The Greatest Test of All...Time

Funny thing about success, with it comes many, many valuable insights and wisdom that nothing else in the world can teach you. The only caveat is the perspective in which you are measuring the knowledge. It’s been my experience that the first time someone has acquired the sweet and succulent taste of success, they want it again and again. However, with it also comes an extremely false sense of immediate bravado and overconfidence that it WILL happen again because…it’s supposed to, right?

I mean, c’mon. You’ve accomplished this incredible and worthy goal that took you a lot of hard work and effort to achieve. You watched as others weren’t willing to pay the price that you did because they weren’t hungry enough. You earned it through your blood, sweat and tears and by the sheer force of your will and determination you overcame every obstacle that would have stopped lesser persons! You are the Victor…Champion…King of the world; and with your newly minted title comes…ENTITLEMENT.

If you’ve ever wondered why duplicating success seems to be such a challenge, this is it. Winning big for the first time is a really exhilarating feeling. The challenge is, it often comes with an elixir that when consumed erases your memory of what it took to get there. As a result, you often stop doing the things that you did to achieve this goal and naively think that you will still get the same outcome. To your dismay, rarely does this ever happen. It’s called being a one hit wonder. The difference between the ones who experience short-term success vs. lifelong excellence; is this – TIME. Time is the greatest test of all. In nature and in our world, success over time is the gold standard for excellence.

Several years ago, I was invited to a Hall of Fame induction ceremony for a good friend of mine Lee Kemp. Lee was an Olympian, 3X World Champion, 3X NCAA Champion and arguably one of the greatest wrestlers ever produced from the USA. He was inducted into his fifth Hall of Fame due to his excellence over time. He set and achieved a level of brilliance for over a decade. He did not win one title and then rest on his laurels; he did it again, and again, and again.

When you think standards of greatness, names and monuments like the following come to mind: Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Babe Ruth, Jim Brown, The New York Yankees, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, The Coliseum, David, The Sistine Chapel, The Taj Mahal, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, etc. Though varied from individuals, teams, art and monuments; what they all have in common is one thing…they have stood the test of time.

For those of you, who have achieved some ridiculous and phenomenal success, please accept my sincere congratulations! You are not only worthy of the accomplishment; you have obviously earned it with your hard work and persistence. Now, before this acknowledgement goes to your head and you start to think that you are the second coming of the King, remember this. You ain’t seen nothing yet because you have only just begun. Stay steady and we’ll REALLY celebrate in about 10 years from now. That will be your grandest victory…the one that lasted…over time.