Did you watch the presidential debate last night? I did, and boy, was it stimulating. The topic was the economy, and it was fascinating to hear the candidates give their differing viewpoints on taxes, interest rates, regulations, and how to encourage job growth.
What intrigued me the most was their shared perspective that the government would have a crucial role in whether or not I (and my business) would be successful. Wow. I’m so glad that I didn’t just wait around for them to figure out what policies would be best. With all that waiting, my business might just be an idea instead of a part of my successful livelihood.
Whatever your political leanings, the same rules of prosperity apply: you don’t FIND opportunity, you CREATE opportunity. It is NOT up to an outside organization to determine whether or not you are successful, it is up to YOU. Countless people have come from the deepest depths of poverty and difficult circumstances and created amazing lives for themselves. Would I like a tax break for my small business to make health care more affordable for me and my employees? Sure. Does not getting it mean that I’m less able or determined to create the funds to provide it? No.
During the recent firestorm over Romney’s “47%” comments, Moveon.org invited people from that “47%” to submit videos telling Romney about their personal stories. I watched a few of the videos that people submitted and was touched and inspired by them. I chanced upon one of a woman who looked into the camera and told Romney that she was born with no arms, and so through no fault of her own, she was on welfare. I felt compassion for this woman who was struggling to make ends meet while at the same time facing the daily challenges of taking care of herself.
By the same token, I recently learned about an inspiring woman named Jessica Cox. She too was born without arms. Her website, rightfooted.com states that “Jessica now flies airplanes, drives cars and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands. She holds the title of the first person without arms in the American Taekwondo Association to get a black belt and the Guinness World Record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate. Convinced that the way we think has a greater impact on our lives than our physical constraints, she chose to pursue a degree in psychology at the University of Arizona. Since then she has traveled to 17 countries sharing her inspirational message.”
I suspect that if we looked closely at these two women’s lives we would notice at least a few historical and circumstantial differences. It seems that Jessica’s family gave her the message that she could accomplish whatever she wanted. I don’t know anything about the woman in the video, but perhaps her family was not as supportive. Even so, this example illustrates that success is not reliant on the circumstances, but rather on the opportunities you create for yourself as a result of having overcome them.