Success Lessons Learned From Black History Makers
By Willie Jolley
Do you want to grow your business? Do you want to grow your finances? Do you want to have greater success this year than you had last year? If the answer is “Yes” then here are some tremendous lessons we can learn from Black History. These are invaluable teachings on success from those who had extreme challenges and succeeded anyway! And if we use these lessons, we too can create history!
When we discover our potential, we can create incredible results! George Washington Carver was known as one of the greatest scientists of all time. He discovered endless uses of the peanut and the sweet potato, as well as numerous other discoveries and inventions.
Yet, George Washington Carver felt one of the most important discoveries is what we discover about ourselves! He said, “Of all the discoveries I know, nothing is more inspiring than that of making great discoveries of one’s self!” Right now, make a commitment to discover the greatest that is within you!
To become a success you must understand that success is a process; it is a journey, rather than a destination. Success takes a number of ingredients. It takes a dream, a positive attitude, a mixture of confidence, determination and persistence, and finally, a commitment to excellence!
First, we must have a dream. Dr. Benjamin Mays, the former president of Morehouse College taught a young Martin Luther King Jr. about the power of dreams. He taught young Martin, “It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals, the tragedy lies in not having a goal to reach for. It is not a calamity to die with your dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream!
Next it takes a positive attitude! We can learn the lesson of attitude from Madam C.J. Walker. She was a woman who understood that attitude truly is everything! She started with very little education but always maintained a positive attitude. Because of her attitude she was able to rise above her circumstances and become the first black woman to become a millionaire in America. She showed that it is your attitude that determines your altitude!
Next there’s the power of confidence, determination and persistence. If you are confident, and determined and are willing to persist then you can achieve incredible results.
Jesse Owens was a world-class athlete who was told that because he was African American, there was no way he could compete with the Aryan athletes of Nazi Germany. Hitler came to the Olympic games but refused to meet the African American athletes. Jesse continued to persist, even after having “three foot faults.” On his final attempt he jumped…and won!!!! He walked away from those Olympics with four gold medals! A dream mixed with massive faith, confidence, determination and persistence will always change your destiny!
Finally, success takes a commitment to do our best and give our best in everything that we do. Hank Aaron became the “Home Run King” because he always gave his best shot. Did you know that Hank Aaron had twice as many strikeouts as he had home runs? But he continued to give his all every time he stepped up to the plate. Sometimes he missed, sometimes he struck out, but when he hit it …he knocked it out the park!
Folks, when it is your time to step up to the plate at work, at home, or just in your everyday pursuits… always give your best shot. Sometimes you will miss. Occasionally you will strike out… but when you hit it, you will knock it out the park!
Once you start working on a project or start a job, always pursue excellence. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper then he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that the hosts of heaven will pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well!”
Friends, as Black History Month draws to its conclusion, continue to strive for excellence in everything you do!