The Open Road

Cliches Old and New on the Road to Success

Tonight, I will give a brief talk to a group of ladies on the road to success.

There is actually a road to Success in Central California. Traveling west from Porterville on highway 190, you will soon see signs indicating that you are, in fact, on the road to Success whether you knew it or not.

Life can be like that.

But know these things:

#1 - The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure, defeat, disappointment, and loss. We recently rented and viewed, "We Are Marshall." There is a poignant moment in this film set in 1971 about a team, a university, and a city coming back from the loss of an entire football team and many community leaders in one fatal airplane crash. The question arises about whether or not winning is everything and the coach muses that he has always felt that way and will feel that way again in the future. However, in that moment, what counted was getting the team on the field, showing up, risking loss, and playing the game. Once they had achieved that, they could begin to win somewhere down the road. You will never reach your destination if you don't get on the road. Take the risk.

#2 - The road to success has some sharp and unexpected turns. You can't anticipate all of them, but you better be flexible enough to turn with them or you will find yourself stuck in a field or gully or worse. Pay attention to the signs and to the road. Anticipate what you can, but don't rely on predictability. The thing about this road is that it can change in a moment and you need to be ready for change, crisis, and opportunity.

#3 - The road to success has some pit stops. Take them. There used to be only one stop on the West Virginia Turnpike between Princeton and Charleston. If you didn't take it, a little time card would show whether or not you had been speeding. There was no point. People would stop to kill time to cover up their haste. On the road of life you must stop to rest, refresh, and renew. You could press on past the rest places, but you do so to your detriment and the detriment of your cause. You will not be your best. You will not be as productive and efficient in your use of energy. Take the rest stops along the way.

#4 - There are narrow places, slow downs, road blocks, and other forms of frustration along the way that call for attention and intention that may not come naturally to you, but will be necessary to get through to success. You may believe that sitting in stop and go traffic is the most wasteful, useless, and infuriating thing you could ever be doing, but the Designer of the Road who is the Master of All Traffic and the Source, Force, and Course of your dreams and goals knows better. Develop techniques for stilling your restless soul and channeling your energy toward alternate tasks so that no time is lost. There can be and is purpose in every moment.

#5 - There are inclines and declines on the road to success. Sometimes it takes all your power to climb and sometimes you coast. It is all one road and one destination. Just as it is never always easy, it will not always be hard. Keep on keeping on through the difficulties.

#6 - There will be switchbacks - especially if your goals are as lofty as a high mountain peak. In mountain driving, which I love, there are 180 degree reversals - sometimes 360 degree turns around a hill. If you are watching a compass, it can be very confusing. You get the impression you are going away from your goal even though you are making progress. Switchbacks in driving and setbacks in life are part of the process. You can't get there "as the crow flies." You have to follow the flow of the road and it is determined by the topography of your times and circumstances. Keep your map and compass handy, watch the signs, and keep on keeping on.

#6 - There will be speed limits, sped bumps, warning signs, and arbitrary rules along the way. Honor them. They are purposeful. Someone who knows the road far better than you put them there. The Engineer of the Universe knows the science because He invented it and has called you to your purpose. None of these "hindrances" are designed to prevent your ultimate success.

#7 - The road will end or merge with another. I remember riding country roads with my dad at night on vacations and other times knowing that he was lost, but not flustered. He quoted his father with words that made little sense to me at the time. "Son," he said, "my daddy always said that all roads lead somewhere." And he was right. Another old boy just scratched his head when asked for directions at the country filling station, finally muttering, "Mister, you can't get there from here."

But you can. It may take some course corrections, more time than you allotted, more energy, a lot of patience, repairs on your vehicle, multiple vehicles, and change in your own life, but YOU CAN GET THERE.

You are on the road to success, whether or not you know it.

Stay with it and see you there!