With our two week “vacation” we had some terrific assignments to complete — watching a movie and listening to Earl Nightengale’s “The Strangest Secret.” As we watched one of the four suggested movies, we were to find the “tiny habits of persistence” that we have been studiously building over the past three months: DMP (our Definite Major Purpose in life, combined with burning desire), PMA (Positive Mental Attitude, no matter what), WPOA (or POA – our written Plan of Action to achieve our DMP), and MMA (our MasterMind Alliance teammates that we encourage regularly.)
Rudy made it pretty easy. This true story of a young man whose dream from pre-teen years was to play football at Notre Dame, but whose small stature, lack of athletic ability, lower middle class background, and family members discouragement all stood against its accomplishment. His best friend, and co-worker at the steel mill where his father also worked, was the only one who kept encouraging him to go for it.
When tragedy struck and this friend was killed on the job, Rudy’s burning desire just flamed higher — he immediately quit his job and moved to the Notre Dame area, where he met with continued rejection and discouragement. But he never slowed down, and his enthusiasm and PMA finally converted a priest at Notre Dame and the head groundskeeper at the college stadium to gradually and reluctantly agree to help him…becoming his MMA. The priest showed him how to achieve the grades necessary to be considered for entry to Notre Dame, and the coach, once he gained admittance, outlined what he had to do to try out for, and stay on the team, (his POAs) At the end, his incredible determination and courage, “heart” the coach called it, increased his MMA to include the entire team, and his very proud father and brother!
Shortly after watching this drama, I was catching up on reading teammates’ blogs, and discovered a new one from run4change, discussing his thoughts after a major race. He ended with “…maybe there is a more profound growth and goal that can be attained rather than just the number… (of miles run?). Is there any correlation between Rudy’s achievement of his goal and the runner’s thoughts about reaching his “number” goal?
As I thought about that, my mind jumped to Week 13 of Haanel’s MasterKeys, #17 — “but we often find that when we secure the things we thought we wanted, they do not have the effect we expected. That is, the satisfaction is only temporary, or possibly is the reverse of what we expected.” Years ago, a very wise mentor asked me why I wanted to reach my income goal, and for every answer I gave, he asked again, why? Now I wonder if that is how we find our DMP? At that time, I couldn’t come up with an answer that satisfied, but a seed was planted…
Rudy’s story also seems to illustrate “The Greatest Secret,” which describes “success” as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” or doing deliberately what one wants and deciding to pay the cost to achieve it. Whether a person wants to teach school, own a business, be skilled at his craft, be a faithful homemaker or a loving parent — all are worthy goals, and those who achieve them are “successes,” no matter how much money or power or prestige results.
All it takes is the courage to take the first step,.. but it is so much easier to just go along with the crowd, to conform rather than determining a goal and persistently thinking about, focusing on and working at it — this is the greatest secret. Could this be why Rudy’s friend at Notre Dame, who had the skill and opportunity to play on the team, didn’t — there was no goal, no focus, no burning desire…what sets apart the 5% who retire financially secure, happy and content. Just settling, drifting, going along to get along is so much more attractive, especially when we have so many safety nets in our society today — but that’s another part of Nightengales’ story (no opinions here!)