Failure is the Line of Least Persistence
There likely will be setbacks and occasional self-doubts
on the road to maximizing your charisma. You're going to
need patience and persistence. But it's important to
keep moving toward your goal.
I'm reminded of a friend who had a life-changing
experience in a cross-country ski race in Minnesota. He
had moved there not long before. In an enthusiastic, if
not realistic, effort to adapt to the local culture, he
bought some skis, practiced a bit, and entered an
advanced competition. He took off like a flash at the
sound of the starter's gun. But after the first
quarter-mile in near-zero temperatures, he knew he was
in over his head, hopelessly outclassed by other
competitors swiftly gliding past him. He was soon alone
in a frozen wilderness, and his thoughts turned gloomily
to fatigue and defeat.
He had initially hoped to finish in a couple of hours.
But as the cold seared his lungs and the exertion
weakened his arms and legs, he all but gave up on his
goal. If there had been a way to surrender, he would
have. But being in deep snow in the middle of the woods,
his only way out was to ski out. So he pushed aside the
pain and pessimism, and kept skiing.
He imagined a lodge with a roaring fire that might be
just around the bend--but it wasn't. He imagined a
rescue vehicle slicing through the drifts to pick him
up--but it never did. He even imagined a helicopter
dropping down to whisk him away--but, of course, that
So on and on he skied until, at last, he came to a sign:
FINISH LINE, 1/4 MILE. He couldn't believe it!
Energized, he sprinted that last quarter mile and
finished in a time not far from his original goal.
My friend often repeats that story, the winds more
frigid and his muscles more aching with each retelling.
It's become a part of his self-identity, and the memory
of his endurance and ultimate triumph has gotten him
through other of life's difficult scrapes and struggles.
The moral, as he sees it, is that if you keep slogging
ahead, refuse to give up, and stay as positive as you
possibly can, you'll accomplish your goal, or something
very close to it.
I could hardly argue with that. So even if you have
trouble imagining success, keep moving along that snowy
path in the woods. And before you know it, you'll have
success beyond your imaginings.