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Each Success Is the Beginning of the Next One

Recently, an interviewer asked me what my greatest
fears were. I said I didn’t have any. He seemed
surprised, but this is how I see it: If you label something
as a fear, then it creates fear when sometimes
it’s not a fear, but a concern. For example, I
know just as well as everyone else that New York
City experienced a major terrorist attack, and the
thought of that is a concern for all of us because it
affects all of us. It’s happened in many places, so
it’s a worldwide concern. But if we let it become a
firmly rooted fear, the terrorists will have won.

The same applies to business. Do you fear owning
a business? Translate that for yourself as asking: Are
you concerned about owning a business yourself?
Why? What specifically are
those concerns? It’s much easier to
break down a concern than it is a
fear. Fear creates a block that will
only hinder your creative thinking.
Objectivity will remove that
block and allow for creative ideas
to flow.

An antidote to fear is as simple
as problem solving. Whether you
have investing, estate planning, or
running a business on your mind,
or all of those things, they can be
broken down into units of thought
and dealt with in an orderly manner.
It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle—you
need to find the right place for each piece of the puzzle
until the whole is apparent.

“To
ask the right questions is already half the solution of a problem.” —Carl Jung

When I began to construct Trump Tower, for example, I
had several things in mind that I knew I wanted. I wanted
a certain kind of marble called Breccia Perniche, which
was expensive, beautiful and rare. It was also irregular
and had white spots and white veins, which bothered me,
so I went to the quarry itself and marked off the best slabs
with black tape. Action turned this concern into a problem
solved. I got exactly the marble pieces I wanted, and sitting
around, worrying about whether those pieces would be
right or wrong, was getting me nowhere. As a result of
deciding to go to the quarry myself, the pieces of this
puzzle fell into place and the finished product
was perfect.

Know that if you want to own your own
business, you will be doing a lot of the
work yourself. That’s just the way it is. It
isn’t all about giving orders or having other
people do the legwork or brainwork for you.
That comes into the picture, but you should
always be ready to go at it yourself. If that idea
bothers you, maybe you’d be better off being an
employee. If responsibility comes naturally to
you, or if you enjoy that challenge, owning your
own business is a good fit.

Fear has a way of making things bigger than
they are. There’s an old German proverb to the
effect that “fear makes the wolf bigger than he is,”
and that is true. But the opposite of fear is faith,
which is one reason you’ve got to believe in yourself and see yourself
as victorious. You will know you are capable of dealing with any
discouragements, bullies or problems along the way.

When I was faced with some huge debts in the early 1990s, it was
widely reported that I was finished, done for, gone. Looking at the
numbers alone made that seem clear to the media. However, I never
believed I was finished. I simply saw that situation as a problem I had
to solve and went about doing that. I’m not saying it was easy, because
it wasn’t. It was a big problem. But I refused to give in to fear or to
believe what was being said about my so-called demise. I came back to
become more successful than I ever was, and that’s why I believe business
is very much about problem solving. If you can learn to deal with
and solve problems, you will have a much bigger margin for success.

Do not allow fear to settle into place in any part of your life. It is a
defeating attitude and a negative emotion. Recognize and zap it immediately.
Replace it with a problem-solving attitude, faith in yourself
and hard work. Put that formula into working order for yourself, and
you’ll be dealing from a position of power, not fear. That’s winning.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared
to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

That thought by Ralph Waldo Emerson has always been an inspiration
to me. It gives me energy to keep going full force because I know I
still have a lot to accomplish. No matter what I may have achieved—or
plan to achieve—I know it’s “a tiny matter” compared to what I am
capable of doing. Think about it: How can we be complacent with that
kind of thought pattern going on? It would be impossible!

So give yourself a chance—every single day. Some people really
are their own worst enemy. Don’t fall into that abyss—because that’s
really what it is. Ever watched children when they are trying something
new? They are excited, they are eager and they welcome the
challenge. That’s an attitude to recapture or to try to emulate. The
enthusiasm that discovery provides is a reliable way to make sure
that everything you are doing is paving the way toward your current
as well as future successes. I received a letter from my kindergarten
teacher, and she mentioned that what she remembers most clearly
about me is that I never stopped asking questions. I wrote back to her
and informed her that some things never change—that I still ask a
lot of questions. But I said that it had obviously served me well, and I
thanked her, belatedly, for her patience many years ago. Every one of
my questions was the beginning of the next one.

So here’s one for you: If you had nothing at all to do, what would
you do? And after you did that, what would you do? And after you did
that, what would be next on your list? I call that multithinking versus
multitasking. Most people have at least a few things they want to do.
Sometimes one thing leads to another—that’s a form of discovery.
Discovery breeds discovery, as in success breeds success. “Questions”
are thoughts with a quest.

Let’s end this with a few good questions: What lies behind you?
(What are your life experiences and education up to this point?)
What lies before you? (What are your goals, your plans, your aspirations?)
What lies within you? (Do you have what it takes to succeed?
Do you know the full extent of your abilities yet? Do you know
what the future holds for you? Do you know how your dreams will
evolve?) Let’s admit it—life is full of mystery. That includes your life,
which is no tiny matter. So don’t sell yourself short on something
that important. Today is just the beginning.

From the book Think Like a Champion by Donald J. Trump. Excerpted by
arrangement with Vanguard Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
Copyright © 2009.

Donald Trump also serves on the board of SUCCESS Foundation.

Read another excerpt from Donald Trump’s Think Like a Champion.

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