The Key To Success

I HAVE been giving talks on writing, working from home, and building home-based businesses for several years now. Often, I get e-mail from people who have attended the talks. Some are doing well after taking the plunge to try something new. They heeded the advice given them and kept improving their skills and knowledge until they knew how to handle new challenges.

However, a large majority have not taken a single step towards what they had so wanted to do. A woman met me in a car park recently, and said: “Your talk was good but a home-based business is not for me. I am too old to try new things.

“Also, I don’t want to work so hard when my kids are still young. I don’t have a tertiary education like you, so everything takes more time. I don’t have the business skills and I am scared to do anything new!”
Just before she closed the door of her BMW, she threw in one last sentence, “And I don’t have money for the capital!”

I was rooted to the ground after hearing so many “I can’ts” from her in one breath. The woman was in her thirties.
She was not the only one who has given me a list of “I can’t”. Young people gave a common reason: “I am too young, I don’t have the business acumen” even though they were told that they could learn by doing and through seminars.

Retired people told me they were too old to try new things, forgetting that the founder of KFC started his fast food business when he was in his seventies! Some people believed that they don’t have the energy, while others thought that their personal and financial situations were not conducive for them to try anything new.

In contrast, those who are doing well are the ones willing to learn from others. They don’t give up easily. When difficult situations arise, they solve their problems with a positive attitude. Those who are religious also believe that bad things happen for a reason. If they have to face difficulties, it is because their God wants them to learn, 
experience, and think in order to train them for something bigger.

A home-maker friend who didn’t have the confidence to do event management was asked to volunteer and organise an event for the disadvantaged. She met the disabled, patients with chronic illnesses, and poor people who have the odds stacked against them.

This is what she had to say after the event: “It’s so inspiring to hear what some of these people are doing. The beauty of it is that every one of them is not complaining about his or her situation. They have chosen to be optimistic, despite facing difficulties on a daily basis. Some people I know are much better off in life, but they do nothing except whine about what’s not right in their lives.”

After the event, she chucked out her “I can’ts” and tried her hand at writing, even though it was something she had not done before. She is still learning, but I know she will go far because of her attitude.

People who keep saying “I can’t” should be reminded of 12-year-old Mohd Haziq who was born a paraplegic. Although he does not have the use of his lower body, he excels in football, swims, scoots around on his skateboard, using his arms to navigate his way around, and lift himself up. He bathes, dresses himself and gets ready on his own to go to school.

In Ghana, Emanuel Yeboah, who was born with one leg, was abandoned by his father at birth. His poverty-stricken mother raised him with great difficulty. Ten per cent of Ghanians are disabled, making disability a serious problem in the country. Disabled people are ridiculed and humiliated by the public.

As a child, Emanuel climbed coconut trees, fetched water and helped his mother around the house. He was excluded from basketball games in school, so he worked and earned money to buy a basketball. He negotiated with his friends that if they wanted to borrow the ball, they had to include him in the game.

After his mother passed away, the teenager decided to learn to ride a bicycle. He applied to a foreign foundation for a new bike to ride across Ghana to raise awareness about discrimination against the disabled. Eventually, he won a triathlon in the United States and learnt to make prosthesis to help other disabled people in Ghana. Emanual went on to receive international awards for changing the Ghanian perception of the disabled and giving them a chance at education and sports.

Ghanians were mesmerised by his courage. People who are better off than him asked: “If he can do it, why can’t I?”

His friend commented in the documentary about him, “When you do something from your heart, you will do it well.”

This can-do attitude determines the success of many people I know, whether they are baking cakes from home, translating for overseas clients or writing for a publication.

- by Chong Sheau Ching



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