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FIRST-PERSON: The success factor

DALLAS (BP)–From my perspective, long-term success is the only way you can really measure success.

Occasionally, a heroic act by an individual may make him or her a professional success. For example, Colin Kelly sacrificed his life at the beginning of World War II to sink a Japanese war ship and save the lives of countless Americans. Colin Kelly’s character made his sacrifice possible, and that’s the kind of character you will always find in truly successful people.

Without character there is no trust. Successful people are men and women of integrity. They do the right thing, which means they are trusted and they have no guilt to deal with. With integrity they have nothing to fear because there is nothing to hide.

Another quality I attribute to people who are long-term successes is the quality of faith. There comes a time is every person’s life — and in most cases it happens many times — when he or she encounters difficulties or problems for which there are no human answers. This is where faith in God is critically important. Faith in Jesus Christ has made a big difference in all facets of my life.

Other qualities that are important are pure, dogged persistence and overwhelming desire. According to The Executive Speechwriter Newsletter (vol. 12, no. 3), “Desire kept young W. Clement Stone on Chicago’s street corners selling newspapers. Desire later made him one of the wealthiest people in America as principal owner of Combined Insurance Corporation of America.

“Desire made Jim Marshall one of the most indestructible players in professional football. Marshall started 282 consecutive games and played defensive end until he was forty-two. Teammate Fran Tarkenton once described Marshall as ‘the most amazing athlete to play in any sport.’

“Desire energized John Havlicek, to earn the nickname ‘Mr. Perpetual Motion.’ As a player for the Boston Celtics, Havlicek gave 200 percent every game for 16 straight seasons. Hustle, leadership, and guts made Havlicek a player by which others were measured. People with desire work harder, are passionate about their goals, and are driven by an intense thirst to be better.”

It is also essential to believe that what you are doing with your life makes a difference in the lives of others. Our corporate mission statement is to be the difference-maker in the personal, family, professional and spiritual lives of enough people to make a positive difference in the world. I recognize it is a presumptuous mission statement, but with the advent of modern technology, we can communicate in ways never dreamed of just a few years ago. I get a substantial amount of mail from people who tell me that our concepts have made a positive difference in their lives.

I hasten to add that if you are staying home full-time to raise your children, you are most definitely making a difference in the lives of others.

The long-term success of our country depends on the difference you make in the lives of your children. An article in the October 1999 issue of Readers Digest states: “According to the U.S. Department of Education, two out of three high-schoolers won’t make it to college if they belong to a single-parent household, have an older sibling who dropped out of high school, repeat a grade, change schools more than twice or have lower than average grades.”

The obvious solution to helping your children be all they can be is to offer them a secure home life with both parents, pay close attention to how they are doing in school, and do what it takes to see that they always make the grades they need to make. In fact, everyone’s potential for long-term success starts at home.
Zig Ziglar is a Dallas-based motivational speaker and author and a member of Prestonwood Baptist Church. Used by permission from his new book, “Zig Ziglar’s Life Lifters,” from Broadman & Holman Publishers, the trade books arm of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  • Zig Ziglar