Eric Thomas is an American author, motivational speaker and minister. He has made speeches that have gained worldwide popularity on websites like Youtube. LeBron James has credited Eric as being a part of his inspiration for winning the 2012 NBA Championship. Eric was not born into a world of advantage nor a world that granted much room for optimism and opportunity. His personal sense of optimism and passion for his beliefs has driven him to the place he stands today- on an international pedestal of notability and respect. Here are Eric Thomas’s 10 Rules for Success:
- Go after what you want: Eric Thomas was born in Blainville, Quebec. He subsequently grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He is very much a testament to triumph over obstacles as well as triumph of the human spirit. Despite location, socioeconomic factors and other setbacks, Eric pursued his dream. He knew what we wanted and made effort to go after it. It is easy for all of us to fall into a rut when we realize how far we may be from what we want. However, always keep what we want in sight. It has often been said that the best way to set about a goal is envision it clearly and maintain that vision.
- Develop your talents: When you have a gift, it is important to capitalize on it. Develop and hone all your talents. Eric Thomas was raised by his single mother in Detroit and did not always have the encouragement he needed. Eric did not have a relationship with his father until later during Eric’s adolescence. While Eric may not have had the help of both parents to help encourage him in the pursuit of honing his skills, he was able to find incentive within himself. Many of us may not have the network of supportive figures we would hope for telling us that our talents are worth developing. However, we must be the judges of our own character at times. If we notice we have an aptitude for something, we must move towards it and seek assistance so that we may better ourselves.
- Don’t make excuses: It is easy to get caught up in the many setbacks we all face. It is important not to make excuses for why we can’t be the person we want or achieve what we want. Eric Thomas was homeless at the age of 16 and also was a high school drop out. He lived on the streets of Detroit for a time. Even under these circumstances, Eric did not give up. He believed in a future. Eric was famously quoted as having described an encounter with someone entering his office: “Somebody came into my office crying. I said, ‘Look, don’t cry to give up!
Cry to keep going!!”
- Upgrade your values: For the two years Eric was homeless, he would sleep in cars that had been abandoned and search for food in garbage cans. This is a prime example of a situation that would not inspire optimism. However, having a set of values never hurt during bad situation. Getting through difficult times requires an inner road map. A set of values or morals one lives by. Having respect for yourself and acting with the most dignity possible is important no matter what the situation.
- Remember that you get what you give: Eric Thomas cites one of his first main inspirations as a preacher he met during his time while homeless. The preacher inspired him to find a way back to school. Eric drew even greater inspiration for long-term goals and felt inspired to change the lives of others in time. By giving more than you take, you can command respect and live a more full and rewarding life.
- Remember that education acts as an equalizer: Do not take lightly any academic achievement or job credential. No matter what the experience, think of it as the education it is. Eric Thomas often credits his early job at an Olive Garden restaurant in Detroit for having provided a break for his future career. You never know how one thing may lead to another. Keep in mind that education will act as a balancing for any future and the more education and credentials you receive, the more opportunities you will have access to. Similarly, the more work experience you can gain, the more doors that will open. Eric once said, “All men are created equal.
Some work harder in preseason.”
- Always have an answer to the question of “why?”: Keeping in mind what you are working for at all times is an effective tool. Eric Thomas describes the difficulty in reminding himself what he was working for during times when he had to wake up at 5 in the morning on just a few hours sleep. Though it may not always be easy to remember, keep the goals in sight and do not lose track of what you are working for.
- Maintain boundaries: Do not let the fact that achievements are not being attained on a convenient time. Long-term perseverance is often required to reach a goal. Eric Thomas draws from the experience of spending 12 years obtaining an undergraduate degree in Oakwood before graduating in 2001. Circumstances alter cases and while it may not come easily to reach a goal, do not lose hope. Eric describes his experience at Oakwood: “When I went to college,
Guys were way smarter than me. 4.0’s, 3.0’s. They went to the Ivy League high schools. Came to Oakwood from these great high schools. Most of them are not doing what I’m doing. Why? ‘Cause it’s not about where you come from; it’s about heart!”
- Speak from your heart: Remain honest with yourself and others when you speak. Thomas realized that he was able to use this skill to his advantage and pursue a calling speaking from his heart during a class debate at Oakwood.
- Work towards success as if it were any necessity: Some think of success as a possibility or aspiration. Eric suggests that we all think of success as an imperative like we would breathe. “Succeed as bad as we want to breathe!” Thinking this way will change our mindset and alter the way we perceive our goals.