US President Barack Obama is one big figure that I have personally followed closely and studied to a good degree over the last six years. This is because he is a man who has achieved many things thought to be impossible. What interests me most about Obama is that like everybody else, he, too, makes mistakes and does fail from time to time.
But on the balance, he still maintains a uniquely extra-ordinary record of rare achievements, the biggest of which was when he became the first black man to be elected president of the United States of America.
Two weeks ago, we discussed reports from political analysts indicating that Obama had fared poorer than his opponent Mitt Romney in the first of three presidential debates in the election for the US president scheduled for the November 6. Many analysts had reported that Obamaâ€™s performance in the first debate was characterised by reduced energy and minimal attacks on Romneyâ€™s inconsistent pronouncements. As a result, the vast majority of American voters that watched the debate on television concluded that Romney had won the first debate against Obama.
Even the Democrats, members of the party that Obama is representing in the election, agreed that Obama did not perform as expected and not at his best possible level. In the time leading to the second debate, Obama also alluded to the fact that his performance was not the best that it could be. He indicated that he had been â€˜too politeâ€™ to his opponent which signalled that in the next round of the debate, he would raise his game and energy levels.
True to Obamaâ€™s success characteristics, he went into the second debate energised, well prepared, coached and rehearsed. Obama did all the things that he had omitted in the first debate. He challenged Romney when the later seemed to change positions, he challenged him to add his maths on how he would pay for all the extra budgetary provisions he was promising for the military, tax deductions and more. As a result, many analysts and indeed the majority of American voters that watched the second presidential debate picked Obama as winner for the second round.
In the third presidential debate which was hosted in the night of October 22/23, Obama repeated his outstanding debate performance that he had shown in the second debate. This time around, he sharply portrayed Romney as someone that did not have consistent policy ideas and as someone with little or no exposure to foreign policy and responsibility as commander in-chief, which are key characteristics that Americans expect of their presidents. It was not surprising, therefore, when CNN television viewers voted 48 percent for Obama and only 40 percent for Romney in terms of who had won the third debate.
This story of how Obama came from behind, from failure, to draw on his intrinsic strengths and go on to win two more rounds of debate, having lost the first one, demonstrates how we too can rise from failure with strength to win and achieve big things in life. But many of us allow ourselves to be swallowed by simple failures or small missteps and obstacles that we face along the way. Obama knows and believes that no journey to success is smooth or easy. He knows very well that such journeys are often, if not always bumpy, winding and challenging.
When he faces challenges along the way, Obama quickly refocuses on his ultimate goal and prize. He does not allow small challenges to distort his vision, ambition and goal. He has one goal in mind and keeps to the goal. This is why even in the face of failure, Obama draws strength from what he is good at, what he is talented and experienced in and goes on to succeed. These are key success strategies that we should all learn from Obama and apply in our career, business as well as family undertakings. Good luck as you rise and shine with strength drawn from falling and failure!