He sat next to me in First Class. We didn’t talk much (didn’t even introduce myself as an Internet attorney) but everything about him said “success.” This included the watch he wore on his left wrist, a model that cost more than some cars.
On the side of the watch was engraved a single word: “Invictus.”
The Latin word for “unconquered.” it brought to mind the secret to success found within the poem by that name written by an English poet.
I’m not a big fan of poetry but make an exception for this one. You should too.
Do you want to know the secret?
Let me put it in context for you by telling you about the poet first.
William Ernest Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bones at age 12. It progressed to a point where he had to have a leg partially amputated in order to save his life.
Despite bouts with illness throughout his life, Henley lived a productive and successful life. In fact, he was the inspiration for the character “Long John Silver” in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”
How did Henley succeed and inspire others by example?
Let’s get back to his poem for the answer.
Here it is…
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
If you understand these words, particularly the conclusion found in the last two lines, you know enough to achieve your goals and dreams.
Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” borrowed this secret from Invictus. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
Two important things to note about this secret.
First, a captain takes calculated action. Wishing without action is an exercise in mental onanism.
Second, the secret is amoral. In other words, you can apply the secret to do something good or bad and it still works. Choose wisely.
Here are two examples.
Good: Nelson Mandela kept the poem “Invictus” with him on a scrap on paper for years while imprisoned during his struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.
Bad: Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber, gave the poem as his final statement prior to being executed for his crimes.
Now that you have the knowledge, you have a choice. Apply it to get what you want…or watch other ships pass you by while you sit and wonder “what if.”
To Your Success!
-Mike the Internet attorney
P.S. Part of being a successful captain is assembling the right crew for your ship. Be sure it includes a qualified Internet attorney.