by Leonard J. Roos
What do you think of Oprah Winfrey,
Bill Gates, Ted Turner,
Tiger Woods and hundreds of others who
have made it to the
top, sometimes against all the odds?
You probably think they are smart, intelligent, great,
masterful and I agree. I believe they probably are all those
things you think of them and perhaps even more.
Now I want you to think of yourself. Do you think of yourself
as having those same attributes or maybe more? Do you think you
can do the things these icons have accomplished?
One of the laws of the Universe is that everything must start
somewhere, which usually means a small beginning. Take the
biggest animals on land and in water, i.e. the elephant and
the whale. They all start small and can even be killed by other
animals, before they are fully grown.
Even a mighty river like the Amazon stared as a little stream,
yet has become the roaring giant we know.
So too every person who wants to become great must start
small. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and anybody else you can
think of started small, and that start was characterized by
a decision. The decision to change, to do things differently.
This decision was followed by a series of actions which
eventually led to, and culminated in the attainment of the goal.
Quality isn't necessarily Popular or immediately evident.
At the time the decision is taken it may not seem the right
decision for others. In fact, the greatest success stories of
our time were started by unpopular decisions. When Bill Gates
dropped out of Harvard during his junior year and started what is
today Microsoft, he was criticized by many as unwise. Of course
today everybody hails it as a "great" move.
Will Smith turned down a scholarship to MIT to concentrate on his
music career instead, and became a millionaire at 18. Quincy
Jones turned down a VP position and became a legend. Sabeer
Bhatia turned down many offers from Microsoft against the wishes
of his colleagues. Of course they too later agreed that it was a
When taking a decision one should remember that it is your life,
not anybody else's. So whatever decision you take should be based
on what you think is the best decision, not on what others want.
I know it is difficult when you look up from where you are right
now to where these icons are. All you see is this big gap and
you become discouraged. The key here is to set yourself short
term goals that are within reach.
Here is a little exercise you can do. Imagine yourself at the
bottom of a series of stairs, while your goal is located on the
See each step on these stairs as a short-term goal. The first
landing will be a decision to change your life. The second
landing could be to put in writing what you want to achieve.
The third step could represent the plan, how you are actually
going to go about accomplishing this goal. The plan itself can
then be divided in a series of further short-term goals. This
could involve talking to knowledgeable people on the subject
you are interested in or it could be writing a business plan
or it could be finding out about places that offer project
These are just suggestions, to help you come up with ideas of
Every time you feel discouraged or a little afraid, go and read
about your icons or heroes. How they started out. How they
felt, when they were still at the bottom, the things they said
If possible try and trace a childhood friend of one of your
heroes and talk to him.
I'm sure that after doing that you will realize that these are
just ordinary men and women like you and me, whose desire
to accomplish their goals became bigger then their fear.
Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia recalls that during
negotiations with Microsoft to buy Hotmail, he was invited to
meet Bill Gates. Apparently he was very nervous, because he
though of Bill Gates as a superhuman. But during the interview
he realized that Bill Gates was just a normal guy.
Here's Bhatia, in his own words on Bill Gates: "His questions
were normal strategy questions, the same things I had been
asked by investors all along and it suddenly occurred to me
that Bill Gates is not superhuman either, he is flesh and
blood, same as me"
So as you can see, those who are great today were once
ordinary people like you and me. The only difference is, that
they didn't allow their fear or other people's opinions to
determine their future. If you follow their example, you too
will soon become great.
How To Spring Ahead Now
Every great achievement since the dawn of history starts as an impossible dream. Every great achiever, with fire in his or her belly, braves the insurmountable, slays the dragons——and does the “impossible.”
A Dream that Will Catch Your Heart
your dream big enough -- important enough -- to capture your
heart? If so, you will pursue it with abandon and will surprise
even yourself at how successful you can be!
Persisting With Bulldog Determination
There are many starters in life - but very few finish what they start. When the going gets tough, most people fold. They don’t persist hard enough or persevere long enough. They don’t have a red-hot flaming burning desire to succeed.