Copyright 2006 Donovan Baldwin
Nope! Not who you think it is. However, I was there, and I saw it happen. So did several other people. At the time, I just put it down as a highly unusual occurance, and over the years I forgot about it. A few of years ago, it came back to mind, and I realized that it had influenced me in a small but significant way over the last 25 years or so. One place it had a very significant impact was in my building my internet business. I just couldn’t accept the fact that being successful was impossible, in spite of several failures, reversals, and betrayals. In fact, I had reached a point, aided in part by having witnessed the event I am about to recount, where I thought almost anything was possible if you just didn’t know it COULDN’T be done, or if you had enough reason, motivation, or faith to assume it COULD be done.
There have been several events in my life which have helped convince me of this, and I have mentioned another in my article, “Unloading Grocery Trucks Taught Me About Success”. I don’t believe any one event or experience has had the ultimate impact, but these and other situations have given me the opportunity to reach this conclusion, and to experience the fruits of success partly because of this attitude. Many reading this article may not have had such events in their lives or may not have taken the lessons I have from what has occured, so I share my experiences here. Anyway, it’s a good story!
It was 1979 or 1980, and I was the Assistant Operations Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) at the Fort Stewart, Georgia, NCO Academy. Although my job normally entailed office and administrative duties, I also sometimes participated directly or indirectly in classes and/or training exercises.
In this particular instance, I, and several other members of the training cadre, had been tasked to demonstrate to a class how to right a rubber assault boat if it had been tipped over, and how to act in the event the boat was tipped over. This took place on a small creek in the Georgia woods. We had spent a couple of days practicing just to make sure we could do it well. It wasn’t that difficult a procedure, but it required coordination of effort on the part of all involved because of the unwieldy nature of the boat.
After we did our demonstration, we filled one of the boats with students, all of whom were lower ranking soldiers who were taking the course in order to prepare them for future leadership positions in the Army. All had been picked by their commanders and supervisors to attend because of past performance and future potential, and all were there because they wanted to advance in the Army. Two boats full of staff and instructors stood by to assist and to help anyone who might have difficulty. We had put life vests on everyone, but we knew that there was always the possibility for panic…and that’s exactly what happened with one individual.
The boat he was in was tipped, and he fought, kicked, and crawled over everyone to climb onto the bottom of the boat, disregarding all instructions and orders. He was told that the boat was now going to be righted and he would just end up back in the water again. He was in no real danger, but panic struck again, and that’s when it happened.
The boat was about ten feet from shore, and he took one very long step off the boat, stepped onto the water, and took another step onto dry land! We all saw it and were totally stunned. We investigated the water around the boat, and there was nothing he could have stepped on other than the surface of the water. Everyone there had just seen a man walk on water! It was theoretically impossible, but it happened…before the eyes of nearly fifty people.
Of course, we all had theories, and some simply decided that the boat must have been closer to the shore than they could tell from where they were. Some were not actually in a position to tell exactly what happened, but I, and several others saw one foot come down on the surface of the water, the other foot come forward and reach land. From our position, we could verify that the boat was about ten feet from shore and that one step was taken ON THE WATER!
Later, of course, I figured out that the man had actually simply leaped, stepping as he moved forward, and the forward whip of the trailing leg as it came forward towards land probably helped propel him as well. Whatever the actuality, it was still quite a leap, one which he probably would not have been able to make from a rubbery, unstable surface, from a standing start, over such a distance, if his motivation (or desire to succeed) had not been sufficient to carry him forward.
That was what stayed with me over the years. He did not know, or believe, that he could fail, and he had an extremely strong desire or motivation to succeed. Over the last few years, not only have I tried to keep those two points at the forefront of my endeavors, but I have often observed them to be deciding factors in the success of others. I have been in network marketing since the early 90’s, and in internet marketing since the late 90’s, and the successful people I have met or learned about, very frequently had the desire to succeed, the motivation to keep trying, even in adversity, and refused to admit, at least out loud, that they would fail.