The Path To Sucess

Damian Lang

The path to success is long and winding, but with hard work and support from the right people, it can be achieved. Next week I’m giving the keynote address to the finalists in the Masonry Skills Challenge in Louisville, KY. These high school students are at the top of their class and will be representing their career centers from across the country. When I speak to these young people, I’ll be sharing what I believe the path to success is, along with my own journey from the time I competed in the same contest 35 years ago.

As I think about what to tell the students, two things come to mind. First, to instill in them that if they can see it, and they believe it, they can achieve it!  And it’s true. This is a lesson I learned from listening to Napoleon Hill in his book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Once you can see what you want, like success, and you believe in it, then you can achieve it. Let’s look at some of the ways you can do this.

To achieve success, learn from others. Find role models that you can emulate. Find five people you admire and create a list of their best qualities. Commit to practicing these traits every day until you perfect them in your own life. By studying the ways successful people became successful, you can copy their actions and get the same results.

I duplicated my role models’ behaviors and studied self-improvement teachings from industry leaders I wanted to be like. The people who came before me taught me a lot about what success is and what it looks like. You too, can learn from the people you want to become.

The second lesson I will share is a lesson I learned from Earl Nightingale in his book “The Strangest Secret,” which is that you become what you think about most of the time. It’s the self-fulfilling prophecy. When you think about becoming successful, you will become successful. As Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

I plan to tell them what I said at my own graduation party when I was asked about my plans for the future. As recalled by those at the party, I stood up and said I was going to start a masonry company, employ 50 people, and become one of the largest mason contractors in the state of Ohio. 17 years later, a friend of my dad’s told me when he heard my goals at my graduation party, he thought to himself, wow, that boy is in for a rude awakening. He also told me that he had plans for himself too when he was young. However, he never wrote them down or focused on them. In turn, he never acted on them. “Now, at my age, it is too late as I can’t take back the years I failed to act on what I knew I could do if I just took the chance and carried out a structured plan,” he said.

I believe to this day that setting that goal when I was just out of high school, and keeping it consistently in my thoughts as I focused on it most of the time, was a prime reason for my success. It became a reality by the time I was 35.

You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Without a target, the only way you’ll reach your goal is by hope, and hope is not a strategy for the successful. It’s like a ship in the middle of the ocean. If you know where you are going and use the navigation system, you will most likely land at the destination port a million times in a row. On the other hand, if you take the same ship, start it up, put it in gear, letting the ship steer itself without programming a destination, it isn’t likely to arrive at port even one in a million times. In fact, it will most likely end up overturning and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

I really want to stress the point to the students that they need to believe in themselves and their abilities to achieve their dreams. Yes, I can do this, needs to become their battle cry. That’s hard for many people as the normal thought process is no, I can’t do this. These negative thoughts were instilled in us honestly by parents who repeatedly told us no. No, you can’t cross the road. No, you can’t stand on the couch. No, you can’t have your sister’s toy. No, and no, and no, and no. Therefore, it is programed in us that we can’t get to yes and succeed.

The students need to know that success is not measured by how much money one makes. The famous self-improvement coach Earl Nightingale defines success as “the progressive realization of a worthy goal.”Basically, a success is anyone who is realizing a worthy pre-determined goal because that’s what he or she decided to do…deliberately.

For example, a successis the entrepreneur who starts his own company because that was his dream and that’s what he wanted to do.

A successis the school teacher who is teaching because that’s what he or she wants to do.

A successis the salesperson who wants to become the best salesperson in his or her company and sets forth on the pursuit of that goal.

If a person has a goal to become a bricklayer, and becomes one, that person is successful. Someone who desires to be a nurse, and becomes a nurse, is a successful person.

One of my five role models is my dad who is also the most successful person I know. Not because dad was wealthy, for he only made a modest living through farming, working at a local plant, and purchasing and renting properties. The main reason I consider him so successful is because he had high morals and values, and he, along with mom, instilled them in the nine kids they raised, kids who still get along to this day. He has lots of friends and always lifts people up rather than cutting them down. These traits must have been how he remains happy virtually every day of his life. If fact, I can hardly remember a time when he was not in a good mood.

Damian Lang is CEO at Lang Masonry Contractors, Wolf Creek Construction, Malta Dynamics, and EZG Manufacturing. To view the products and equipment his companies created to make jobsites more efficient, visit his websites at ezgmfg.com or maltadynamics.com. To receive his free e-newsletters or to speak with Damian on his management systems or products, email:dlang@watertownenterprises.com or call 740-749-3512.