I have heard so many people saying they cannot succeed in a specific area because they do not have the necessary skills. Then there is a smaller group of people who think they cannot succeed in LIFE because they do not have ANY skill. My answer to both groups is – you can succeed ANYWHERE with hard work and determination. Before I can make my point clear, let me tell you the story of Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolf. I have heard her story when I was in college and since then this story has been a great source of motivation for me.
The Wilma Rudolf Story
Wilma Rudolf was born prematurely into a poor home in Tennessee, USA. She was 20th in 22 siblings. At age of our, she caught double pneumonia with scarlet fever, which left her paralyzed in both the legs. Her left leg was twisted as a result of paralysis and she had to wear a brace until she was nine. Doctors told her parent that she would never be able to walk again.
When she was a kid, her mother once asked her “Wilma, what do you want to be when you grow old”. She answered “I want to be the fastest woman on earth”. With moist eyes, her mother encouraged her to follow the dream. With tremendous determination and spirit, she removed her brace and started to walk. Doctors said it is a miracle of God that she is walking. At age of 13, she participated in her first race at school level and came last. She continued to come last on many more races to come.
At age of 15, she entered in the Tennessee state university and met her coach Ed Temple. She reiterated her dream to Ed – “I want to be the fastest woman on earth”. Ed answered – “With your spirit no one can stop you”. Ed decided to help her in the training.
Finally, Wilma participated in Rome Olympics of 1960. She did not come last this time. She won three gold medals, including in 100m. She finally became the fastest woman on earth.
Wilma Rudolf has overcome incredible odds to become a legend. Most of us do not face even portion of her hardship but then also we give up. We are becoming champions of “giving up”. This mind-set should be replaced with hard work and ‘never-die’ attitude. I have heard my fellow programmers saying they cannot succeed because they do not know a particular technology. Or a supervisor saying he is a bad supervisor because he does not have good communication skills. My belief is – ‘If you do not have an essential skill to become successful in a field, this does not mean you cannot succeed. It simply means you need to work even harder’.
The other important lesson is, even working hard does not guarantee immediate success. Wilma did not win the first race she participated; in fact she lost many races before becoming an Olympic champion. Success is a process not an event. In this process, you have to plan, work hard on your plan and be prepared for failures (sometimes series of failures). More often than not, you would find the successful people are the ones who did not turn away due to the failure or series of failures. These people realized that failures are part of the process. Failures are the staircase to the success, as long as you are taking lessons from the failures and being determined.
The success may not come easily for you. The mantra is – do not give up, do not let your determination to slip up. Every failure serves as a lesson and should make you more determined than ever.