Success: A Worthy Destination
By Earl Nightingale
The stories of people achieving unusual success despite
all manner of handicaps never fail to capture our
attention. They're inspirational to be sure.
much more than that if we study them closely.
The boy whose legs were terribly burned and who was told
he'd be lucky to ever walk again becomes a champion
track star. The woman blind and deaf from infancy
becomes one of the most inspirational figures of the
And the poor children who rise to fame and
fortune have nearly become commonplace.
In this age of unprecedented immigration, we see
examples of people who start off in this world with
virtually nothing and within a surprisingly short time
have become wonderfully successful.
What sets these people apart, people with vast handicaps
such as not knowing the language, not knowing the right
people, not having any money?
What drives the boy with
the burned legs who becomes the champion runner or a
Helen Keller, blind and deaf who becomes one of the most
inspirational figures of our time?
The answer, if fully
understood, will bring you and me anything and
everything we truly want, and it's deceptively simple.
Perhaps it's too simple.
The people we've talked about here and the thousands
currently doing the same thing all over the world are in
possession of something the average person doesn't have.
They have goals.
They have a burning desire to succeed
despite all obstacles and handicaps. They know exactly
what they want; they think about it every day of their
It gets them up in the morning, and it keeps them
giving their very best all day long. It's the last thing
they think about before dropping off to sleep at night.
They have a vision of exactly what they want to do, and
that vision carries them over every obstacle.
This vision, this dream, this goal, invisible to all the
world except the person holding it, is responsible for
perhaps every great advance and achievement of
It's the underlying motive for just about
everything we see about us. Everything worthwhile
achieved by men and women is a dream come true, a goal
It's been said that what the mind can conceive
and believe, it can achieve.
It's the fine building where before there was an empty
lot or an old eyesore. It's the bridge spanning the bay.
It's landing on the moon.
And it's that little
convenience store in Midtown Manhattan. It's the lovely
home on a tree-shaded street and the young person
accepting the diploma. It's a low golf handicap and a
position reached in the world of business.
certain income attained or amount of money invested.
What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
We become what we think about. And when we're possessed
by an exciting goal, we reach it. That's why it's been
said, "Be choosy, therefore, of what you set your heart
upon. For if you want it strongly enough, you'll get
Americans can have anything they want.
The trouble is
they don't know what they want. Oh, they want little
things. They want a new car; they get it. They want a
new refrigerator; they get it. They want a new home and
they get it. The system never fails for them, but they
don't seem to understand that it is a system. Nor that
if it'll work for a refrigerator or a new car, it will
work for anything else they want very much, just as
Goals are the very basis of any success. It is in fact
the definition of success. The best definition of
success I've ever found goes like this,
"Success is the
progressive realization of a worthy goal." Or in some
cases the pursuit of a worthy "ideal." It's a beautiful
definition of success. It means that anyone who's on
course toward the fulfillment of a goal is successful.
Now, success doesn't lie in the achievement of a goal,
although that's what the world considers success; it
lies in the journey toward the goal.
We're successful as
long as we're working toward something we want to bring
about in our lives. That's when the human being is at
his or her best.
That's what Cervantes meant when he
wrote, "The road is better than the inn." We're at our
best when we're climbing, thinking, planning, working.
When we're on the road toward something we want to bring
With our definition, success being the progressive
realization of a worthy goal, we cover all the bases.
The young person working to finish school is as
successful as any person on earth. The person working
toward a particular position with his or her company is
just as successful.
If you have a goal that you find worthy of you as a
person, a goal that fills you with joy at the thought of
it, believe me, you'll reach it.
But as you draw near
and see that the goal will soon be achieved, begin to
think ahead to the next goal you're going to set.
often happens that a writer halfway through a book will
hit upon the idea for his next one and begin making
notes or ideas for a title even while he's finishing
work on the one in progress. That's the way it should
It's estimated that about 5% of the population achieves
unusual success. For the rest, average seems to be good
enough. Most seem to just drift along, taking
circumstances as they come, and perhaps hoping from time
to time that things will get better.
I like to compare human beings with ships, as Carlyle
used to do. It's estimated that about 95 percent can be
compared to ships without rudders, subject to every
shift of wind and tide.
They're helplessly adrift, and
while they fondly hope that they will one day drift into
some rich and bustling port, for every narrow harbor
entrance, there are 1,000 miles of rocky coastline.
The chances of their drifting into port are 1,000 to 1
against them. Our state lottery is a tax on such people.
So are the slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Someone wins from time to time to be sure, but the odds
are still there ... stacked steeply against them.
But the 5 percent who have taken the time and exercised
the discipline to climb into the driver's seat of their
lives, who've decided upon a challenging goal to reach
and have fully committed themselves to reaching it, sail
straight and far across the deep oceans of life,
reaching one port after another and accomplishing more
in just a few years than the rest accomplish in a
If you should visit a ship in port and ask the captain
for his next port of call, he'll tell you in a single
sentence. Even though the captain cannot see his port,
his destination for fully 99% of the voyage, he knows
And then, barring an unforeseen and highly
unlikely catastrophe, he'll reach it. If someone asks
you for your next port of call, your goal, could you
Is your goal clean and concise in your mind?
Do you have
it written down?
It's a good idea. We need reminding,
reinforcement. If you can get a picture of your goal and
stick it to your bathroom mirror, it's an excellent idea
to do so.
Thousands of successful people carry their
goals written on a card in their wallets or purses.
When you ask people what they're working for, chances
are they'll answer in vague generalities. They might
say, "Oh, good health or happiness or lots of money."
That's not good enough. Good health should be a
We all want that, and do our best to
achieve and maintain it.
Happiness is a byproduct of something else. And lots of
money is much too vague. It might work, but I think it's
better to choose a particular sum of money.
the clearer our goal is defined, the more real it
becomes to us, and before long, the more attainable.
Happiness comes from the direction in which we're
Children are happier on Christmas morning before opening
their presents than they are Christmas afternoon. No
matter how wonderful their presents may be, it's after
They'll enjoy their gifts, to be sure, but we
often find them querulous and irritable Christmas
afternoon. We're happier on our way out to dinner than
we are on the way home.
We're happier going on vacation
than we are coming home from it. And we're happier
moving toward our goals than even after they've been
accomplished, believe it or not.
Life plays no favorites. Yet of one thing you may be
sure, you will become what you think about. If your
thinking is circular and chaotic, your life will reflect
But if your thinking is orderly and clear,
if you have a goal that's important for you to reach,
then reach it you will.
One goal at a time. That's important.
That's where most
people unwittingly make their mistake. They don't
concentrate on a single goal long enough to reach it
before they're off on another track, then another, with
the result that they achieve nothing.
confusion and excuses.
By thinking every morning, every night, and as many
times during the day as you can about this exciting
single goal you've established for yourself, you
actually begin moving toward it and bringing it toward
When you concentrate your thinking, it's like
taking a river that's twisting and turning and
meandering all over the countryside and putting it into
a straight, smooth channel.
Now it has power, direction,
So decide upon your goal. Insist upon it. Demand it!
Look at your
goal card every morning and night and as
many times during the day as you conveniently can. By so
doing, you will insinuate your goal into your
You'll see yourself as having already
attained your goal, and do that every day without fail,
and it will become a habit before you realize it.
habit that will take you from one success to another all
the years of your life. For that is the secret of
success, the door to everything you will ever have or
You are now and you most certainly will become
you think about.
I hope you enjoyed this article and use the ideas it
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