Success is unpredictable — there are very few things we can do, if it all, to guarantee it.
Whether you are trying to start your own business, training to run a marathon, or working on your own side hustle, life tends to throw things in our path that challenge us, provoke us, and test our commitment. Hardly anyone who’s reached the top will tell you that the road was easy, but they all have one thing in common: perseverance.
Take it from a former NBA champion, who weathered open heart surgery, financial hardship, and a host of other injuries, for the sake of pursuing his dream.
I’ve never met anyone quite as dedicated as Ronny Turiaf — he’s played basketball for the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, and the NY Knicks, to name a few. He’s also the founder of the Heart to Heart Foundation, which provides medical care for individuals who lack health insurance and can’t afford the care they need.
I spoke with Ronny about his inspiring journey on this week’s podcast episode, “The Single Habit That Leads to Quantum Success, According to NBA Champion Ronny Turiaf.”
Not many people are forced to choose between their life or their dream, and choose their dream. That was the position Ronny found himself in when he was about to be drafted for the LA Lakers in 2006, but was suddenly denied contract.
A medical examination revealed he would need to undergo open heart surgery, or never be able to play basketball again. To make matters worse, he didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t pay for the surgery.
Growing up in poverty, Ronny had always been motivated to play basketball with the hope of one day being able to provide for his family. Over the years he sacrificed birthday parties, family gatherings, and quality time in order to practice basketball.
The medical situation was devastating to Ronny — not only could he lose his life, but everything he had hoped for in training over the last eight years. Fortunately, others came to his aid to help Ronny finance the surgery, and he opted to go through with it.
The operation was successful, but it was Ronny’s perseverance and focus that really stood out.
He remembers saying: “You are going to have to kill me because I will make it back to the basketball court. There is no alternative.”
He could have succumbed to fear, and his journey would have ended right there. Instead, he summoned the courage to keep going and proceeded to shine in the NBA, making his childhood basketball dreams a reality and winning the NBA Championship in 2012 with the Miami Heat.
Through Ronny’s story we see that success is defined by the choice to persevere through the moments that test us. When we commit to overcome every obstacle life throws at us, we become unstoppable, and success is inevitable.
Consider applying the following tips to master the art of perseverance:
Listen to your inner voice to help you make crucial decisions.
When you find yourself at a fork in the road, check in with yourself and honor what your intuition or “gut feeling” is telling you. Sometimes, your own voice will say something different than what others say. Remember that you know yourself best and therefore have the best information set to determine what’s right for you. Regardless of what you do you will always make someone unhappy. Ronny says, “the only thing I can control is that it feels right in my belly, and that’s the only thing that can make me at peace and at ease with everything I do.”
Push through the pain by focusing on your goal.
Having a successful mindset involves accepting that it’s not always going to be easy. You will encounter trials that test how bad you want it. In the ten months leading up to winning the NBA championships in 2012 Ronny broke his hand twice. His advice? “Whether the storm.” When you find yourself in pain or challenged, remind yourself why it’s worth pushing through. Reaffirming your goal and the “why” behind your actions is the greatest fuel to empower you to keep going when it gets tough.
Apply the same drive to every aspect of your life.
It’s difficult to feel successful when you are only pursuing success in one aspect of your life. If your job is going great, but your health is another story, you’re bound to feel like a walking contradiction. To truly feel success from the inside out, you’ll need to apply the same drive you currently have in one area… to all areas. Ronny says, “I gave myself too much in one category and the others suffered. I asked myself, Ronny how can you find balance in all areas of your life? And yes, you are asking yourself to do something that is very difficult, but something that is worthy in your eyes, because I want to be great in everything that I do.”
This article was originally published on Forbes