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NEWS | Nov. 29, 2012

Success...It's a state of mind

By Senior Master Sgt. Johnny Hamm Air Force District of Washington, first sergeant

What is success? I believe success is a state of mind. It is having the determination to keep trying while applying lessons from past failings or experiences. Success is the willingness to pursue your dreams and goals while facing challenges to reach your goals.

Take Winston Churchhill for an example: Did you know that he failed sixth grade or that he was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the British Prime Minister. He is now known as one of the world's greatest leaders. What was his state of mind? Do you think he said to himself, wow that was a horrific failure; I am never going to run for public office ever again? No. Instead, Winston Churchhill said this, "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."

My father taught me this very concept in a different way when I was a young boy. He said, "Son it is not if you get knocked down or when will you get knocked down, it is how you get up and never give up that is the true character of a person." All of us have had to deal with daily setbacks; applying those setbacks into lessons of success is the key.

I would like to encourage our Airmen who are going through setbacks or failings, whether those are legal problems, relationship problems, duty problems or family problems to turn those problems or failings into success. One of the saddest situations I encounter as a first sergeant is seeing an Airman, regardless of rank, suffer a setback and allow it to affect his or her future in a negative way. All that is needed is for the Airman to get back up is to learn from the setback and then try even harder to succeed. Often times when a person has a failing in life, it will require that person to have to work twice as hard to put it in the past. That determination and can-do attitude is what leads to success.

Success...It's a state of mind, I will summarize with a poem written by Walter D. Wintle.
Man Who Thinks He Can
If you think you're beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think, you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you will lose, you're lost;
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will,
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to hustle before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.