Some Secrets of Success
If at first you don’t succeed . . .
by Joanne Sincock (revised, originally published in 2005)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To consider what it means to succeed in life.
Preparation and materials
- Optional: you may wish to display the five secrets of success that appear in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3.
- Optional: you may also wish to use the Irish blessing ‘May the road rise up to meet you’ during the ‘Time for Reflection’ part of the assembly. An instrumental version is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mWaoGn_jTY (1.50 minutes long)
- Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the secrets of success’? All too often, people seem to be trying to sell us these secrets for a very high price.
- Social media constantly bombards us with success stories or tries to tempt us to seek success in different forms. If we go to any bookshop, we will find shelves and shelves of books offering us the keys to success. Many TV shows claim to give us all the tips we need to be an overnight success. If we google the phrase ‘secrets of success’, the search engine returns 759 million suggestions.
- Today, we’re going to think about five secrets of success, and you’re not even going to be charged for this valuable information!
- Secret 1: people. Dealing with other people can be difficult, but we all know that we should be well-mannered and polite. We need to accept the fact that we can’t please everybody. When we come across one of those people whom we can’t please no matter what we do, we need to learn to deal with them firmly, but respectfully and politely. Quite simply, the secret is to treat people as you would like to be treated.
- Secret 2: hard work. Despite what many people say, it is not easy to ‘get rich quick’ or to pass all of our exams without revising – it just doesn’t happen. To be successful, we need to work, and work hard. As Thomas Edison - possibly the most successful inventor of all time - said: ‘There is no substitute for hard work.’
- Secret 3: commitment. Expanding on the second secret, we need to make a commitment to success. We must be willing to make sacrifices and work long hours. Success will not happen overnight; it could take years. Are we prepared for years of frustration, hard work, ups and downs, dealing with people (good and bad), rejections and everything else that comes along with success?
- Secret 4: pride. We need to take pride in our work. Our work will be a reflection of us. We need to build our reputations for a solid foundation of success. We need to be true to ourselves and our work.
- Secret 5: goals. We need to be aware of what we want and how we want to achieve it. It’s not helpful to set off blindly without some planning of our goals. We need to use short-term, smaller goals to reach our long-term ultimate goal of success. This will keep any fear of failure at bay, too.
- Of course, these so-called secrets are mostly common sense and hard work. We all know these secrets. We just have to apply them and use them consistently.
Time for reflection
None of us can achieve something perfectly the first time we try it. Although we may not remember, we all fell down the first time we tried to walk. We are not born able to ride a bike or read a book – it takes practice, patience and time.
R. H. Macy failed five times before his store in New York caught on. Novelist John Creasey received 743 rejection slips before going on to have 562 books published. We shouldn’t worry about not succeeding; we should always try.
Several well-known quotations back this up.
- ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ (Thomas Edison)
- ‘Failure defeats losers, but it inspires winners.’ (Anonymous)
- ‘Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.’ (Arianna Huffington)
We need to remember that we don’t have to have the lead if we have the courage to come from behind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, ‘To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your path and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest. Always do what you are afraid to do.’
A traditional Irish blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
An instrumental version of the Irish blessing ‘May the road rise up to meet you’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mWaoGn_jTY (1.50 minutes long)