You may not feel great or as if you have hero-like qualities of your own; even the apostle Paul lamented, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”1 Yet God can make more of us than we are, if we avail ourselves of the help of His Son, Jesus. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”2
Successful Icelanders were quoted in a recent newspaper article giving answers to the same set of questions. One response to the question “Do you have any life advice for the readers?” got my attention: “On Sunday, always look forward to the working week.”
That’s easier said than done! I thought.
For my ninth birthday, I got an instruction book on watercolor painting. I was thrilled and eagerly flipped through its pages, only to frown in disappointment—the entire first quarter of the book consisted of tonal exercises and descriptions of brush strokes and color mixing. How boring! Sighing, I skimmed the book’s next section: advice on various paintbrushes and grades of paper. I don’t need all this. Where’s the fun part?
I think most parents would agree that the highest hopes we have for our children are for their health and happiness. Recently, I’ve been wondering if there was something more specific that I could be asking God for on my daughter Audrey’s behalf, and I considered praying for her future success.
All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals.
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.
—Psalm 37:23 NIV
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
—Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968)
Faced with a major project or challenge? You probably have a general idea of where you want to go, but it takes a strategy, a plan of the steps to take in order to reach that objective.
Planning is an investment. To plan wisely and well takes time, effort, patience‚ good research, and counsel—and for those of us who include a spiritual dimension, time in prayer—but a well-formed plan will pay for itself many times over.
Some people have been so discouraged when they’ve failed to meet their goals that they’ve given up on having any at all, so that they aren’t disappointed by the “inevitable” failure. There’s a lot of advice available today on this topic, and there isn’t actually anything too tough or mysterious about setting and reaching your goals.
Here are five easy steps to follow for success.
Children—and many adults, including this one—love the story of Aladdin. Adventure, magical artifacts, good versus evil, and the ultimate success story of a beggar boy being transformed into a prince by an awesome genie. There’s something appealing about that easy success. Instead of having to discipline himself and work hard to succeed, Aladdin uses magic.
When my boss agreed to let me start working from home, I was excited about the prospect and confident that I could do an even better job than working at the office, but he responded with a knowing smile, “Just remember, I may call sometimes just to see if you’re at your desk. Don’t let me find you in the kitchen!”—My boss knew my love for good food and cooking!—“Just be at your desk by 9:00 every morning, and everything will flow from there.”