I’ve been listening to a motivational video since a friend posted a link to it. It is advice of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who rose to prominence through body building, with an unlikely accent began a career as an actor and then later was elected governor of California.
What he said resonates with me. I know enough of his story to appreciate the ethic of hard work, confidence, need to overcome fear of failure, to break rules, to ignore naysayers and pursue visions. We limit ourselves. The truth is that I limit myself and it is because I doubt my chances for success.
Had Schwarzenegger thought like I do sometimes could he have accomplished what he has?
No, probably not…
I am a driven and determined guy. I dream of the impossible. I hope for the impossible and I believe the impossible is possible by the grace of God. For some faith is an excuse for them to sit on their hands and do nothing. But for me faith means full investment in the visions that God has put on my heart. There can be no compromise with those who tempt you to quit.
I have encountered the naysayers, they are many, and they will try to turn you from what is best. For your good, they claim, you should settle for less and seek the compromise. They will recount their own failure as reason, cite facts and present logics, but do not let their faithless words take away your courage. Fight for what is right and good because you trust that God is right and good and is on the side of those who pursue righteousness and goodness. Do not listen to the naysayers.
I have my own anxieties. I too often have made excuses for myself and can too easily withhold my best effort with a fatalistic attitude. Yet, when we do not put forward our best efforts because of fear, can we blame anyone other than ourselves for our own failure? It is a lie to blame God or fate for our own failure unless we have truly invested our all. Those who have done their part and still come up short have still won.
Another thing I have done too often is view failure as defeat. Failure should instead be viewed as a learning experience. As the saying goes: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If you give up at the first sign of trouble or after facing some tough opposition, then the goal must not be all that important to you. To stay focused on the prize, despite the pain, the scars and torments of past failure, that is victory.
I am not afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes success requires being alone and setting the trend yourself rather than wait on others. Yes, I would rather the comforts and company of the group, but when the group is limiting God’s purpose for them or encouraging complacency, then one must lead. A true leader does not wait to be sure others are following, they do not pay attention to rules that come between them and doing what God has for them.
Now, there are components I believe are missing from Schwarzenegger’s perspective, namely God’s providence and grace, nevertheless there is much true in his advice. Those who have faith can overcome pain, failure, naysayers, fear, worldly rules and be willing to work their butts off for what they believe.
So find your motivation, do not be content to live mediocre and safe, go out and change the world with the fullness of your God given abilities. To do less than your best, less than you are able to do, that is failure and faithlessness.