I found the following quote the other day, attributed to Pele, regarded by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time:
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all love of what you are doing."
It takes all of these to be successful.
Before half term, I talked about what, in fact, success was - what it means to be successful and challenged you with thinking about what success means to you.
Success, if defined right, will make you happy, but the journey to get there is long and often hard. There is another saying, not attributed to anyone, but frequently quoted in lots of different ways:
"If something is worth aspiring for, it is likely to be hard work to achieve; nothing that takes little effort is ever, truly, worth very much."
There has been lots in the news recently about the fact that the main thing missing in young people's lives (i.e. you!) is aspiration - young people, apparently, have no ambition, they don't aspire to be or do anything.
Now, working with you & working with young people for over 25 years, I can say that this is not true - the vast majority of you have ambition, you aspire to things & frequently these are worthy things to aspire to as well.
So it's not a lack of aspiration that is holding you back.
It is more likely the journey ahead, the route you can see ahead of you and tee knowledge of the difficulties ahead.
And this is where Pele's quote comes in. Yes, it is going to be hard, and yes, you are likely to fail at some things along the way. But that is good; that is life. If you are not prepared to be challenged, if you are not prepared to try new things & not always get it right then be prepared to be left behind while the world moves forwards ahead of you.
This is a hard message, but an important one - life does not owe you anything. We live in a world surrounded by the media message that we have 'rights', and yes, we do, but we also have responsibilities and failure to accept our part in anything will, more often than not lead to you missing out on what you feel is your due.
If you look at successful people, whether it's music stars, sportsmen or women, business people, or 'just' famous people, and feel jealous because of their success, don’t! They have all got where they are through pure hard work and determination.
Whether it's the musician who practices and practices their music until their fingers bleed, wrap them in plasters and then keep going until they are the musical success they want to be, or the sportswoman who wakes up at 4am every morning to put in two or more hours a day of training before going to school, then a further two hours training in the evening and more every weekend, until they get into the team they have always wanted to. Every successful person has worked hard, strived, frequently failed and picked themselves up again, refusing to accept failure as an outcome.
In fact, as I'm on a roll with quotes, another one for you:
You only truly fail when you stop trying. . .
Hard work, determination, the refusal to give up. These are all the key qualities that define successful people, whatever their background or field of success.
And finally, my all time favourite quote, one which I do hold to my heart and try to live by. It sums up my approach to life & is from probably my favourite film ever.
"Do, or do not … there is no try." (Yoda, from Star Wars Episode V)
It basically says that if you say that you will try (as in "I'll try my hardest"), then you are already accepting failure as an option. Either do something or don't. If you do, then give it your all & do not give in until you have achieved. Otherwise don't.