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Succeed Even When Everything Is Against You

Have you ever been in a situation when all odds are against you? You seem to be doing everything you know to do to succeed, and rather than things lining up for you, the opposite seems to happen. Each one of us has been in a situation like this, and certain kinds of people consistently seem to emerge successful in the midst of such unlikely circumstances. John Maxwell in his book failing forward says that the difference between average people and achievers is in their attitude and response to failure.

Abraham Lincoln had a very peculiar path on his way to becoming the 16th president of the United States in 1861. In 1832, he was defeated when he ran for legislature, but later got elected in 1834. He ran for speaker of the house in 1838 and was defeated. He lost the nomination ticket for Congress in 1843, and tried again in 1846 and was elected. However, he lost his renomination in 1848. Ran for senate in 1854. Defeated for the Vice-Presidential nomination in 1856. He was again defeated for Senate in 1858. Despite the long streak of seeming failures and successes, he was eventually elected for president.

SuccessAbraham Lincoln was quoted to have said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” He also said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” It is apparent that he had a different perception of failure, and despite the things that were against him, he too responsibility and ownership of his success.

For you to succeed even when it seems everything is against you, you must have an attitude that takes responsibility for the circumstances and events of your life. This is to have an internal locus of control. The events of your life are directly related to controllable factors such as your  attitude, preparation, and effort. True success does not put much on the idea of  being fortunate. Men make their own fortune by their own actions.

Rather than complain about the situations that you’re faced with, ask yourself, “what can I do about it?” Find out the areas in which you may have erred, and what could have been done differently to avoid the problems and ensure your success. Remember failure is transient on the path to success. Never camp in the rubles of your past failures, but take the necessary steps that will cause you to emerge from the ashes.

The following are characteristics that cause some to succeed even when they are supposed to fail:

 1. Have an internal resolve to succeed. Many people desire success but have never made a conscious decision to succeed. If I am thirsty, I have a desire to drink water, but until I decide to get a glass of water to drink, i’ll remain thirsty. For you to succeed in the midst of adverse circumstances, you must decide to succeed even against all odds.

2. Create meaning in the midst of adversity. In the midst of adverse circumstances, rather than take the position of a victim, seek to restore power to yourself by taking charge of aspects of your life. Don’t focus on the areas you have no control over, but  there will always look at taking up responsibility in the areas that you have control.

3. Self accountability. People that succeed despite all odds have learned to be accountable with themselves. Their commitment is to their goal, and they measure themselves against their own targets. Self accountability involves prioritizing what’s important and ignoring what’s not, rewarding productive behavior, and starving unproductive and futile actions.

4. Be an incurable optimist. In the midst of every adverse situation there is always an equal potential for opportunity. No matter how dark the situation may look, have an attitude that always expects the best outcome. Learn to keep your enthusiasm, and eventually you will succeed.

Remember this, your judgment is strengthened and your spirit is quickened when you have learned to take responsibility for your life.


  • tcavey

    December 17, 12 2012 08:55:42

    My dad was forever the optimist. I thought of him as I read this. Thank you!

    Not many have the type of perseverance as Lincoln, but he is someone we should all aspire to emulate.
    Love the quotes by him. We can’t be comfortable in our failure or content with where we were yesterday. Each day we must chose to grow and move forward. Inch by inch we must endeavor to do more and be more. For me, It is only with Christ that I can overcome and press forward.

    • Moyo Mamora

      December 17, 12 2012 10:08:41

      Thanks TC for spreading the word…Christ is the foundation of all true success. Was pondering over the weekend, and it hit me again that no institution can stand without God as its center or foundation!

  • Lincoln Parks

    December 17, 12 2012 09:55:30

    Great post and thanks to TC for suggesting that I check it out. I love the Lincoln quote because its one that I live by. If we continue to live daily with Enthusiasm your light will continue to shine bright.

    • Moyo Mamora

      December 17, 12 2012 10:07:15

      Thanks very much Lincoln!

  • Folusho Alege

    February 09, 02 2013 02:12:20

    Thank you so much!God bless you.

  • NaijaCollections

    March 22, 03 2013 03:09:04

    Thanks For this. May God bless u more

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