We often hear about those who have ’made it to the top’. But what exactly is ‘the top’? Is it an achievement attained by beating the competition, or is it also something deeper that may or may not figure on a ranking list? Bestselling author and speaker, Zig Ziglar, faced the same question when he sent the manuscript for his book ‘Over the Top’ to his publisher.
‘My publisher returned the manuscript saying, “You can’t tell people how to go over the top until you identify ‘the top.’” For over two months, I struggled to come up with the definition of “the top.” Finally, I just threw up my hands and said, “It’ll come to me.”
And come to him it did, in the most unusual of ways. — While visiting a loved one in a nursing home along with his wife.
‘I felt like a fish out of water. I am one of those solution-oriented people who doesn’t know what to do when I’m faced with something that can’t be fixed. My wife, on the other hand, simply talks to everyone, hugs them, listens to them, and makes them feel every bit as special as they are.
On this day, I was having more than my usual degree of difficulty seeing suffering, so I walked outside to clear my head, wishing I had the kind of heart for others my wife did. And that’s when the definition of ‘the top’ began to come to me. I pulled out a pen and began writing on the back of a hotel bill, the only piece of paper I had …”
The words that Ziglar wrote down that day have gone on to inspire millions:
You are at the top when:
- You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person; that yesterday ended last night, and today is a brand-new day.
- You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present and are optimistic about your future.
- You know that success doesn’t make you, and failure doesn’t break you.
- You are filled with faith, hope and love; and live without anger, greed, guilt, envy or thoughts of revenge.
- You are mature enough to delay gratification and shift your focus from your rights to your responsibilities.
- You know that failure to stand for what is morally right is the prelude to being the victim of what is criminally wrong.
- You are secure in who you are, so you are at peace with yourself and your fellow humans.
- You have made friends of your adversaries, and have gained the love and respect of those who know you best.
- You understand that others can give you pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when you do things for others.
- You are pleasant to the grouch, courteous to the rude and generous to the needy.
- You love the unlovable, and give hope to the helpless, friendship to the friendless and encouragement to the discouraged.
- You can look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, around you with compassion and within with gratitude.
- You realise that the greatest are those who serve the most generously.
Have a wonderful and fulfilling week!