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Youth Column
Written by Erick Rommel, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

There's an old character from Saturday Night Live named Stuart Smalley. Each sketch began with him reciting the phrase, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, doggone it, people like me."

While the character was played for laughs, the sentiment behind that statement always stuck with me. In looking at the success I've had in my life and the success I've seen in others, the one constant I've found is that successful people believe in themselves and their capabilities. After all, if you don't think you can do it, why should anyone else?

Success takes more than confidence, however. Success takes passion, hard work and more than a little bit of luck. Behind every so-called "overnight success," there are years of hard work behind the skills and knowledge necessary to make achievements seem effortless.

In everything you do, you will face competition. You need to stand out. Discover how to build yourself up without tearing others down. No one likes working with people they hate. Be the one they like working with.

Know how to win with grace, but also how to lose with dignity. It's in the moments of great disappointment, when you fall short, that you need to push yourself even more.

To be successful, know how to make a mistake. Accept responsibility for the error of your ways.

Also, be true to yourself. The worst kind of success is the kind you can't enjoy. Don't choose what to do based on what you think would be successful. Choose what to do based on what you love. Embrace your passions. If you can't commit with your heart, don't commit with your head.

And when you find something you believe in, don't let it go. Be passionate about that passion. If you're a writer, write. If you're a programmer, program. If you're a diver, dive. Invest in yourself every day.

Don't let success be defined by money or title. Define success as joy. Define success as contentment.

Remember feelings of success. During the next challenge you face, use that memory as motivation. Recall how it felt when you achieved your goal. There's nothing better.

Finally, there will always be people out there who will say you can't do it. They'll say you're not good enough. Don't believe them. Don't let them hold you back or tear you down. There is no greater motivator than being told you can't accomplish something.

In the end, success is about faith. It's about a belief in yourself. Remember the words of Stuart Smalley, but more importantly, think about Al Franken, the writer/actor who created him. After leaving Saturday Night Live, he found a new passion. He became a radio host and then ran for office. Today, he represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.

No matter who you are, a little faith and a little confidence can go a long way. You are good enough. You are smart enough. And, doggone it, people like you.

Now, go find your success.

Erick Rommel is a former staff writer for The Catholic Spirit in the Diocese of Metuchen, N.J. His column is syndicated through Catholic News Service.


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