As we start a new year, which gives us hope for greater things to come, I asked myself a question a few days ago: Do I really want success? The answer was no surprise, but the thoughts and feelings that came from that question really caught me by surprise. Success, is something that I that I am very comfortable with because I was not afraid to fail. I never won much of anything in my life. I never had the best grades, the best looks, the best athletic ability, the best clothes, or the best anything. I was as average or below average as it gets. But that never stopped me for trying things that seemed impossible. The irony of it all was that I preferred failure over success. Through repeated failure (learning experiences), I embraced failure which ironically created a lot of success for me. You see, many people may wish, pray, or hope for success. But being prepared for success is totally different which most people often overlooked. Growing up I did not have all the things that I desired as a young child. I was thankful to have all my needs met, but through being teased and laughed at repeatedly in grade school I built resilience. Through it all I had the support of my family particularly my mother, who instilled in me most days that I can achieve great things. She stressed how resilient I was as a young boy and even as a man. She would say “You know Raymond has been through a lot to be this young.” I never really knew what she meant until a few months ago when she passed. In her death I understood how she prepared me for success all those years.
It was a quote from the great movie Black Panther that really put it in the perfect context, which released a day before she passed. T’challa met his father in the afterlife. T’challa’s father told him, “A man that has not prepared his children for his death has failed as a father.” Preparing me for success is what she did my whole life. How many people are really prepared for success?
I remember sitting in class practicing my signature at the time thinking I was going to be a professional athlete. But that was me preparing myself for success. I would say my signature is going to be important one day so I better practice it. As we make our new year’s resolutions I challenge people not only work at being successful but also prepare for being successful.
“Embrace and accept failure as it is the strongest foundation of success” – Raymond Gray