Those of us who have succeeded in life, or at least have achieved enough to have earned the authority to speak on what does and does not work, often find it useful to reflect on what has caused or allowed us to turn challenges into successes, adversity into triumph, and lemons into lemon meringue.
I have been fascinated with the increasing self-assuredness of the successful. While some successful people have insecurities and many have adversity, the common strand of the success stories is confidence.
Or perhaps most accurately: fearlessness.
I am not talking about the fake strutting of the wannabe peacock with the inflated ego and everything else embellished. I refer to the quiet confidence of the man (or woman) who has confronted the toughest adversity one can endure, overcome it and survived to tell the story. There is truth in the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” The confidence of knowing one’s ability to fight, to withstand pressure, and to win, is a confidence hard to replicate without being in genuine battle (or danger) and virtually impossible to bluff. This is what it means to be “battle-tested.” And men and women with this confidence are often the quietest in the room yet their words, few in number, carry the most impact. You see, those who have walked the walk, rarely feel the urge to talk the talk.
Mutual funds and other investment vehicles warn prospective investors that “past results are not indicative of future performance.” People are not mutual funds. How people have handled pressure and adversity in the past is most revealing about character, fortitude and — indeed — whether they are clutch in the battlefield, the boardroom, in a conference room at a difficult negotiation, or in the fourth quarter of a tied Super Bowl. And unlike sports where the result is the ultimate metric, in business and politics — and in life — the real metric is “how you played the game.” The character determines whether you are a winner…and often the character determines whether you win…….Read More