Have you ever met someone who says, ‘I want to be successful’? You probably have said that or possibly have friends that say that all the time. In today’s culture, there is a flood of books and youtube videos that speak about it. So there shouldn’t be any excuse for why any person wouldn’t know how to achieve anything that they really wanted and valued.
Have you ever heard this story:
One winter morning after having breakfast in the school’s cafeteria and talking about success, two college friends decided to go and visit a professor in his office. They wanted his take on how to be successful. The professor waved them in after the quick tap of cold knuckles on his opened office door.
“What can I do for you guys?” the professor quickly getting to the point. He was known for his shortness and quick no nonsense answers…which was the reason the friends chose him. They knew he would answer them straight.
“We just wanted some advice on success and how to be sure we would be successful in our fields of study when we graduate” the friends were both juniors and waited with baited breath for the concise words of wisdom the professor would say.
The professor gets up from his desk and walks over to his floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall bookshelf and began to run his fingers over the spines of his collections seemingly looking for a special book.
“ah ha” he croaked shaking his head up and down.
He pulled out a book that looked as thick as War & Peace, placing it on his desk and tapping it with his four fingers like it was a piano while he looked the boys in the eye.
“Read this book and I guarantee you will be successful. Return it when done. You may leave now.”
The friends looked at each other raised their eyebrows and shoulders not sure what had just happened, yet nodded and said “Thanks.”
One month later one of the friends came back to return the book and the professor noticed that his friend wasn’t with him.
“Where is your friend.”
“He’s mad because you gave us a book with nothing but empty pages in it, so he decided he didn’t want to see your face. His words.”
“And why are you here? Why aren’t you mad?”
“Because I found it!”
“hmph…you did huh? So you know the secret of success then.”
What the sole friend found was that in one and only one of the pages deep in the middle of the book running vertically in small font along with the spine was the phrase: Seek And You Shall Find.
The professor asked, “Why did you find the phrase?”
“I felt the same that my friend did at first and I threw the book down in my dorm room and forgot about it until this morning. When I found it I felt like there had to be a reason you gave it to us. I didn’t know what that reason was so I decided today to search every page just to kill time before I came to give it back to you.”
“And what did you find out?”
“Nothing really. Probably that you have a bad sense of humor.”
“Let me tell you what you now know that your friend will never know. You know what it takes for success. You know the secret.”
“I don’t get it.”
“You know that success takes effort, it takes patience, it takes not seeing anything but persevering anyway. It takes trusting that people who give you advice isn’t wasting your time. It takes curiosity. It takes going through frustration. That is the secret to success…seeking until you find. You can leave now.”
What did you think success was?