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Success and Taking Uncharted Roads

Posted August. 11, 2007 07:09,   


Who would not want to be successful?

The problem starts here. It does not mean that each and every human being wishes so. Some people just don’t care. They are excluded. A dream grants eligibility based on the size of passion.

Eligibility, however, does not refer to elegant ideas. It depends on what dream one has and how she plans to achieve it. That’s the borderline between a plausible dream and a pipe dream. It’s not that God helps us; we have to have God help us. Psychoanalyst Theodore Rubin said that to become successful requires assumption of calculated risk.

Here, we meet two successful lives. In one case, an ordinary physical therapist became an NBA franchise president and part owner. Then, he pulled up the team from the doldrums to championship title. The other case is more telling. This person started a restaurant at the age of 27 in New York City, where every passing day is a war among restaurants. He had walked up the ladder of success, and now owns 10 food chains.

Pat Croce, the author of Victory Journal: A Daily Dairy for Success and Celebration, was an ordinary therapist without much means. The dark room where he worked was the symbol of his real life. He never gave up dreaming, though. Dreaming was not a way to find solace in his life; through dreaming, Croce quested for his life vision, and kept it alive with him. Croce wanted to be a leader. A leader thinks through her eyes and makes decisions in her head, according to Croce. He wanted to steer a boat through a rough sea. Decades after pursuing his dream, Croce came to own more than 40 sports medical centers nationwide.

His adventure did not stop there. In 1996, Croce purchased part-ownership of Philadelphia 76ers, which hit the bottom in the Eastern Conference. Five years thereafter, his team won the conference champion title. People began to love 76ers. Croce takes a Christmas gift as an example, which offers us an insight into his mind. How would you react if, one Christmas morning, all you could find is the dung of a pony, not the pony itself? Would you cry? Croce tells us to stand up and go find it since it must be around somewhere. This is the attitude Croce believes that leads us to success.

Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, is more of an autobiography. He does not believe some special advice is needed. He asks us not to do homework, evidence gathering or interviews; he just tells us to read what we think is important in an interesting way.

Watching his father file for bankruptcy, Meyer decided to become a lawyer. One day, however, his uncle reminded him of an almost forgotten dream: “You loved food and restaurant stuff.” Stung by the words, Meyer threw away what he was doing, and jump-started his hospitality career. Of course, he became a landmark success.

It may sounds a little strange, but his story tells a lot about what success means. He stresses, among other things, that happy employees make customers happy, that smiling employees are better than able ones, that what restaurants sell is not the food, but the considerateness, and that success is a process of overcoming a failure. Meyer has put into practice what he has known by instinct. He teaches us what restaurant management means: It is to help customers have more positive and happier experiences and relationships.

While reading the books, one might think that the authors are too confident and proud. One may also brush away their teachings simply as boasts of successful guys. But they are more than that, you will realize. Where does their pride come from? Possibly, they have taken an “uncharted path.” They were prepared. People wish to succeed, but only a few know what they want to achieve and how to do it. We can learn a lot from an old saying: “Where there is a will, there is a way.”