“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” said hockey great Wayne Gretzky. This is failure by default. Of course, if you do take the shot, you still may not score. If you were a terrible hockey player, you might only score once out of 99 attempts, but you’d still be ahead of the guy who never scores because he never tries!
Why do so many people not take a real shot at life? The most obvious answer is fear of failure. Or maybe they’ve convinced themselves that they cannot win, no matter how hard they try. Often, they have tried many times and they have failed repeatedly. Each failure was painful, so they refuse to brush themselves off and get back in the game. These people often fill their days with diversionary activities that are pleasurable and do not induce a fear of failure. They replace work (doing productive things that serve a meaningful purpose) with play (doing pleasurable things mainly because they are pleasurable).
Many of them will tell you that they do plan to get in the game and take a shot, but they have a million and one reasons to explain why they are not doing so yet. They have a health issue that they first must resolve, or they need more money, or they need to upgrade their skills, or they are trying to convince their wives, etc.
There is a world of difference between collecting hockey cards and playing hockey on an organized team, between “looking for a job” and really looking for a job, between writing a book no one will ever read and getting paid to write a book which will be published. Diversionary activities are not necessarily evil. They serve a purpose, as a way to relax and rest after we’ve put in a good day of work. However, they should never become a substitute for real effort.
“Undercover Boss” is a TV show everyone should watch. The CEO of a large company goes “undercover” and gets a “Joe” job within his own company. He is usually embarrassed because he does poorly at the “Joe” job. However, he always shows why he possesses a winning character: He doesn’t quit trying to do the “Joe” job. He usually laughs at himself for not doing the job well and doesn’t get too offended when others tease him.
Remember, the CEO didn’t start life as a CEO. He had to learn to walk, eat with a spoon and tie his shoelaces, just like you and me. And he certainly must have had a lot of failures along the way. The difference between him and the non-winner, is that he wasn’t afraid to take every shot at success that life offered him and he believed that he deserved to succeed. The winner believes in his own potential, realizes the importance of hard work, and never quits. He is, otherwise, not necessarily much smarter or more talented than the average person.
Here is a good motto to remember on your way to success: “Believe that everything in life depends on God and act as though everything in life depends on you.” You may never become a great hockey star or a CEO, but you will be a success!