“The only place where success comes before work is the dictionary”-Vidal Sasoon.

True is the saying. It is just the dictionary that tolerates success to come before rigorous hard work and effort. Success comes to those who work towards it without caring about the consequences, the obstacles, the efforts and the time it takes. They cannot see any of these issues in their path. All they see is their goal shinning, high, like a prized trophy and they just want to grab it.

Just like food is incomplete and tasteless without spice, my efforts to explain and outline success here would be tasteless or meaningless without the success stories in my mind that have inspired me. Below are one of the most successful business enterprises that started from nothing and earn millions and billions today. These rags to riches stories not only gave me goose bumps but also compelled me to think about the struggles they went through to attain the levels they reached today.

The first person in my success hall of fame is Zedenek Bakalathe the owner of the first privately owned coal mine in Europe since 1992. Zdenek Bakala, when he was 19, was struggling hard and seeing the worst days of his life. The age when most of the youngsters are  enjoying the careless phase of their lives or some of the studious one are starting to get serious about their careers or post graduate studies, Bakala fled the communist Czechoslovakia with just a $50 bill wrapped in a plastic bag and which was hidden in a sandwich.

After escaping from the communist state, fortune took him to Lake Tahoe’s Harrah’s Casino where he earned his bread by washing dishes. Imagine the pain of departure from his own people and place and the misery of his life which compelled him to work harder in order to make ends meet.

He must have thought of quitting many times. But a determined attitude and desire to gain success gave him wings to fly over all these obstacles and later obtain an undergraduate degree at U.C. Berkeley and proceed to earn a post graduate MBA degree from Dartmouth.

After this time, banking came into his life leading him to open ‘Credit Suisse’ his parent company. Currently, he is the owner of a coal company with around 2.52 billion in market capital and a total of eight coal production sites around central Europe. In 1992 his company was designated as the first ever coal mine in Europe that was owned by a private owner.

Now think about the wretched conditions he went through but the rewards of hard work and perseverance. Before you start planning and plotting your goals and dreams, and the ways to achieve them, I have got another eye-opener for you.

This is the backstory of the man behind Ray-Ban and Oakley.

Aren’t we all eager to buy the latest launch of these cool, always trending, sunglasses? They are so-in-trend, stylish, funky, and an important part of projecting a certain lifestyle. But have we ever even imagined how they became the brand that they are?

Leonardo-Del-Vecchio was one of five orphans whose widowed mother was helpless due to poverty and had to abandon her children. Beginning his life, and growing up in an orphanage, never was easy for Vecchio. Imagine as a kid, how much he would have suffered and felt as if the world was stacked against him. How many Christmases were there with no family gatherings but just the regular orphanage routine, whatever that may be?

He grew up and got a job at a factory that made the molded parts for automobiles and eyeglass frames. Sadly enough, while working in the factory he lost a part of his finger too but none of these incidents stopped him. He kept working hard.

At 23 years of age he was successful enough to open his own eyeglass shop which today has turned into one of the largest company of eyeglasses or prescription based eye-wear. Once a grief-stricken orphanage child, today he owes a grand empire of over 6000 stores worldwide that are worth over $11.5 billion.

Now that’s what I call success. People like this are hard to not admire, as they truly deserve it. Not only are these the bigger examples, but also the smaller examples exist all around us. Kids from tough environments find ways to earn prestigious university scholarships, orphans who are ill-fated or abused as children grow up into a policeman to fight all the evils that surrounded them in their youth. These are also real successes. The only thing that matters is strong determination. You dictate what you will become, not your initial circumstance.

You muse accept everything that stands in the way of success as a challenge and another opportunity to prove yourself. You must not allow any of it to become a demotivating factor that you can use as an excuse to blame for failure. The choice to succeed is yours.

Success comes to those who believe they can.



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