Winning the War

Winning the War

22/05/2017 - Saira Iqbal
One of the most successful men I know grew up in the roughest streets of Bristol, and shared a cramped bedroom with his five brothers until he could leave the family home and ‘escape’ to his second choice university. Now a multi-millionaire cabinet minister, each of his milestones made it more and more apparent that his success was no simple stroke of luck.

There were no useful networks that his working class parents were a part of, there was no private school education to teach social poise; but there was drive that came from great ambition and pure determination.

There is a lot of research to suggest that importance of ambition and determination to success (McCann, 2015; Meier, 2011; Rath & Conchie 2008), yet little evidence on how we can develop these attributes.

If ambition, and determination are core principles of success, then why do some people have it in droves, whilst others pay no attention to life’s opportunities?

Why do some have an immense hunger to pursue their aspirations, whilst others are satisfied with living in the moment and focusing on the day as it comes?

Our recent white paper, Winning Attitudes, addresses this very issue. Our interviewees often described adversity, loss, pain and rejection as being the core, pivotal moments that changed the way they viewed themselves and the world around them, helping create the drive they needed to succeed.

“The loss created the drive.” Clive Jacobs, Entrepreneur, Holiday Autos, Travel Weekly (UK) and The Caterer

“The terrain to success is not a motorway, it is a swamp with ups and downs.” Jeremy Snape, Founder, Sporting Edge

“My father used to put me down, that drove me to prove myself. It gave me determination and focus.” Clive Jacobs, Entrepreneur, Holiday Autos, Travel Weekly (UK) and The Caterer

“You need to have survival mentality.” Adam Freeman-Pask, Olympian, Rowing

Similar to the experiences our interviewees shared, the aforementioned cabinet minister, after facing adversity and financial issues in his childhood, often stated that ‘he had to find a way out’. He knew ‘there was more out there for him’. His drive came from a psychological desire to move away from his childhood experience.

Taking this even further, one may ask, ‘does there need to be some type of adversity in order for success to happen?’

McCann (2015) suggests that using adversity as a means for success is a ‘Move From’ mind-set, where the biggest driver is a fear of failure. Success factors such as Burning Ambition, Dogged Determination, Unwavering Belief and Maximising Opportunities, are often triggered from a moment in adversity – such as a disadvantaged childhood.

Whilst specific events can result in a fear of failure, it is the winning mind-set that keeps us going: The Winners among us never give up. They persist, and are determined and unwavering in the pursuit of their goals and their dreams. It is their response to these adverse circumstances that ultimately results in a positive outcome.

“You need to keep going in one direction and strive. If there is a bump in the road, go around it.” Nicola Murphy, CEO, The River Group

“I was determined not to be dependent or reliant on anyone.” Clive Jacobs, Entrepreneur, Holiday Autos, Travel Weekly (UK) and The Caterer

I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. –Jimmy Dean on “Good Morning America,” ABC.

Some surrender.

Others gain a thirst to win.

You may need to battle your circumstances, but it is your attitude that determines whether you will allow your situation to make you kneel over and give up, or rise up through every blow, so you can win the war.

To read more about what makes up a Winning Attitude from the point of view of 42 business savvy corporate CEOs and edgy entrepreneurs, committed Olympic and sporting stars through to charismatic media personalities, please take a look at our White Paper.

Written by Saira Iqbal


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