I spoke to a prominent member of the church about getting a job in sales. He bluntly told me "You do not have a history of success". It was a "what the heck?" moment for me. What kind of history do you expect from a boy who has done nothing but serve God and his country? What kind of success would you be looking for that would relate to sales? I had no history of failure either.
I went on to do sales for just three years before finding my passion: computers. I love programming, hardware, computer architecture and language theory. I love the way we can (though often don't) use computers to improve our lives and enhance our performance. Computers are to the brain what acars are to our legs. At least they can be, but more about that in another post. By the age of 35 I had built a career in software development and was the technical director at Realyst. I don't say this to brag, but I say this to enforce the idea that anyone can come from nowhere and with enough work and focus on the goal, achieve amazing results.
The idea that you must have been successful in the past in order to be successful in the future is an utter lie! Anyone who tells you that you will fail because you have not yet succeeded is a liar and a fool! Do not listen to them: do your own thing and make it happen. Obviously you need to plan, set goals and take cognisance of facts, but do not let fear be your driver. Fear is there to warn us of possible problems and obstacles, not to paralyse us and prevent us from taking any action! When you have fear, identify the reason for your fear then start planning on ways to mitigate the risks that may or may not come to pass. Don't just stop because you are scared or some bigot told you that you're not good enough or not capable or "don't have a history of success"!
Today I work on the CVA desk of a large investment bank. Again, I do not tell you this to blow my own horn: I tell you this because this work that I do today is far removed from the town and circumstances I grew up in. I have come from a poor background in a third world country to working on the risk desk of one of the worlds top investment banks in the financial capital of the world. If I can do this, so can anybody else. I do not believe that there is much one person can do that another person can't. I would say that 99% of human performance and achievement can be achieved by 99% of the population. Unless you are physically or mentally handicapped, you can achieve pretty much anything.
The key to this is knowing how to achieve your goal. There are a couple of paths to take when attempting to achieve something great:
- Model your behaviour on that of someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve (if you want to see what Abraham saw, do what Abraham did, likewise, if you want to have what Richard Branson has, do what Richard Branson did)!
- When you are walking your own path (which is very seldom required) write down your plan and the steps you need to take, work the plan by taking the steps and notice whether you get the results you sought by taking the steps. If not, modify the plan.
Your history does not define your future. We are not animals or robots programmed to repeat the same mistakes every day: we are humans with a connection to the divine and freedom to choose our reaction between the time an event takes place and the time we react. We are free to plan our destiny and work to change our stars.
This is my mantra: "I am not my father, my grandfather, or who I was yesterday. Yesterdays' mistakes do not define me. No stochastic calculus can define my future: I am an outlier. I am ever-changing with infinite potential: he who judges my future achievements by my past makes a grave mistake as I am a learning, growing being with a spiritual connection to the infinite."
Now go out there and make it happen!