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The ONE OVERLOOKED DIFFERENCE Between Success And Failure

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence….” –Calvin Coolidge

Yesterday I was going through a box of old books I was finally letting go of. I came across Character Building, by one of our greatest Americans, Booker T. Washington. It’s composed of a collection of Sunday talks he gave to his students at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now known as Tuskegee University), which he founded and famously transformed into a massive success.

I flipped right to a chapter titled The Cultivation of Stable Habits. The opening hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks: “I am going to speak to you a few minutes this evening upon the matter of stability…” (italics mine).

I proceeded to read on, and much like the song Killing Me Softly (made famous by Roberta Flack and the Fugees), Booker T. Washington’s words were killing me maybe not so softly!…

“I want you to understand when you start out in school, that no individual can accomplish anything unless he means to stick to what he undertakes...”

Wow–talk about cutting to the quick!

I began to recollect the myriad of instances where I failed to stick to what I had started. This is something that my family and friends have rightfully disrespected about me.

I’ve always been interested in several things: natural health and fitness, writing, movies, investing… and the betterment of the world I live in. At one time or another, I have tried my hand in these activities, yet have never succeeded in any serious way.

I have also moved a lot.

There has been a pattern of running away from challenge.

When we undertake something new, there is always a period of challenge. It takes a time of “stick-to-itiveness” necessary before real results come. I’ve always been too impatient for results, and when I didn’t get them, I moved on. I did the same with diets, and workout strategies, etc.

When I was in my early twenties, I wrote several screenplays with a school friend, but then gave up on them too early, when something else got my attention (I’d become friends with the pastor of a “church” and somehow convinced myself that helping this ministry was more important than following through with my talents and skills. I understand why I thought this way, and learned a tremendous amount about myself–apparently necessary–but looking back, I sure wish I could have back the twenty years I spent on this toxic side road!).

There is a certain boredom that needs to be overcome in the day-to-day work needed to make a success out of anything, and as a child and even adult, I never developed the necessary work ethic to power my way through this.

The book Atomic Habits by James Clear deals with this subject and others in a profound way. I recommend almost anyone who has any interest in succeeding in anything to consider reading it (and no, I’m not making a dime from promoting it).

The ONLY thing I can think of that I have stuck with is Christian meditation. It’s something I’ve made a daily practice of for nearly forty years. I’m hardheaded as hell, and one would think I’d be a lot further ahead in life from this practice alone, but here I am! And yet, I don’t regret the time spend with this practice at all! In some ways, I believe it saved my life. I may be the slowest improver of all time, but like the hare, I’m getting there!

So here I am, back to where I started in a way. I have this blog, where I write about natural health, success, and freedom. Things haven’t changed much. The only difference is that I’m finding myself becoming more consistent in pursuing my gifts and interests. I hope you find these posts useful in your own life. Please respond a the end of this article if you do, or even if you don’t. Positively-inspired feedback is great!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “God’s will.” A friend of mine, whom I greatly respect, has been talking to me about this. This idea always conjures up visions of doing something scary, dangerous, or outside my own sense of what fulfills me. And yet, something tells me that God’s will may be the same as what attracts us at the core of our being.

And rather than chasing the latest “inspiration” that can lead us off on so many side tracks, I believe that God wants to see stability from us, first and foremost. He wants to see us making a positive difference in this world, and actually succeed in our personal, family, and vocational lives. He wants us to inspire and attract others by the kind of lives we are leading. And He wants to see REAL, tangible results.

Booker T. Washington was the kind of man who–in my mind–checked these boxes. He came “Up From Slavery” to become a true success, and more importantly, he helped countless others do the same. In short, through God’s guidance, he changed the world.

WE can change the world for the better too. I believe it starts with being objective about ourselves. It can start with meditation, and prayer, and reading the Bible, and other things, but doing any one or a combination of these things is not a guarantee that you will find true objectivity. But one big clue that you either have it or you don’t, should be that you are STABLE. If you do not stick to your undertakings, then you are not stable.

I’m not talking about realizing that certain things you may have started are not worth sticking to. I’m talking about the whole of your life. Are you willing to really look at it objectively? If so, you will clearly see where you’re doing well, and where you still lack.

I wish you success in all you undertake.

Patrick Rooney is the Founder of He promotes natural health, success, and freedom during chaotic times. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].

4 thoughts on “The ONE OVERLOOKED DIFFERENCE Between Success And Failure”

  1. Patrick, You are an inspiration to many. You made a difference in SRC and you are truly missed. The decision to quit your mission might come from God because the person he needed you to reach was accomplished. God Bless.

    1. Denise, that is so sweet! Made my day. We never knows how we affect people unless we hear from them. I hope you’re having a great Mother’s Day. We miss you a bunch!

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