Read an Excerpt
SUCCESS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT
By TOMMY NEWBERRY
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Tommy Newberry
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLESSON 1 Choose Success
Your success blesses other!
In this lesson, you will learn to
Clarify your concept of success
Accept complete responsibility
Eliminate excuses forever
Become a doer, not a feeler
Develop an abundance mentality
Success is not an accident! This is, without a doubt, the single most important lesson you must grasp if you want to maximize your full potential and enjoy all the fulfillment and success you were designed to enjoy. Success occurs in the lives of specific people for specific reasons. It is not something that randomly happens to you; it is something that you make happen. This is exciting news! Whether you want to strengthen your family life, improve your career, deepen your faith, or take your physical energy to a whole new level, you can do it. Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, "Let him learn a prudence of a higher strain. Let him learn that every thing in nature, even motes and feathers, go by law and not by luck, and that what he sows he reaps."
There is no magic. This process is not complex or sophisticated. If you will invest the time to find out what other people have done to be successful, personally and professionally, and then begin doing the same things, you too will achieve similar results indue season. All your efforts will be worthwhile!
Hit the Bull's-Eye!
Imagine trying to throw darts at a dartboard in a room with no lights on. Even in the dark, you would eventually hit the board, and if you continued for long enough, you would probably hit the bull's-eye. But if you turned on the lights, gathered a large supply of darts, got some coaching, and invested ample time in practicing, you would significantly reduce the time it would take to hit the dartboard. When you finally hit the bull's-eye, many people would call you lucky. But you wouldn't be lucky. You would just have been willing to do more things to ensure that you hit the bull's-eye.
This book was designed to help you identify the factors within your control that will increase the odds of your hitting the bull's-eye in your own journey through life.
What's Your Dream?
When you were growing up, did you ever dream of being a professional athlete? I wanted to be a baseball player. I can easily recall playing out World Series scenarios in the backyard with my friends until it was too dark to see the ball. But what separates the kids who dream about playing in the World Series from those who actually grow up to win the pennant? Sure, it has to do with talent, ability, and a bit of good timing, but I also believe it has a great deal to do with sheer determination and work ethic.
If you had seen him playing Little League, you never would have guessed that Orel Hershiser would someday become one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. But it was at the age of eight, while visiting Yankee Stadium in New York, that Hershiser set his goal. "It was while walking into that historic stadium on a crisp, windy night that I decided I wanted to be a big league baseball player," he said. It's a dream many little boys have had, but it was a goal that Hershiser would prove to be serious about achieving.
STRIKE ONE, STRIKE TWO
As a freshman in high school, Hershiser started to develop a plan for reaching his goal. First, he wanted to make the varsity baseball team. But he fell short of his goal twice, and it was not until his junior year that he earned a spot on the varsity team.
When applying to colleges, Hershiser set his sights on playing for Bowling Green State University. But once again, things didn't turn out the way he planned. When it came time to try out for the team, Hershiser was academically ineligible. With his college aspirations hitting rock bottom, he left school. On the bus ride home, Hershiser made a critical decision: "The boy on the bus to Michigan was not the man I wanted to be." He would not be a quitter.
Hershiser returned to Bowling Green for the summer session and played for an amateur baseball team. In his junior year, he finally made the school's traveling team and became a starting pitcher. Now he hoped the scouts in the stands would notice him.
Hershiser was noticed. In 1979, the Los Angeles Dodgers picked him in the seventeenth round of the amateur draft. But as a Class A player, his chances of making it to the majors were slim. Only 4 percent of those drafted ever make it out of the minor leagues. It took four and a half years of playing in the minors before Hershiser received the call he'd been working toward since he was eight. In 1983, he was called up to the big leagues.
As a major-league player, Hershiser continued to work hard at improving his game, and after five years in the majors, he set a new goal for himself: He wanted to be the youngest, smartest major-league pitcher ever.
His new goal was realized in 1988. After recovering from knee surgery and an emergency appendectomy, Hershiser went on to have the season of a lifetime. He broke Don Drysdale's "unbreakable" record by pitching fifty-nine consecutive scoreless innings. He was named Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series and the World Series, and he received a Gold Glove and the Cy Young Award.
AFTER THE GAME
During the excitement of the 1988 season, Robert Fraley, Hershiser's friend and sports representative, told him, "You're about to make a lot of money. But that is not true success. Success will be measured at the end of your career, not at the peak. When you're finished with baseball, if you love God, if you're still in love with your wife, if your children know who you are, and if your reputation is still intact, then you'll be successful." Hershiser adopted his friend's definition of success and emphasized it in interviews: "When I'm finished with my baseball career, my most successful goal is not to make the Hall of Fame, but to see my family a success as a result of my influence in their lives."
In June 2000, Hershiser retired from baseball with a record of 204 wins as a pitcher, nineteen years as a faithful husband, and fifteen years as an involved dad. He once said, "I'm proof that great things can happen to ordinary people if they work hard and never give up." And that is the reality of success.
Was Orel Hershiser just lucky? I don't think so! Consider these other heroes who succeeded:
Was Tiger Woods just lucky?
Was Bill Gates just lucky?
Was Roger Clemens just lucky?
Was Carrie Underwood just lucky?
Was J. K. Rowling just lucky?
Was Rick Warren just lucky?
Was Lance Armstrong just lucky?
Were the immigrants who came to America with nothing but determination in their pockets but who built a fortune by serving others just lucky?
Are the Super Bowl champions each year just lucky?
Are Olympic medalists just lucky?
Success is not an accident, and it's not based on luck. That statement is simple, and it's the truth. And the moment you fully accept it, your life and the lives of those you love will never again be the same. Success, however it's defined, is absolutely predictable.
Get Clear on Success
What does success mean to you? Answering this question is one of the first assignments I give my coaching clients in The 1% Club. Investing the time and effort to define success in your own terms is one of the most helpful mental and spiritual exercises you can undertake. If you are trying to accelerate your success, it only makes sense to first define the target, which in many cases is elusive and often misunderstood.
What exactly does success mean to you? I've observed that most people find it quite difficult to define. But if you don't have a clear picture of success, how can you honestly pursue it or expect to achieve and then enjoy it? Success has been defined many ways in literature:
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.
Success is the accomplishment of God's will in your life.
Success is making the most of what you have.
Success is who you become.
Success is living your life in your own way.
Success is a journey.
These definitions vary, but I suppose there is a dose of truth in each one. The most successful people in the world are those who have taken the time to figure out exactly who they want to become and what they want to achieve. Then they invest the hours of their days in activities consistent with these ideals.
Successful people are those who have learned how to consistently apply God's laws in their lives. They ascribe their achievements to focus, hard work, strong relationships, perseverance, and the blessing of God. The unsuccessful or mediocre are those who have no obvious direction. These people tend to "go with the flow" or drift in whichever direction the wind happens to be blowing. Their lives are dominated by circumstances and overflowing with excuses. They blame their underachievement on bad luck. Life, they claim, has dealt them a bad hand, and they choose to fold.
ARE YOU SUCCESSFUL?
How do you define success? That is the real question! Do you equate it with wealth? Do you believe you are successful if you have a lot of friends, or is it social status that matters? Do you think you are a success if you own a nice home, a car, or other worthwhile possessions? If you're active in your church and tithe regularly, does that signify success? Does power bring success, or will accomplishing the next goal on your list finally usher in success? Maybe success is early retirement, or maybe it comes when all the kids have gone away to college or have married and started their own families. What exactly is success to you? Before I push you any further, let me ask you a different but vitally important question.
DOES GOD EVEN WANT YOU TO SUCCEED?
Many people of faith wonder whether it's wrong to pursue wealth or certain types of worldly success. Some even feel guilty for wanting what others don't have. What about you? Do you think God wants you to succeed? Really dig deep and answer this question.
Here is my answer in the form of another question: Do you want your children to be mediocre?
Of course not! You want your kids to succeed! In particular, you want your children to have a personal relationship with Jesus, marry the right person, and pursue their purpose in life with excellence. That is a pretty good start, isn't it? Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, refers to those big three parenting priorities as Master, Mate, and Mission. If you lead your kids to spiritual truth, equip them to select the right marriage partner, and encourage them to pursue and live their dream, then you've certainly used your time wisely. In short, you want your children to become everything they were created to become. And that is exactly what God wants for you as well.
Do parents encourage their children to strive for mediocrity? Do you hope your son or daughter grows up and gets an average job, tolerates an average marriage, and then raises average kids who perpetuate that same cycle for the next generation? I don't believe God makes "average." The dim light of an average life is something we inflict on ourselves. Sometimes we make things difficult that should not be difficult. We turn the simple into the complex and confuse not only ourselves but the people around us as well. Make no mistake: Your heavenly Father wants you to succeed.
We all have the standard, factory-installed desire to reach our full potential. Sometimes this longing is temporarily smothered by a lack of wisdom or a sequence of poor choices, but it is still there, waiting to be activated. Consider how we hope and pray for good things to happen in the lives of those we love. Consider how we always pray for ourselves and our circumstances to improve, never to deteriorate. This is our built-in drive for success, our drive to see the various aspects of our life advance. Have you ever prayed for your life to fall apart, a cherished relationship to end, or a dear friend to become ill? I would hope not! You are, after all, designed for success.
YOU ARE FREED TO SUCCEED!
Why do so many people struggle with the idea of success? Is it because they hardly ever hear their pastor preach a sermon about success? Unless the sermon is based on Matthew 5-7, commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, in most churches we rarely hear teaching about biblical success. In the Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus distills the spiritual principles that both precede and promote true success. Practicing these principles frees you to maximize your full potential and become everything God intended for you to become. After you finish Success Is Not an Accident, I encourage you to reread the Sermon on the Mount and contemplate how relevant and practical the sayings of Jesus really are. Unfortunately, these principles of success are often poorly presented or misrepresented in our day and age, leading some to conclude that "that success stuff just doesn't sound biblical." For example, are we supposed to set goals, or are we to take no thought for tomorrow? Are we supposed to build our confidence, or have no confidence in the flesh? Should we strive for greatness, or should we be content in all circumstances? Are we to improve our self-image, or should we deny ourselves? These apparent contradictions have paralyzed many Christians from maximizing their potential. However, upon deep examination, the notion that success is wrong or even contrary to biblical truth cannot be seriously defended.
Like much of the enemy's handiwork, the tainting and shunning of success has been gradual and subtle. Put a negative spin on success, paint success as unbiblical, scare Christians away-then Christian leadership will slowly dissolve in a society clearly in need of godly direction. What a clever scheme.
Success has been hijacked from the very people who believe in the original book of success-the Bible. Over time, the concept of success has been so polluted and distorted that bold, godly success appears to have atrophied. Its influence is hardly felt. Many well-intentioned believers appear to be running from the potential they were blessed with at birth. As a result, God-inspired men and women are having less and less effect on the America they built. Interestingly, over the last decade an entire movement and ministry has attempted to rebrand true success with the word significance. Is this really necessary? Are we that afraid of the word success? In my mind, and in the minds of my clients, authentic success requires significance. Significance doesn't follow success. It is the sum and substance of success.
While Christians have stepped back, the secular world has been setting the agenda through legislative bodies, school boards, and the politically correct establishments that regulate the guidelines believers and nonbelievers alike must follow.
A PERFECT SYSTEM
Fortunately, all the confusion surrounding success need not exist at all. God wants each and every one of us to succeed, provided that our definition of success is right. God wants us to reach our potential and contribute to the world in tremendous ways. Success in the general sense is God's way of sharing abundance. He uses your success to bless others while you benefit yourself. Success is a multiplier, not a divider, as the media often tend to represent. Authentic success spills over to benefit many more beyond the minority who accepted the risk of failure. When individual success is promoted, an entire society gets rewarded. When you act with integrity, your success will not harm others in the least. You and everyone else you know can become successful without anyone suffering harm, setbacks, or downturns. Only God could author such a perfect system!
Excerpted from SUCCESS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT by TOMMY NEWBERRY Copyright © 2007 by Tommy Newberry. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.