RESEARCH has shown that people who become champions, the men and women who make it to the top of their career are those who accept that they and they alone are in charge of their own lives. They win by dreaming big, setting tough goals, putting plans on the table and damning the consequencies. Their pedigree is character, dedication and the pursuit of excellence.
Champions serve to demonstrate that winners are ordinary people who never have anything to prove.
So, what is holding you back? Three keys to living without limits are clarity, competence and concentration. Clarity means that you are absolutely clear about who you are, what you want and where you are going. You write down your goal and you make plans to accomplish it. You do something everyday to move toward your goal. Competence means that you are very good in your chosen field. You apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do, focusing on becoming outstanding in the 20 per cent of tasks that contribute to 80 per cent of your results. You dedicate yourself to continuous learning and self improvement. You must realise that excellence is a moving target.
Concentration is the discipline to force yourself to focus single-mindedly on one thing and stay with it until it is finished. Concentration is perseverance without distraction, keeping to your goals, when you apply yourself to your dreams, thinking in terms of possibilities you move ever closer to the realisation of your dreams. However, how badly do you want success? You can achieve anything if you want it enough. It isn’t so much whether you can win, it is much more a question of whether you are willing to pay the price. Paying the price may mean years of low income from part-time jobs, to give you the time to acquire the knowledge and skills that will allow you to live your dreams.
It might mean leaving your family and friend by moving to a new area, perhaps halfway around the world, where your talents are in demand. Whatever the price, you must decide if you are willing to pay the freight. Winners always accept paying prices willingly.
Once your dream is in place, the next step in your championship journey is to develop the dream into a vision. The vision is a more focused concept of how the dream will become reality. All great champions have a clear vision of how far their talents can take them. Goals are the fuel of desire. A winner’s next step is to break the vision down into manageable goals that will create and maintain maximum desire. The first step in creating burning desire is to decide exactly what you want.
Goal setting is essential for success. Goals, unlike dreams, follow a special set of rules. The power of goal setting should never be taken lightly in the making of champions. Setting goals allows you to focus your conscious and subconscious energy on a distant flag keeping you motivated along the way. Smart goal setting follows specific rules. They are: Specific, motivational, attainable, relevant and trackable.
A specific goal is to be the greatest journalist of all time. That is a long term goal. This can be broken down to short term goal of being the winner of the Cable News Network African Journalist of the year. This serves to boost your confidence in winning other laurels.
Two, the goals you set must have the motivational power to excite you enough to enable you invest time and effort necessary to realise your goals. That is why champions set big goals, because only big goals have the power to make them work harder to gain their objective. Three, although your goal must be lofty, it must be attainable given the time required with your dedication. Someone must have achieved goals near to it if it is attainable.
Four, your goal of becoming a champion must be relevant. For example, Nigeria is now in the throes of poverty and unemployment, an ambition to win the Nobel Prize for Economics, in order to pull off an economic miracle of widespread prosperity would be a most relevant ambition.
Finally, for a goal to be trackable you must have a way of knowing if you are moving closer to your long term goal. That is, you must have past champions upon whose achievement you can build on. For your ideas to be on track in the field of economics for example, you must build on the works of development economists such as Karl Marx, John Mayuard Keynes and Amartya Sen.
Our champion for today is Robert Schuman, the French statesmen who founded the European Coal and Steel Community and worked for the establishment of the political and economic unity of Europe culminating in the European Union. Born in Luxembourg in June 1886, died in Metz in September 1963, Schuman was a member of the French National Assembly from 1919 till he was arrested by the Gestapo after the German occupation of France in 1940. He became a minister just before he was arrested and deported to Germany. He escaped in 1942 to France where he rejoined the French resistance.
After the war, Schuman rose to great prominence. He was Minister of Finance, then Prime Minister from 1947 to 1948 assuring parliamentary stability in a period of revolutionary charge and partisan insurrection. He led the Third Force, a coalition of intellectuals opposed to both the Communists and the Gaullists: forces intent on changing the French constitution by intimidation rather than the ballot box.
In the last days of his first premiership, he proposed plans that later resulted in the Council of Europe and the single market-European Economic Community. Become Foreign Minister in 1948, he retained the post in different governments till 1953.
As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Schuman was instrumental to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Schuman was a signatory to the statutes of the Council of Europe; the Treaty of Washington even though the French National Assembly declined to ratify it. He later served as Minister of Justice before becoming the first President of the European Parliament, which bestowed on him by acclamation the title: “Father of Europe”. He was one of the founding fathers of the European Union.
In 1958 he was given the Karlsprecis, an award by the German city of Aachen to champions of European peace, commemorating Charlemgne, ruler of what is today France and Germany, who resided and is buried at Aachen. Celibate and modest, Schuman was very religious, a Bible scholar and revolutionary thinker.
He was also a courageous political activist. In May 2004, he was being considered for beautification as a prelude to being declared a saint. A social science university was named after him at Strasbourg, France and the administrative headquarters of the University of Limerick is named Robert Schuman Building in Ireland.
His unalloyed testament was that he initiated and implemented the law paying social security benefits to the aged and the unemployed in France from 1947.