If you are to be successful in pursuit of your goals and vision, you need to internalize these cardinal concepts, which I have termed the Five Foundations of Positive Success, into your core character. If one studies the lives of great men and women throughout history it is readily apparent that they, one and all, manifested these positive traits of great character in all that they did. Without a doubt, it was these very principles that led to their successful accomplishments. What are the “Five Foundations of Positive Success?”
Desire – Dedication – Devotion – Discipline – Determination
It is a foundational principle of success that every positive accomplishment that was ever made began as a desire in the mind of an individual. Desire is that initial impetus that gives birth to our dreams and it is desire that motivates us to achieve those dreams. All great things begin with positive desire.
Dedication is an act of the mind. From the outset, make a firm decision to follow your dream, no matter what it takes. If you dream is consistent with the will of God, benefits others, and brings glory to the Creator, then rest assured that it was He that placed this dream in your heart. Make a resolute commitment to believe in yourself and your abilities. It is a fundamental law of spirituality that God never places a dream in your heart without also providing you with the ability to achieve that dream. In addition, keep in mind that dedication is a mental act and is based on positive desire and positive thinking.
Devotion is an act of the heart. You will find that getting your emotions involved in your goals and dreams can be of great benefit. One of the most valuable lessons I learned early on in my ministry efforts is: If you don t fall in love with your vision, you will not advance toward its realization. Emotions flow from the heart and they can provide fuel to energize personal motivation. Emotions have been described as “energy in motion” and that is essentially what they are. Desire, coupled with faithful devotion, is the basis for creating a supportive environment for positive action in your life.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned over the years concerns the necessity of discipline in all areas of our lives. Without personal discipline, the achievement of Christian success is impossible. Without personal discipline, your dreams will eventually crash and burn so never, ever, short-change the importance of being a disciplined disciple.
Discipline is an act of the will requiring sacrifice and strength of character. It is important to realize that improving your level of competency in any field often necessitates experiencing short-term pain in order to achieve long-term benefit. This is a foundational truth for Christian success. In practical terms, your goals will often require that you, through acts of disciplined will, give up certain activities to devote more time to the pursuit of your vision and success.
Determination combines the mind, the emotions, and the will. In practical terms, determination means facing difficulties with optimism rather than pessimism. It means pursuing your dreams under all kinds of circumstances, good and bad. Determination implies that you keep going even when things get rough. When you possess determination, you maintain a positive attitude even when your progress is slow and particularly when other demands and responsibilities crowd in on your plans.
Determination does not come easy. It requires your conscious attention and consistent effort to apply your mind, your heart, and your will as well as the other four “foundations” of desire, dedication, devotion, and discipline.
The “Five Foundations of Positive Success” form the bedrock upon which the structure of any worthwhile goal is built. Without this quintet of character assets your chances of personal success is minimal. However, at times when we begin to incorporate new, more positive ways in which to approach life in general and our goals in particular, we encounter unexpected resistance arising from within ourselves. When this happens we have to keep in mind that our old, habitual ways of doing things are usually deeply ingrained. Making things even more difficult is the fact that, in spite of our best intentions, we often hold on to these negative patterns of thought and behavior simply because they are familiar. More baffling is our tendency to do this even though these very tendencies of negativity bring us less than positive results.
These deeply imbedded negative thought patterns and character traits are what the Apostle Paul called “strongholds.” Strongholds can be formed in several ways including traumatic, emotionally charged events, repetitious patterns of negative thinking, assaults from the Enemy, or a combination of any of these. No matter how particular strongholds are formed, they are often difficult to deal with.
As Christ-followers, our primary tools for tearing down strongholds, and preventing new ones from forming, are to utilize the spiritual weapons outlined by the Apostle in the sixth chapter of the Book of Ephesians. In addition, we must understand and accept that we cannot deal with strongholds with our own power alone. We need the help of the Holy Spirit and we elicit this assistance through prayer. Ask God to help you tear down an especially stubborn stronghold and also ask a trusted brother or sister in the faith to pray for you as well.
In addition, we must become acutely aware of our patterns of thinking. The reason for this centers on the fact that strongholds are constructed, like everything else, with the building blocks of our thoughts. Our goal is to consistently intercept the negative thoughts associated with particular strongholds and stop them in their tracks. Paul calls this “taking thoughts captive for Christ.” The success of many disciples has verified that the next step in dealing with strongholds is, after intercepting the negative thoughts, is to immediately replace them with positive thoughts.
Bear in mind that this cognitive process does not occur overnight. It took a long time to form these counter-productive ways of thinking and responding to life and it will take time to eliminate them. Yet always maintain your sense of hope and keep in mind that one positive thought overcomes the effect of many negative ones. Just as turning on one light can overcome the darkness in a room, lighting up your mind with a single positive thought can illuminate and eliminate dark patterns of thinking. Remain patient, keep praying, and trust God to provide the help he promised. If you keep at it, your success is assured.
To conclude, we have perhaps now traveled full-circle. In our discussion of the “Five Foundations of Positive Success” we discovered that it was often cognitive and behavioral strongholds that formed much of the resistance we encounter when attempting to put these vital principles into practice. Now, I would like you to understand the fact that, in addition to the spiritual tools outlined above that we can use to deal with strongholds, we can also use the “Five Foundations” as well. Think about it. Desire, dedication, devotion, discipline, and determination are all needed in combating these deeply embedded aspects of our thought life and behavior.
These five key principles we have been exploring are not optional if we want to achieve and maintain success in any field of endeavor. Further, these five principles are in many ways like “mirrors” in that each one of the five reflects the other four. The Five Foundations of Positive Success exist as a unified and interdependent whole. When you apply one principle, you automatically apply all of them in a number of ways.
I encourage you to continue to explore what these cardinal principles of success mean to you and to pray in earnest to the Father to help strengthen each of these vital characteristics in your being. It will be well worth your time and effort.
© L. Dwight Turner 2008/All Rights Reserved