If you think writing 50,000 words in a month is hard, try writing 13,000 in a single day. That is the challenge I faced last year on November 30th. How I responded to that is how I’m learning to achieve my goals in life — and it’s a secret you can use too!
But before I get to that, I want to tell you a story.
What challenges do you face?
On January 3, 1993, the Buffalo Bills played the Houston Oilers at Rich Stadium. The Oilers felt pretty good, going into halftime leading 28 to 3. Early in the second half, Bubba McDowell caught a ball off of a deflection and ran it 58 yards for a touchdown. With a 35 point lead, everyone thought the game was all but over and that the Oilers would be moving on to the next playoff game.
Not so fast.
The Bills found themselves in good field position after the ensuing kickoff. With 10 plays, they scored. After recovering an onside kick, the Bills took 4 plays to score again. They forced the Oilers to punt the ball and had good field position again. A few plays later, another touchdown. An interception led to a fourth touchdown for the Bills. In just a few minutes, the Bills had cut the lead down to 4 points.
The Oilers fared a little better in the fourth quarter, but they still allowed another touchdown. All they managed to do, though, was to score a field goal of their own. At the end of regulation, the two teams were tied.
The Oilers received the ball to start overtime, but the Bills intercepted a pass, and with a facemask penalty, were easily in field goal range. After running a couple of plays, the Bills kicked a field goal and won the game. The Bills went on to play in the Superbowl against the Dallas Cowboys.
What does this have to do with writing 50,000 words in a month or even 10,words in a day? And more importantly, how does this help me reach my goals? Easy.
The people who reach their goals keep trying to reach their goal in spite of all the obstacles that they face. When they face challenges, they keep going. They don’t give up.
Last week, I brought up using a map. In case you missed it, I said that if you want to get from New York to Los Angelos, it’s great to have a map, but for it to do you any good, you have to actually get in the car and go. In other words, you have to take action on your goals to get anywhere.
Now, let’s say you were talking this trip and you had a meeting you needed to get there, but you had a week before that meeting. (Maybe you just felt like a road trip, which is why you drove it instead of flying, because you wanted to see some of the country.) If you got to Las Vegas, and discovered that the road you had planned to take was closed, would you turn around and go home? NO! Most likely, you would just take a detour. But even if it wasn’t marked, you would find another way to get there.
Would you believe that most people do that with their own goals? That they stop and give up? In fact, many give up before they even get in the car! Of those that get in the car, many of them would give up hitting that block at the equivalent of Newark, New Jersey when they have a week to get there!
When I faced the challenge last year of writing 13,000 words in a single day, I just focused on what I could do in the next 15 minutes over and over again. Reaching the goal was easy when I did it that way.
Now, I’ll admit that there are times when giving up might be the thing to do. Like when you realize that the goal you are pursuing is not what you really want to pursue. But these are the exception, rather than the rule.
Did you know that most people who found success found it just past a defeat?
You’ve heard the story of the tortoise and the hare, right? The two were in a race. At the beginning of the race, the hare took off like a shot. Soon, he had left the tortoise far behind. He grew tired and decided to take a nap. After all, it would be a long time before the tortoise caught up to him. He would have plenty of time to win the race. But that hare napped so long that the tortoise passed him. Because the tortoise kept on going, despite certain defeat, he overtook the hare. By the time the hare woke up, the tortoise was already crossing the finish line. Now, we all know that the moral of this story is “slow and steady wins the race,”, but what if the tortoise had given up after the hare got off to such a big start? We wouldn’t be talking about this story, would we?
So the next time you are faced with a challenge, keep going. If you get knocked down, get up. As Les Brown says, “If I can look up, I can get up!” So get up! Follow me! I’m achieving my goals in life. Come join me!
How has persistence helped you to reach a goal? Have you seen others give up around you when they were closer than they realized or had more time than they thought? Share your thoughts in the comments below!