Goals: the ember in the ash heap

Part of the New Guinea Commerce Winners Don’t Cheat Series.

By Sean Jacobs

In around 2004, at the height of violence and carnage in Iraq, the town of Fallujah was described as ‘the ember in the ash pit of the insurgency.’ I remember thinking that, despite its context, it served as the perfect metaphor for your goals and aspirations. Because despite the noise, the doubts and the circumstances that inevitably batter your path to success, what’s truly important to you will sustain itself.

Since leaving school ten years ago I’ve noticed that highly successful people often talk about a ‘destiny’ or an ‘inner calling’ propelling them through the inevitable peaks and troughs. Success to these people isn’t a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’.

Take, for example, the acclaimed actor and performer Jamie Foxx. ‘When I was growing up in Terrell, Texas… there was something inside telling me I would go far,’ he says. ‘It’s like energy – an intangible destiny.’ Richard Parsons, the former Chief Executive Officer of AOL Time Warner, puts it in another way. ‘I always knew I’d rise to the top,’ says Parsons, ‘it never occurred to me I wouldn’t.’

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