Think about some words for success and for achieving goals. (They can be personal, financial, familial, or even goals for the whole community.)
What are some of the factors that affect success? Certainly a person’s mental and physical capability and energy matter. Even more important are motivation and appropriate attitudes.
Which attitudes enable success? I would say determination, patience, a willingness to work hard and to sacrifice what's less important.
If you have these, you will be likely to eventually reach at least some of your goals. (Of course, success is never inevitable, and often requires some luck, and the support of others.)
Can you think of other factors that enable a person or an organization to be successful? Which do you think are most the most important?
(Take a minute to write them down. It’s good English practice, as well as a help to focus on things that can make a difference.) I'd love to read what you think! You can add your thoughts at the bottom of the page.
These very short stories are about a few people who turned failure into success. Use the words below (also in the drop down menu) to fill in the blanks for the stories. (If you would rather print this and work on it offline, here's a pdf version.)
attitude, benefits, emphasized, energy, eventually, foundation,
inevitably, location, reject, security, succeeded, successful
Here’s a very short video talking about some famous people who failed before they succeeded. (Many of them were told they would always be failures!)
We have several words for blocking (completely stopping) or delaying (slowing down) progress toward your goals. They are synonyms (words with similar meanings), but they have different connotations. Here's a brief explanation.
Roadblocks, obstacles, hindrances, setbacks, and challenges all make reaching a goal more difficult. A roadblock completely stops progress until it is removed. An obstacle can also stop or at least slow efforts to succeed. A hindrance is probably less difficult, but it also delays (hinders) progress.
A setback moves the project temporarily backward, but it is not usually too serious. A challenge can also make progress harder, but it has some positive connotations. It implies that the person will finish stronger for having made the effort.
Here’s a very quick practice exercise. Fill in each blank with one of these words: A. obstacle; B. setback. (Answers are below the illustration.)
1. As Roy was finishing his thesis, a two-day power outage was a last-minute __________, but he was still able to complete it in time.
2. A long-term water shortage is a major __________ to the development of the Sahel region in Africa.
1. B setback
2, A. obstacle