Jeffrey Fry has puzzled burned-out leaders and unmotivated civilians alike who were minutes away from throwing in the towel with this famous quote: “Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”
Those who aim to just make it through the day, relying on clear rules and someone else’s vision to function, are exhausted by the notion of summoning something out of nothing—stepping outside the known bounds of what’s been possible in the past to take ownership of their lives in pursuing something new: A success yet unimagined.
Once an inspired vision is clear to the one created to pursue it, the path unfolds before that person with only one requirement: demonstrate the gameness to overcome obstacles and land on your feet, and you will surely find success.
The anticipation of success is a crucial and underrated aspect of a winner’s mindset.
In seeking to adopt the gameness needed to see our vision through, it becomes the wind in our sails to which we can credit our strength of will.
Carving With Courage
It takes a dedicated mind and a visionary heart to invest in a dream, especially when it means trimming the “extra” in our lives that doesn’t align with the success we envision.
When Michelangelo devoted himself to carving the statue of David out of marble, he saw the invisible — and as a result, he did what most of us would consider impossible. “I saw the angel in the marble,” Michelangelo said, “and carved until I set him free.”
Because of his single-minded vision, he carved through stone to bring to life one of the most famous pieces of art known to man. I’m absolutely positive that no one else in the world who saw that block of marble pictured the same success. They lacked the eyes to see and the confidence to pursue the beauty hidden within it.
“I created a vision of David in my mind,” he said, “and simply carved away at everything that was not David.” Michelangelo pictured success–tasted it, even–and pursued it doggedly as he shed everything that had no place in his vision.
I have to say, coincidentally also being named David, that this quote strikes a chord in my soul. I know who I want to become, and I’m working to create him. Is my vision of David clear? Is it so clear that I can venture to carve away at everything that is not “David” in my life until what I’m left with is the success I dream of?
When I take the chisel and begin to carve, I’m anticipating success. I know that what is left behind will be something I am proud of. Therefore, I make sure of it.
Burning the Boats
It isn’t for nothing that people abandon the comfort of their ordinary lives and pursue greatness — it’s for a clear vision that they’re dead set on achieving.
When we anticipate the success that’s coming, we enable ourselves to act in ways that are counterintuitive to our fleshly desires. Instead of formulating any number of backup plans, we find ourselves able to fully commit to what we’ve set out towards.
A refined sense of purpose is what allows us to “burn the boats” as we press on through moments of pain and struggle so that we can reach the immeasurable true joy of having overcome them in service of our dream.
The attributes of gameness are inextricably tied to the anticipation of success. The core belief that triumph is right up ahead allows us to undergo the hardship that hard-won victory requires of us. How would you play a game that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would win?
Let’s briefly unpack the attributes of gameness and assess how they are bound to the anticipation of success:
• A Never-Quit Mindset. If you know that ultimate success is up ahead just past the troubles you’re currently facing, you have no reason to quit.
• Resoluteness to a Purpose. If you’ve picked the right driver in life, chomping gators and dark nights won’t keep you from realizing the vision promised to you.
• A Fighting Spirit. The only thing that keeps us willing and able to face life’s tough opposition is the faint but growing taste of victory.
• The Required Will to Act. When we anticipate success, we’re catapulted forward despite our intimidating fears and fleeting feelings.
A Word About “Losing”
When the way we think about success keeps us from learning valuable lessons from our failures, we’ve begun to mischaracterize what “success” truly means.
Just because we anticipate success doesn’t mean it’s always guaranteed to us in the traditional sense, and that’s because life isn’t black and white. It isn’t always marked by a trophy we’re handed as we leap across the finish line in cheerful celebration of having been the first to tear the ribbon.
You achieve success when, despite the outcome of your momentary undertaking, you learn what you’re meant to learn, and therefore proceed in the journey of becoming who you’re meant to.
This means that, yes, sometimes success will look like a failure that pushes you forward. By keeping your sights set on the joy that’s coming and persevering through unexpected detours, you grant yourself a gift that few others do: the fulfillment you were created to experience at the end of a long journey home to yourself. You can bet on it.
David Dennis is the author of Gameness — Land on your feet and not on your feelings, and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Eckerd Connects, one of the nation’s largest nonprofits providing workforce development, Job Corps, juvenile justice, and child welfare services across the country. Dennis has earned certifications as a licensed professional counselor, marriage and family therapist, and childcare administrator. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Becky have five grown children.