Success Needs No Excuse!

Success Needs No Excuse!

Written by Mark

Topics: Uncategorized

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Dare to be great.  Not just good but great. There’s this set path that we’re “supposed” to be on.  A template life.  Anyone who strays from this is considered a failure in some way.

If you don’t graduate college in 4 years.

If you don’t get a job right after school.

If you take time to follow your dreams and desires.

If you somehow stray in any way you are looked upon as an eccentric failure. My most “successful” friend was the one who dropped out of college to start a mortgage company.  When he dropped out people judged.  His subsequent success needs no excuses.    A friend of mine from work once told me about a friend of his who was one of the best break dancers he ever knew.  Break dancing was his passion.  It was what he was good at.  But it was a risk to pursue his passion, as the chance of him making it in this profession was slim.  So he settled.  He got a pretty good job at a pretty good company making a pretty good salary.  He could have been great.  He could have failed.  He’ll never know, because he never tried.

My great uncle once told me a story.  There was a young boy named Timmy.  His parents bought him a pony for his birthday.  All the parents in the neighborhood talked about how great his parents were.  They worked so hard.  They loved their son so much.   They bought him a pony.  He was the happiest kid on the block.  “What great parents.”  Then Timmy fell off his pony.  He broke his leg.  It never healed properly.  Timmy would now walk with a slight limp for the rest of his life.  “What horrible parents,” everyone said.  “How could they have bought a pony for Timmy at such a young age?”  World War II rolled around.  Everyone Timmy’s age was drafted.  A lot of them were killed.  But Timmy wasn’t drafted.  He had that limp, and was ineligible.  That pony his parents bought him when he was 6 years old that he fell off of causing a lifelong injury ended up sparing his life.  Or did that injury stop Timmy from becoming a national hero?  It’s easy to look back and judge your actions based on how the outcome turned out.  It’s impossible to know how decisions made today will pan out in the future. Why wonder though how things might have turned out?  The most successful people are the ones who dare to be great.  Those who say shut up to the voices in their head that tell them, “to settle and be safe and not step outside their comfort zone”.

Failure needs explanation. This failure instills a fear in us which prevents us from taking the necessary risks to be great.  Tell that fear to shut up!  We were once told as children that we could grow up to be anything we wanted.  I wonder when that optimism died?  Live a life without regret.  Follow your dreams.  Take that chance.  Do what you want.  Dare to be great!

There once was a pretty good student
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn’t terrific at reading,
He wasn’t a whiz-bang at math,
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn’t find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing
Since nobody taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
5+5 needn’t always add up to be 10;
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school,
And the student was not an exception:
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town,
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough,
And he soon had a sneaking suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state
Which had pretty good aspirations
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.

Poem by Charles Osgood.

Photo From Flickr

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15 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Hackman says:

    You have heard it time and time again but it is so true. Sacrifice is key. I think it is important to have the support of family and friends, because sometimes that sacrifice seems too great, too unbearable. But it is that sacrifice and perseverance that makes someone great. Even if it may not lead to the ultimate goal that you intended, it opens other doors. It is not so much the goal that shapes a person, but the journey to get there. But I agree, why not shoot for the stars. You only live once. I think.

    • Mark says:

      Hackman well said! You only live once. Why not shoot for the stars?! If you fail, try again, or at least know that you tried. The journey of sacrifice and perseverance is what shapes us. Each journey where we push our own personal boundaries expands our abilities and ways of thinking which can be applied to future endeavors. Having the support of family and friends is very important. In my life, some have been more supportive than others. It seems counter intuitive that everyone wouldn’t want to support someone who follows their dreams. However, in the moment someone may get an uneasy feeling. They may feel its a personal attack on their own life choices. Normally the most skeptical people are the one’s insecure with their own choice of a life path. There are a lot of decisions to make when trying to follow what you believe in. The financial burden and societal pressures can be overwhelming. Sacrifice IS key. Thanks for dropping by Hackman!

  2. I love the poem at the end! Eye opening!

    You are right, there is no way to know that the future holds, be it failure or success. The only way to know anything is to pursue it until it is reality. For those things that are our passion, if we do not pursue them they will fade away. For things that we possess greatness in, if we ignore them we will become mediocre.

    Focus on pursuing your dreams and improving your strengths! Love it.

    • Mark says:

      The poem speaks a rhythmic eerie truth. Pretty good is in fact pretty bad. Why settle for mediocrity? David, absolutely we must pursue our passions before they fade away! We cannot fail to attempt things we might achieve greatness at. The real failure is not even trying. Glad you liked the post David!

  3. Earl says:

    By spending some time pondering ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ if we choose to take a risk in life, rarely will anyone find a valid reason for choosing the ‘pretty good’ over potential greatness. Sure, we may fall and we may fall hard if we chase after our true goals, but we won’t fall into an infinite void. We can easily dust ourselves off and begin again.

    One of my favorite quotes is: Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” (Helen Keller)

    And I try to keep that it mind as often as possible!

    • Mark says:

      What is the worst that can happen? Those that are the most successful, most happy, and most fulfilled in life are those that take the risks. Accepting pretty good over potential greatness is what leads to regrets down the road. I really like that Helen Keller quote Earl! I have heard many Helen Keller jokes, but not many of her quotes. That one is great. Powerful. People succeed because they try. Failure is one step on the road to success. We won’t fall into an infinite void, but it’s this fear that grips us that we must push pass!

  4. Wilson says:

    Hey what’s up @DavidCrandell I know you…

    Anyway great article Mark the story about the pony makes you think that is for sure. There are so many great points you make here.

    Specially the one about dropping out of college you’re seen as a failure. I’m in this category. But these people don’t understand I was doing what they wanted me to be, not what I wanted to be, enough rant.

    I’ll tell people one thing usually, I would rather see you fail at something you love than succeed at something you hate.

    Here’s the deal if you can have a purpose and a strong enough desire and perseverance you can make it with or without a college education. Look at the top billionaires, and not just them, look at anybody who has been successful at anything.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks Wilson I’m glad you like the post! Too often people who drop out of college are viewed in a negative light. There is a negative perception and people jump to unfair conclusions. It’s unfair to make assumotions without even understanding the situation. There is such an incredible number of people that have dropped out of college or never gone that were extremely successful. A lot of times people take a break from school to pursue their own business opportunities, take time for their families, personal reasons, etc.

      I’m not saying college is a bad thing. Only that just because someone does not follow the template life path completely, does not mean they are a failure. That the people who go their own way end up being the most successful. College can be an important tool. We never know what will end up happening. Dropping out might have been the best thing. It could have afforded time and focus on things that propels that person to success in the future, or limit opportunities because they don’t have a college degree. We just don’t know what the future holds.

      I completely agree about rather seeing someone fail at something they love than succeed at something they hate. Imagine being so incredibly successful beyond your wildest dreams at something you hate… What a catch 22… A scary conundrum…

      The most successful people are those who blaze their own path.

  5. Alvin says:

    Yet another great article.

    I feel that many people do indeed decide upon the safe route and do not follow their passion in life. I personally feel that those that do not follow their passion in life, end up in a number of different positions.

    They may resent themselves or others for their life decision
    They act recklessly and make terrible decisions in order to compensate for their “safe” lives
    They convince themselves that their passion, the thing they wanted most in life, they no longer desire.

    Its sad really.

  6. Mark says:

    Thank you Alvin! Most people do not follow their passion in life. This can be due to financial constraints, fear of failure, or template life pressure. Whatever the reasons, it can lead to having regrets later in life. That I could have, would have, should have syndrome. There is this pressure to join the rat race, conform, settle, and safely glide through life. The positive is safety, yet the negative is giving up a large portion of your time and personality. Instead of pursuing the things you want to pursue and living the life you want to live, you spend your time doing things that someone else tells you to. It’s easy to conform to the status quo, but its hard to break out of the template standard life, and find your own way.

  7. Srinivas Rao says:


    You and have I had a brief chance to get to know each other through reading each others blogs so you know that I’m the epitome of much of what you talk about here. Most of my friends are doctors, lawyers, engineers from top schools.

    Me, I’m a beach bum with a Berkeley degree :) and loving every minute of it. When I interviewed Dave Navarro from the launch coach, he actually told me “build your lifestyle first and your work around that.” 8 months of unemployment and no job after graduate school turned me into a hardcore surfer and enabled me to do exactly that even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I also quit a job in two weeks after 6 months of searching and people thought I was nuts. A few weeks later I found myself where I’m at today doing something I love.

    • Mark says:

      Srinivas, we have definitely had the chance to get to know each other reading each others blogs and such. We have a lot of similar mentalities and beliefs. Your straying from the herd mentality post really rings true. The most successful people are the one’s who stray from the herd. It can be hard to stray, but complacency is evil.

      I think it’s awesome you’re loving every minute of being a beach bum. I’ve surfed a few times. I love it. But I’m horrible. (See facebook profile pic lol). I really like that “build your lifestyle first and your work around that” philosophy. Normally in the template life with a herd mentality the philosophy is “Build your work and your lifestyle around it”. I try and live the first philosophy and am working on building my lifestyle now. I think it’s great you are following your dreams and monetizing your passions. I read somewhere about your dream trip of surfing around the world. I can’t wait to read about it when you go!

  8. Incredibly insightful post that I read twice.

    You have a great voice Mark that I look forward to reading more of. This post nails some key points that I needed to hear. Thanks for being the angel on my shoulder today :)

  9. Mark says:

    Stanford, thanks for dropping by! It’s a concept that rings true, and I’m glad it struck a point you needed to hear. The most successful people are those that take the risk to truly go their own way, and don’t just settle for “pretty good”. As for the angel on the shoulder, I haven’t heard that from someone before, but thanks! :)

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