Successful people have core values. They have defined and specific mandates by which they live. Mandates that make up who they are, that reflect what they believe. John Wooden, legendary basketball coach at UCLA, lived strictly by seven creeds that his dad implemented in him. Kept in his wallet and reviewed each day, they are as follows:
- Be true to yourself.
- Help others.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the scriptures.
- Make friendship a fine art.
- Build shelter against a rainy day.
- Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.
Consider the Greek story of Sisyphus. He eavesdropped on a conversation the gods were having about the meaning of life. Mortals were’t supposed to know what the gods talked about in their private meetings, and the gods were very upset when Sisyphus told his friends what the meaning of life was. As was the custom, Sisyphus was sentenced to a creative punishment. The gods had Sisyphus push a large rock up a long, steep hill until he reached the top. Then the rock would roll down the hill and he would have to start all over again. This he would do for eternity.
The gods watched as Sisyphus took a different approach each time he pushed the rock up the hill. He went cautiously the first time, fast the next time, slow after that, and then gracefully. Each trip up the hill, he had a different purpose. “Because he had a purpose, Sisyphus stayed focused on his task and pushed the rock with intensity. He actually enjoyed the challenge of coming up with different ways to push the rock and took pride in that ability. In all, he did a great job of pushing that rock” (Ken Ravizza, Tom Hansen).
We’ve all got our own rocks. Sometimes they’re easy to push up the hill, and sometimes it’s harder. They roll back down the hill and we start again. Regardless of the challenge, you cannot meaningfully overcome it without a very specific purpose in every step forward, and in every inch that rock moves. I recommend writing down your core values and dictating situations according to them. At the end of the day, your goals may not be reached and that rock may roll down the hill, but the true definition of success is the pride that you take in standing up for what you believe- against the steep hill of judgement and the huge boulder of discouragement.