like improving yourself and not just your finances, you can recover from anything that is a roadblock in your life. If we all spent each day concentrating on our own individual self-improvement potential, the financial goals you set will come to fulfill the financial goals you need and the world would be a much better place to live in.
Achieving Personal Goals is Not a Bad Thing!
Let me make this clear. Having the desire to pursue financial wealth isn’t a bad thing. However, to be a real contender in anything, you must develop the skills and abilities necessary to compete with those who are already at the top. But being an entrepreneurial champion isn’t solely dependent on being a quick thinker. You must be a leader, too.
Developing your leadership skills makes you an example to be followed. The skills you develop and build with “sweat equity” are meant to be shared with other people, hence the expression “pay it forward”. Others can learn by your example and when you lead you can achieve all of the goals you seek and not only master them, but you learn to master yourself as well.
If you are to become a real contender and an eventual champion, then you need to develop a better understanding of the world and more importantly of yourself and you need to share it. Once you establish your goals and begin to step out of your comfort zone and stop being lazy or contented, you can start the process of sweat and tears that is the requirement to achieve the goals that you want in your life.
One thing I have learned from my own life is this: no matter what, achieving your goals and living a life of excellence and improvement always takes sweat and tears and that’s something that will just never change. But it is worth every drop of sweat and every tear when you become a champion.
Where are you in the quest to be a “real contender”? In your life, do you dream big and act on it? Or are you “blowing in whatever direction the wind blows”? What advice can you give to others from your experiences that will help them contend and get on their road to being a champion, making life better for themselves, and for those around them?