published Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Roberts: Success - a teaspoon at a time


by Dalton Roberts

Commentary

By Dalton Roberts

Denis Waitley says, "Real success comes in small portions day by day. You need to take pleasure in life's little treasures. It is the most important thing in measuring success."

Since the book "How To Make a Habit of Success" had such a profound impact on me, I have often written on the ideas contained in that masterpiece. The main idea of the book is that we learn to succeed from our successes, not our failures. That idea goes against the common grain.

Waitley's idea is that success comes in teaspoons, not in buckets. Even if you come up with a bucketful, it comes in teaspoons.

Recently I saw the beaming faces of a couple who won a $140 million lottery jackpot. "Aha," you are thinking, "that shows success can come in a big bucket."

Not true. Just getting that money is not success. They must now learn to think like multimillionaires. The first thing they will learn is that they cannot give a million to each of their kids without paying income taxes on it. So they will have to become successful in their knowledge of tax laws.

They will certainly have to become successful in evaluating sob stories. Friends and cousins they don't even know will show up asking for money. They will hear tales of woe that would make Ted Bundy sit down and cry like a baby. They must now become a success at using their intuition and judgment of human character. Just a few misjudgments and their money will be gone.

Shysters as well as legitimate businessmen will flood them with investment opportunities. They must quickly become successful in investment strategies, or the cost of living will keep eating away their money as it sits there rusting in the bank.

If you have lived 20 years or less, you know that learning these things will be a matter of baby steps. It will come teaspoon by teaspoon.

I think about my songwriting career. I probably wrote at least 50 songs before I got one published. Getting one published doesn't pay you one cent, so I probably wrote 50 more before I got one recorded (Charlie Louvin's "I'd Be Glad To Help You Out"). Than I probably wrote 50 more before I had a hit (Nat Stuckey's "Don't Pay the Ransom"). You learn to succeed at songwriting exactly like you learn to succeed at protecting a big lottery jackpot: a teaspoon at a time.

Even success at politics comes a teaspoon at a time. The first time I ran, I got beat by an old farmer named Charlie Harris. It was a race for precinct chairman, and I am so glad an old rat in the barn gave this little squeaking mouse his comeuppance.

I grew to really like Charlie. Always make friends with those who beat you, and if you're lucky, they will tell you how they did it. I didn't learn by my defeat. I learned by studying his success. I was going door-to-door, while he was lining up station wagons to drive people to the polls.

Whatever you decide you want to succeed at, make sure it is something you love enough to take a lot of lumps along your road to success. Make sure you can be happy tasting your success a teaspoon at a time.

Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.

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