Why Some People Succeed Against All Odds

“Every dream will be challenged!”

These powerful words from a mentor of mine have been burned in fire into my memory. Rarely, a dream or goal comes true easily and effortlessly, without delays, problems or hurdles. It is far more common, however, that you have to overcome many obstacles and suffer some pain before achieving any meaningful target.

And the bigger your dreams, the tougher your challenge, the more ambitious your goals, the more likely it is that you will face difficulties on your way towards it.

When this happens, what will you do? Will you just give up? Or will you persist and struggle and succeed?

A lot of that depends upon your attitude and experience. Some of it depends upon your skills and network. And a tiny bit depends upon luck or chance.

I was recently invited to contribute a chapter to a textbook on building an Internet business, and to share three things I wished I’d known when getting started. In the introduction to it, I wrote:

“The key to my success back then, lay more in the fact that I stuck to whatever I tried long enough for it to work!”

And it’s absolutely true. With little if any knowledge or experience about business, as a novice writer and marketer, the only thing that kept my entrepreneurial journey going was a stubborn unwillingness to give up.

The Bumpy Road…

Let’s say you set out on a holiday trip. You load up your car with all the gear you need to enjoy a lazy week-long vacation, plan your destination, and set out on the drive.

Halfway along your planned route, the road gets rough and bumpy. You’re driving along an unpaved path with potholes and pits, bushes and bramble scraping the side of your vehicle. It’s an uncomfortable ride, with a lot of jolting and bumping in your seat.

But unfortunately, this is the only way you can get to that lovely camping spot you remember fondly and love relaxing at.

What do you do?

You could change your plans, turn the car around, and go back home. Or drive back to the highway and go somewhere else, even if your heart is set on this holiday spot. Or you can curse and swear at the discomfort and keep on going.

Or you can count your blessings, be happy about having a vehicle to get you there, a path (even if a bad one) that leads to the place, and a map to direct you along the right route.

Plus, you really, really love that spot – and want to be there soon!

In fact, you want that so bad, you’re even willing to get down and hike the rest of the way if the car can’t make it through.

That journey is your life. And your business growth path. The vehicle is you. The driver is your attitude.

If the ‘driver’ is decisive and determined, he just won’t give up!

What Drives You?

The courage and persistence to keep going on, past hurdles and obstacles, is powered by purpose. Your purpose.

As a pediatric heart surgeon, I learn a lot from my little patients. They have been knocked down by crippling heart defects that limit their capacity in many ways. Some struggle to even breathe and eat because their overloaded hearts won’t take the strain.

But they are fighters. They won’t simply lie back and succumb. These tiny tots, some barely weeks or months old, will furiously struggle against the odds, go through major surgery (that’s the equivalent of being hit by a truck) and bounce back to life – playing and running around the hospital ward barely days later.

They have no choice. To give up is to die. And they are survivors.

Are you? What drives you to keep on going?

The answer to that question will lead you towards your powerful purpose. Any endeavor driven and fueled by purpose cannot fail.

Choosing Strategies

There are three filters through which you must pass any task, job or project you are called upon to do. It will help you decide if it will pass the ‘I won’t give up’ test.

1. Do Work That Matters

There have been many occasions in my medical career when, at two in the morning, I’ve stood at the operation table, bone-weary and exhausted, trying to staunch a bleeding artery or support a failing heart.

It would have been so much easier and convenient to simply go back to bed and sleep. But the stakes were too high. When a child’s life hangs in the balance, nothing else takes center stage. Everything else is placed on hold. And you simply do not give up.

When you find work that matters, giving up is not an option. So choose only the kind of work that matters. No, it does not have to necessarily be ‘life saving’ or ‘world changing’. But it should matter enough to you that you will not casually think of abandoning it when a distraction or obstacle crops up.

2. Do Work You Love

Each one of us has had this experience at some time in our life. We get involved in something, and forget the world around us. Maybe it’s a book, or a movie, or a game. Maybe it’s writing a story, or a poem, or a painting, or programming a project. Maybe it’s cooking or a hobby. You get so deeply involved with it, that suddenly you look up and discover with startled surprise that hours have slipped by in just minutes!

That happens when you do work that you really and truly love. Stuff that fascinates and engulfs you. That you’re passionate and excited about. And when you’re engaged in such work, you do not want to stop. Even when you’re tired or hungry or have other things to do, you stretch to try and keep doing it.

Find work that you love, and you won’t have to work another day of your life… you’ll just be having fun all the time!

3. Do Work You’re Good At

I’m not very good with numbers. Totting up figures and adding or multiplying them always gives me a headache. So every year, when tax time rolls around, I’m in a bad mood. (How about you? You like doing your taxes?! ­čśë )

Every minute wasted on this mandatory annual activity feels like I’m spending it in a dentist’s chair as he works with his drill on my cavity. But I can write for hours and not feel the strain. Or operate for eight hours straight and not even get tired. That’s because I’m good at those other things.

Do what you’re good at. Delegate or automate (or maybe even ignore) the other things that you can afford to, and you won’t ever run the risk of giving up. When you’re good at it, you don’t want to give up. Even difficulties become challenges to be conquered, not barriers to keep you down.

Coping Strategies

So you’ve carefully picked the kind of work to do – work that matters, that you’re passionate about, that you’re good at. Does this mean that everything will now automatically run smoothly and without trouble?

Of course not. You’ll have just the same kind of problems as you’ll have with any other kind of work or projects. The only difference – and it’s a big one – is that you’ll be better able to cope with the challenges.

Here are some approaches that will help:

1. Look for the flip side

In an excellent book of the same title, The Flipside, Adam J. Jackson shares dozens of stories of people who have been beaten down by life. Crippling accidents. Misfortunes of birth. Social, economic or political circumstance. Sheer bad luck. All of these conspired to break them and beat them down.

But did these heroes and heroines give up?

No, sir! They fought back by using a simple device that’s the focus of this book… they sought and found the flip side. The silver lining. The light at the end of the tunnel. The elusive ‘Golden Snitch’.

And that enriched their lives and powered their dreams along exciting and unimagined directions. They made even greater impact on their world than if they hadn’t faced those misfortunes at all.

When you look for the ‘hidden’ good behind all the ‘bad’ things that happen in your quest for success, the flip side will help you past any blocks and sustain your momentum and progress.

2. Focus on the goal

I was at a fund-raising seminar for non-profits when I first heard this story from an accountant who worked with NPOs. He said:

“Whenever I’m working on a non-profit’s accounts, I don’t see rows and columns of numbers. I see the smiling faces of the people we’re working to help!”

What a powerful way to frame the work you’re doing! By remaining focused on the outcome of everything you do, every day, in every way, you cannot help but be encouraged and inspired to keep on going.

When you pick your tasks carefully so that the work you do matters, keeping that ultimate goal in mind as you do it can be remarkably motivating. Why are you doing this? Where do you plan to go? What will happen when this is done? The answers will energize you.

3. Don’t see obstacles – See solutions

Too often, we tend to focus on the problems and difficulties along our path. Stop. Look for solutions.

Our mind tends to find whatever we are looking for. If we’re seeking out excuses to fail or to justify our decision not to push forward, we’ll find them – in the form of set backs, constraints and limitations. But if we obsess about finding a way past any of these restraints and breaking through to the level of success we set out in search of, then magically we discover these solutions.

During one of the worst periods of my online fund-raising, I was beset by problems from many different directions. Each one had the potential to destroy all I had worked hard to build over ten years. All of them happened simultaneously!

By choosing to focus on solutions instead of reveling in my troubles, I found them. Quickly I received help from different quarters. Barely three months later, everything was back on an even keel – in fact, slightly better than before.

4. Ask for help and support

We cannot live in splendid isolation – as attractive as that may sound! We need people around us, for many different reasons. And having more people in your circle is generally a good thing.

When you feel like giving up, ask for help. The challenges that are scaring you or threatening to break you are probably not as rare, unusual or even impossible to overcome as you once thought. You can tap into the collective experience and wisdom of people like you, who probably have even had difficulties like yours.

And people love to help others. Especially when they have faced and overcome a similar challenge. Just ask someone about simple things like how to get rid of your acne, or what to do when your cellphone gets soaked in water, and chances are you’ll get a flood of helpful responses. Having supportive people in your corner will help you keep going – until you catch your ‘second wind’ of inspiration and motivation from within.

5. Engage with passionate groups

Passion is contagious. You can’t hang around a passionate person without some of that positive energy rubbing off on you!

Being in a group of passionate people who are solving their own problems, living their dreams, and pursuing their mission in life can help tide you over any temporary set back. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with nay-sayers and pessimists who always see the worst possibilities can quickly dull your enthusiasm – and make it easier to simply give up. So choose your friends and network wisely.

I hope this short report is of some help in keeping you keep on. Remember this quote – it’s true: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win!”

The courage and persistence to keep going on, past hurdles and obstacles, is powered by purpose. Your purpose. Discover it. Tap into it. Achieve it.

Ultimately, that’s what success means – to you, and to me.

Dr. Mani

About Dr. Mani

Dr.Mani is actively engaged in spreading awareness about congenital heart disease (CHD) and fundraising to sponsor heart surgery for under-privileged children in India.

An ardent group of volunteers and donors have embraced this noble purpose that is bigger than any individual or group, and grown it into a global movement that has touched and saved the lives of 87 little children. You can help too. Learn how at http://www.DrMani.com

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  • You wrote this post in a moment I need it the most. Actually, I’m establishing new rules in my life to success and I can’t fake it, it’s really hard to achive.
    But by following simples steps and principles that already exist I hope it will be like a piece of cake.
    Best regards!

  • They have a 350 motor and you have that 4 cylinder..just that simple..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Highly motivational post this so thanks a lot for this as now I am pumped for lifetime and get to know that facts that

    “Winners never quit and quitter never wins”

    Again thanks a lot for this power booster sharing and please keep sharing such post as we all need this at regular interval of time.

  • The magic phrase for success is to love what you are doing, because only then you will be motivated to continue fight for success even in the hardest times

  • i really enjoy reading this.

  • What a motivating article doc (as always), anyone who are about to give up or eveb given up their ventures or lives will surely think twice after reading your inspirational post. Thank you Dr.Mani !

  • Dr. Mani,
    Thank you for this awesome post. It’s really encouraging. Most of us simply give-up whenever we face challenges in pursuit of our goals…which is really wrong because if you stop, it means you’re starting afresh…forgetting that there is no easy route to success, you must work out things. I had just posted one article to my blog about how not giving-up landed me in oil company. There I tried to narrate many obstacles which ordinarily would have discouraged me from forging ahead. The bottom line…it’s important we don’t give-up against all odds.
    Thank You!

  • I really enjoyed this encouraging article post. I really believe that something like this should be read on a daily basis for keeping the faith in your endeavor!

    Thanks for sharing!


  • This post is amazing. From the look of things, you seem like a motivational speaker and I like you for that. You got me motivated, up on my feet and ready to take action. What a blessing to have people like you submitting guest posts here. God bless my friend and fellow blogger that featured this post, God bless Dr. Mani.

  • What a great way to look at things! Don’t see obstacles, see solutions. That’s my new motto.

  • […] purpose by Dr Mani, a guest writer on Yaro Starak’s blog. You can read the article at “Why some people succeed against all the odds“.┬áDr Mani is a heart surgeon who also has an┬áinternet-based information business he uses to […]

  • EXCELLENT wake up call, great perspective on goal setting and following. Thank you for all that you do Dr. Mani. Your work means the world to many

  • Dr. Mani,

    Thank you so much for your article. It is very encouraging to those of us trying very hard to have have a successful web site.

    I do have one question. How do you deal with close family members that are totally negative and non-supportive. One cannot get rid of family. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    • Rita,

      Keep going despite negativities from your family. I can say this, because around 2 months ago, I was in the exact same situation as you. I had been persevering for more than 2 years, with very little to show for it. But I kept at it nonetheless, and things started to improve. When they got to saw it, they too turned around, and it was all the more sweeter because of that.

      Family always wants us to choose the safest, sanest option. Problem is, the safest and sanest option is not always the right option.

      Best of luck.

  • This was a great motivational post and so true… Thank-you

  • Thanks Dr. Mani for this awesome, inspirational post! Personally, I refuse to give up until I have achieved my goals in full, no matter how many times I get knocked down or how negative some people can be towards me.

    I totally agree that having contact with passionate people is infectious and can help tremendously in the pursuit of one’s goals. And I am blessed to be able to ask questions and get help and support from like-minded people who are on the same path as me, seeking to achieve the same goals.

  • Dr.Mani – Your post about “Why Some People Succeed” but the majority just give up is a wake up call to those internet marketers that are just looking for the quick buck.
    Someone like you who is dedicated to helping sick children is an inspiration to us all.
    I wish you every success that you undoubtedly deserve.

  • Love the energising article. Most work is just work though and we got to feed our families.

    If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

    Plan baby steps with target dates to reach the goal.

    Chase, chase, chase.

    If u fall off the band wagon get up on it again:

  • You hit the nail on the head with the remark about doing what you’re good at. Often, money is the principal driver, and many people will try and do things that they can’t do (or perhaps shouldn’t do?) in order to save a few pounds.

  • That’s hitting the bull’s eye in the middle. Staying in perspective and focusing on goals will lead to future rewards for the patient man. Thanks for the wake up call.

  • You are absolutely right. I remember when I first started doing marketing stuff online..it took me half a year to reach 1k/month profit. It was really hard. And now when I look back I do realize that I actually succeeded only due to great struggle with myself not to give up.

  • For me personally, my strategy is simply to be honest with myself. When I used to say ” I’ll be content to make this much money…” the truth is I wanted more. So, instead of placing a ‘happiness bar’ on my income, or placing a limit on my expectations, I now tell myself ” This would be good, but that would be even better”. Very inspirational readiing

  • This was such an inspirational post! I loved it! Everything you said here is true too. I remember when I first started in IM years ago. I tried to go into niches that were profitable but I didn’t care about. That was a big mistake. You have to do what you love. If you don’t do what you love, you will eventually burn out! It is so much easier to do things you get excited about!

  • Brilliant post and very well written!

  • Businesses can be limited by C level execs: skills and or attitude. Both can be limiting factors – but which is worse?

  • […] to Dr. Mani from entrepreneursjourney.com, ÔÇťToo often, we tend to focus on the problems and difficulties along our path. Stop. Look for […]

  • Sergio de boss

    There is something that worse than given up, that thing should not begin at all, to give up is bad, not beginning at all is worse.

  • This was a very inspirational article and I really needed to read this. It gives people hope and motivation to keep chasing their dreams. Thank you!

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