**Note: This post is a response to a comment that was posted by one of my readers, Ralph. Ralph has a great site that deals with attaining success and maintaining a lifestyle that is conducive to success. Check it out @ http://potential2success.com/***
Last week I wrote a post about what causes people to become lifers. One of my readers, Ralph, added a pretty good comment where he included helplessness as one of the reasons people wind up becoming lifers. Ralph went on to describe the fact that some people feel as if they are not qualified, perhaps because of lack of education or other reasons, to do anything but the job they are doing so they don’t try to do anything else. I thought this was such a great comment, I felt like I should expand on it.
I have met a few people that feel like they are lucky to be in the position they are, and because of this they may not work to meet other goals they would like to set for themselves. Some people may think that because they lack higher education or come from a modest background they should consider themselves lucky to be where they are. While it is true that coming from a rich family or having higher education can make success a little easier to attain, just because one may lack those things does not mean that they can’t make an effort to try to work towards the life they desire. When I hear people say they don’t have an education, or that they are not rich and that’s why they cant’ truly be in the position they want to be in, I simply reply why not. History is littered with examples of successful people that lacked education, and/or rich parents.
Ralph’s comment really got me thinking and I decided to consult Google and find examples of people who did not let their perceived shortcomings hinder their ability to attain what they considered success.
Successful people that overcame adversity
- John H. Johnson – Here is someone that a lot of people may not be familiar with. John H Johnson came from straight poverty, even worse than we could imagine, because he grew up during the great depression. This man had poverty and blatant racism working against him; he went on to create Jet Magazine, Ebony Magazine and later became the first African American to be in the Forbes 400.
- Frank Lloyd Wright – One of the most influential architects in history. He authored more than 20 books, and designed more that 1000 projects, including homes, office buildings, and furniture. I was shocked to learn that although he held numerous honorary doctorates, he did not finish college; furthermore, even though he took college classes, there is no record that he even finished high school, he was admitted to college as a special student.
- Oprah Winfrey – This woman needs no introduction. While she is one of the most successful people on the planet, male or female, she is also someone who did not let “shortcomings” and adversity deny her the success she deserved. Oprah came from a extremely poor family, was sexually abused, she went on to become the youngest anchor in Tennessee, and later became the Oprah we know today.
- Richard Branson – This guy has always been one of my favorite entrepreneurs. Here is a guy that dropped out of high school and had dyslexia. He went on to start a mail order record business and that eventually turned into the Virgin Empire. He was able to attain success despite lacking education and having a learning disability.
- Bill Gates – Needs no description, he is probably one of the most famous billionaires that does not have a college degree, this guy dropped out of Harvard, would anyone dare say he made a bad decision?
- Chris Gardner – A movie was made about this mans drive to build a better life for himself and his son. Despite being a single father, broke, homeless and lacking a college degree, he went on to become a multi-millionaire. If you have not seen the movie Pursuit of Happyness, I highly suggest that you watch it and then tell me that a lack of money and education is a reason not to strive for something more.
The lifer mentality is to look at this list and say well those are anomalies, those are exceptional people, those are one in a million cases, or even say that those aren’t realistic cases, and it is that line of thinking that makes them lifers. Since most successful people are visionaries and dreamers, the successful person will look at this list not as an anomaly but as proof that success can be attained, in spite of perceived shortcomings.