James Owens and his four keys to success

john owen

A young athlete told his coach he wanted to be a great athlete. The coach gave him four keys to stardom (determination, dedication, attitude, and discipline) which the young athlete worked with. At the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, the young athlete won international fame with four gold medals: 100meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4×100 meter relay.

He was also ranked by ESPN as the sixth greatest North American athlete of the twentieth century and the highest ranked in his sport. The young man’s name was James Cleveland ‘Jesse’ Owens.

Jesse Owens (as he was popularly known as) didn’t just have a dream, but he equipped himself with the four keys necessary in making any dream come true. Today, I would love us to take a look at how the success story of Jesse Owens best explains these four keys to success.

His determination– born in a time when segregation was dominant in the United States of America, one can only imagine the challenges a young black boy with a dream is bound to face. Though his parents were not financially buoyant (his father was a sharecropper), Owens didn’t not allow that to deter his dreams. He took up different jobs so as to help pay for his tuitions (he had to be in school to keep being part of the school’s athletic team).

Now if that do not sound like a boy with determination, then I wonder what is…

‘A dream does not become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work- Colin Powell’

His dedication– throughout his life, Owens attributed his success to the encouragement of his high school coach, Charles Riley. Since Owens worked in a shoe repair shop after school, his coach allowed him to practice before school instead. He was dedicated and didn’t miss a single practice because he knew how much he wanted to be the best…

His attitude– to be able to achieve such immense success in a time when blacks were relegated to the background, it must have taken more than dedication or determination…. it took attitude.

Despite Owens’ athletic success, he had to live off campus with other African-American athletes. When he traveled with the white team, Owens was restricted to ordering carry out or eating at ‘blacks only’ restaurant. He did not receive a scholarship for his effort; so he continued to work part time to pay for his tuition… but he never allowed the obvious impartiality existing at the time to demoralize him; his attitude was that of success. What an attitude!

The battles and trials of life will not cease; but as long as your attitude is positive, no trial can sink you ship of success.

‘The price for success is hard work, dedication, to the job at hand and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand- Vince Lombardi’

His dedication- it takes discipline to be successful. Discipline is simply taking mastery of you. Discipline is training you to do the right thing as the right time. Just like Plato said ‘the first and best victory is to conquer self. To be conquered be self is not only shameful but vile’. We must learn to take charge of our will, and not leave ourselves bare for circumstances to tell us what to do. For Owens to have achieved such incredible success, he must disciplined his mind, soul and body for success. Masters are not born; they are trained. So if you want to be a master, you must make the conscious decision to discipline yourself for success.

‘Keep your dreams alive. Understand that to achieve anything requires faith and belief in you, vision, hard work, determination and dedication- Gail Devers’

Have a blissful day!



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6 Responses

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