Natural abilities make it easy for one to accomplish great results. The professional musicians, entertainers, athletes, academicians and the likes succeed easily because of their natural abilities. They capitalise on this advantage and rise above others to distinguish themselves in their fields.
Today, there are some young graduates who have taken to the career of master of ceremonies at social functions. They joke and keep the guests relaxed, merry and laughing. Of course, none of them entered the university to study what they now practise. Instead, they have discovered what they can easily do with their talents and are doing it with passion.
It is not so with some other people. Some succeed through working hard and intelligence. They identify some opportunities and determine to make the best use of them. They focus intensely on what they want to achieve. They think big and positively. They develop high self-worth and carry themselves about as important and successful people. The truth is: they eventually get what they want because of their positive attitude and strong belief and desire.
I had a friend and colleague named Greg. He was a workaholic and this eventually propelled him to the top of the company. We used to have our lunch in the same restaurant, when I was in employment. Greg would hurry over his meal and return to his table, leaving us to chat away and wait for the lunch period to be over. He was so committed to his work as if it was his personal business. Of course, Greg rose to the position of the CEO after some years. He took his work very seriously and, above all, he loved his work. These qualities accounted for his success and rapid progress in the company. I cannot say confidently that he was talented.
Greg never allowed any distraction to take him out of his focus. He set clear goals for himself and worked with perseverance to achieve them. One day, during lunch, Greg said to me, “If I have the chance to be in control of this company, I will surely do better than the MD.” He saw future possibilities and believed in making positive contributions. Even as a junior manager at that time, he was already seeing himself as a possible MD of the company. And his dream came true eventually.
Success is not easy. Having your own company and managing it well is challenging. It demands discipline, hard work, perseverance and determination. Despite these attributes, the truth is that success cannot be guaranteed by talent and hard work alone. I found something in the Bible which is revealing. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favour to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.”
Life is full of cases where the talented and educated people are poor and not honoured. Natural abilities and hard work are not enough to guarantee success and prosperity. Some people were very brilliant in school but found it hard to make meaningful progress in their careers and businesses. You have to be at the right place at the right time. The element of chance can have tremendous impact on people’s lives.
There are some people who can be described as just ordinary, but as a result of association with certain persons, they became wealthy and influential. On the other hand, some people have made a mess of their abilities and destinies as a result of associating with the wrong people. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” The type of people you associate with will surely affect your progress in life. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Some people succeed despite apparent disadvantages of poverty and ignorance in the family. Others are born with silver spoon in the mouth and yet seem to be lost in the crowd. Here, personal choices and decisions play crucial roles.
I listened to a successful businessman talk about himself. He said that, as a child, poverty in the family kept him out of school and other activities which other children enjoyed. He said that right from that early age, he hated poverty and made up his mind that he would accumulate wealth, and his children would never taste poverty as he did. He chose to be rich and he truly became wealthy.