The Only Way To Succeed

"I’d spent my whole life feeling like a freak and an outsider and that nobody understood me and suddenly I felt like it's OK to feel different."

- Madonna

You may have wondered how the performer who has reinventd herself several times to remain among the leaders of the music industry got to be the way she is. She knew something special. She knew that she had to be among the best in her field--whatever field she chose to enter--and she committed herself to work extremely hard to the best of her ability to reach that goal and to stay there.

That may seem trite, that someone has to work hard. But in Madonna's case she worked hard in a field in which she was considered an outsider, because she was a woman, because she was aggressive, because she was talented, because she was bright and because she would not allow anyone to put her down. She was determined to be who she wanted to be.

Not many people can say that they plotted the course for their lives and have followed it through relentlessly. The reason is that most of us face too many setbacks that cause us to take detours, so many that we lose our way and become someone we didn't plan to be.

Staying the course for a lifetime is very difficult because there are always people who want to divert us, for their own reasons and often for their own benefit. Ignoring the naysayers requires a kind of devotion of its own, one in which a person must develop a kind of emotional armour to let attacks against them bounce off while they continue on their chosen path.

No doubt detours will happen along the way. Life's detours get most people lost from their course. Those who eventually reach their goals find their way back to the direction they were headed after every detour. Every time.

Along the way they find others who want to either join them or to support them. They become the few good friends that persistent goal-seekers have. Those who succeed at anything always have fair-weather supporters and hangers-on friends. These are accepted with gratitude, with the understanding that they will disappear again when the going gets rough again.

The going has got rough again many times for Madonna. Recently it was because she wanted to adopt a child from Africa. The media searched endlessly for some way to trash what she wanted to do. To help the media, several people were prepared to lie along the way to get their share of attention.

She will win again because her attitude is "To hell with the naysayers and the trash media!"

Sometimes winners can only succeed by turning and walking away from detractors.

Over the long term, the critics disappear while the winners continue on. The winners work harder and never lose sight of their goal.

Bill Allin
Turning it Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to shine a light on the path through the mess that life can sometimes become.
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