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From the Horse’s Mouth

The other night I was watching the movie Hidalgo. Yes, the movie produced by Disney that is now being claimed as an “untrue” story. However, I don’t watch it because I am writing a book report for history class, I watch it for the story itself. Having said that, if you have never seen it I highly recommend you rent it, down load it, or Netflix it because the story is one worth remembering. It’s a story about dedication, perseverance, courage and an amazing partnership.  The story is about a horse, Hidalgo and his rider Frank Hopkins who decide to cross the Ocean of Fire, an endurance horse race that crosses thousands of miles across the Arabian Desert. As with all action movies, the story is about overcoming seemingly insurmountable and in some cases unbelievable obstacles testing fate to achieve the unachievable… success.

However what the story of Hidalgo is really trying to tell its audience is that having certain advantages (training, background, strong teams) does not necessarily make you a winner.  True success comes from hard work, making difficult decisions, overcoming obstacles and in some cases sacrifice. Even those with an Ivy League education, or having a family lineage rooted in success, or just good breeding does not guarantee a winning outcome. Basically, there is no easy or guaranteed path to being successful. However what Hidalgo teaches us is that there are certain things we can do to help facilitate success.  I call them success factors. I have outlined a few here for reference:

Dedication: Anything worth achieving takes dedication, no ifs, ands or buts about it. Unfortunately many of us throw around the word “dedication” as if it is a personal descriptor of who we are and what we are about. In reality dedication is generally a life-long approach to anything we do if we are going to do it right. For example, marriage, being a parent, being a role model, being a friend, these are all things that are not ad hoc focuses in our lives. They require continuous dedication in order to do well. The same goes for doing anything we haven’t done before but want to be successful at it. Only through dedication are we able to have the right focus and attention in order to pave the road to success.

Perseverance: Perseverance is a trait that is often confused with dedication.  However perseverance is the act of undertaking any task DESPITE counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement. Different then dedication, which as noted is generally a life-long approach to anything, perseverance is typically something we engage in when the moment calls for it. Moments that are a single act of accomplishment demand the need for perseverance. As an example training for a marathon takes dedication. Perseverance is what we tap into to actually do and complete the race.  In the movie version of Hidalgo, there was a moment when Frank was about to give up and shoot Hidalgo assuming the horse was dying. However just at the crucial moment Hidalgo stands up and nudges Frank to let him know there was still a race to be won. A pure act of perseverance! The road to success generally requires both dedication AND perseverance. Dedication allows us to keep our eyes on what we want to accomplish in the end while perseverance helps us find the energy to get through the obstacles along the way.

Courage: Out of all the possible success factors, courage is my favorite. It’s my favorite because it’s where the energy of perseverance comes from. It’s mustering the mental and moral strength to venture and withstand danger, fear or difficulty in order to achieve something. Essentially it’s the nuclei of perseverance. Once we decide we are going to do something that may be difficult with both our heart and our head, then what follows is usually perseverance. If the task is something that requires learning something new, then it will also require dedication. Essentially nothing daunting can begin without courage. It’s the impetus of all things outside our comfort zone. From courage come all things amazing. With courage comes glory.

Partnership: Unfortunately partnership is severely overlooked as a way to achieve success. For some, partnership implies “sharing the success or failure”. This mentally does not feed the ego and therefore is dismissed as an option. However a partnership can greatly increase the odds for success. This is something the movie version of Frank Hopkins embraced. He knew that a large part of his power came from his partner, Hidalgo. Basically without Hidalgo there would be no race. And what you find is that the two help each other through obstacles, danger and even during times of weakness to accomplish their dream. Glorified success. Never overlook the value of a partnership because as humans we are not all encompassing to accomplish all things. Engaging in a partnership provides depth in not only what we need but ensures a better chance at achieving success.

In the end, success factors can only get us so far in achieving our ultimate goal. To be successful we must be willing to have dedication, act with perseverance, engage with courage, and be open to valuable partnerships. While these factors are what pave the road to success, our willingness to draw upon them is what outlines the road to be paved.

In the movie, the unthinkable happens. A cowboy from another country and his painted pony win the race much to the awe and dismay of many. Through dedication, perseverance, courage and the heroism of an amazing partnership history was made. Ok well maybe not factual history but still a story that movies are made of…

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