Skill, Character, Or Luck?

“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” -John Wooden

This week what really stood out to me was the difference between skill, character, or luck that lead to success. From an outside perspective people will usually see a successful person and think that they are just lucky. They happened to be at the right place at the right time, or just were blessed to have a cool idea pop into their head. However, what the outsiders don’t see is the risk, blood, sweat and tears that went into their success. They don’t see the years of hard work and prior rejection that this person faced. They only see the success. Though luck can play a role in success, but “Luck is the difference between making a million dollars and ten million or a hundred million. It’s not the difference between success and failure.” Luck doesn’t just happen, and if it does and that is the only thing the person has relied on it will never last. The second factor that a lot of people look at for success is skill or talent. You do need some skill to have success. You can’t be successful at something you are not at least capable or decent at doing. Talent can be a tremendous blessing, but can only get you so far and as talked about in the readings,“Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods were born with extraordinary talent. But without thousands of practice free throws and countless hours on the practice tee, neither would have become champions. Mastering a skill requires dedication, so character has to come before talent.” Character comes down to persistence and perseverance. When I played high school football we had some great talent, however, we were also always the smallest team whoever we played against. We had some offensive/defensive lineman who were only 150 pounds. However, our head coach used to always say “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” That is something our team had more than most any other team and it lead us to get third at state and also teaching me this valuable lesson. In the end it’s our commitment to developing character through persistence and dedication that will lead to success.


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