The End Is Near!  How Are You Doing?

By Bill Hodges

©2003 Hodges Seminars International

No, this is not a religious column, but the question still stands. This year, I hope you established goals you wish to accomplish before the year ends. It is important that you take stock of those goals and determine what you must do in order to take them from goal to reality. Don’t let some small adversity or minor barrier cause you to stop prior to your dream coming true. A little more effort can transform a failure into a success.

You’ve heard of Thomas Edison, but do you know the name Elmo Dorfinmeyer? Elmo also worked on the electric light bulb-or as he called it, the phosphorific orb. Unfortunately, Elmo got distracted just before he was to throw the switch and went on to start another project. We don’t know if his phosphorific orb would have worked or not because, since Edison had beat him to the punch, or should we say to the switch, he abandoned the project and sold the prototype orbs for mini-fish bowls. He did become big in the fish bowl industry, but history remembered Edison. Then, there was Uris Tooksberry who spent many years perfecting an engine that would power a sailing vessel, but because all his friends laughed at him and called his contraption "Tooksberry’s folly," he delayed releasing his discovery to the media. A fellow by the name of Robert Fulton followed through and put an engine on a sailing vessel. Sure enough, they did call it "Fulton’s folly" but it worked. And history remembers Robert Fulton as being the first person to provide steam propulsion to ships. As a sidelight, since he had been so successful at making his friends laugh at his ideas, Uris went on to a long and distinguished career as a baggy pants comedian on the burlesque circuit

Edison and Fulton followed their dreams. They earned their place in history. They did this by not letting anything get between them and the successful attainment of their goal. What about Elmo and Uris? Did they exist, or are they just figments of my imagination? If you guessed figments, you’re right. History rarely takes time to chronicle the name of almost-rans. History does not care who starts in the race; it records only those who has the staying power to finish the race first. But Elmo and Uris may have existed.

If you, like Uris, have failed to complete a project because others did not share your dream, heed the words of American journalist Herbert Swope who said, "I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure-which is: Try to please everybody." Edison, on the other hand, would have applauded Mark Twain when he said, "Let us be thankful for fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed." Elmo (if he existed) was indeed foolish to allow himself to be sidetracked from his goal and, in turn, allow Edison to reap the glory.

Robert Browning said it best, "A minute’s success pays the failure of years." You may be on the verge of success. Review your goals and keep on trying.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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