Are you responsible for your success and happiness or are other people? Is your spouse, company or country responsible for your success and happiness, or are you?
Everyone has a different idea of what success is, but almost everyone agrees that they want success in their relationships.
W. Clement Stone was brought up in a poor family. His father died when he was 3 years old and his death left the family impoverished because he had large gambling debts. He mother first worked as a dressmaker and later opened an insurance company. Stone began selling newspapers on the street in the south side of Chicago when he was 6 and had started his own newsstand by the time he was 13. He loved to read Horatio Alger stories about poor boys overcoming difficulties to become successful.
Later Stone began selling insurance by making cold calls, which he called “gold calls” which gives a sense of his optimism and powerful personality. He later hired other people to sell insurance and trained them how to succeed. He claimed he could tell within a few minutes of interviewing a potential salesperson if they would do well or not, probably based mostly on their confidence and willingness to try new things.
During his life, Stone gave over $275 million to charity including Christian and mental health organizations and civic groups. Not bad for a high school dropout.
Stone asked people he trained if they were 100% responsible for their life. If they said they thought so, he would tell them it was a yes or no question and expect a definite answer. He would ask this “Have you ever complained about anything?” If the person said yes, Stone would say that means:
1. You don’t take 100% responsibility for your life.
2. You have to acknowledge that you are responsible for absolutely everything that happens to you.
This is probably very difficult for most people to swallow. Most people say their failure is because the stock market dropped, their spouse was no good, the weather was too dry for crops, their parents were abusive, or their company just didn’t understand them.
George Washington Carver was born in an era in the southern part of the USA when blacks were not allowed in most schools. It would have been very easy for him to use that as an excuse and never become the great scientist that he was. He discovered over 325 uses for the peanut. But he said this: “99% of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”
Stone said that if you are going to have the life of your dreams, you will have to take full responsibility for your life. He also said “Regardless of what you are or what you have been, you can still become what you may want to be.”
Jesus said the same thing 2000 years ago, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 amazing power