Path to success tread by the best

Be happy. Stay positive Go surfing.

Anyone watching seven-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater surf will be amazed at his spectacular command of wave riding, talent and ability. Slater takes an average wave and makes it look great.

Slater has proven to be head and shoulders above the rest of the surfing competition by constantly putting on dazzling performances few others can equal. Although it may seem as if Slater were born to be a great surfer, this is not the case. Slater has put in years of surfing to get to where he is today.

Way back when he was a junior, Slater had a clear goal to become a world champion of professional surfing. He knew what he wanted, worked for that goal and finally achieved it.

Every person has the innate ability to accomplish great things in their own lives. Just as it was important for Slater to know what he wanted to accomplish, it is important for everyone to have a clear vision of what they would like to do or become.

Direction comes with clear vision. Everyone with a goal should take the time to ask why. Understanding why you want to accomplish a goal establishes clear vision.

If a surfer desires to become a big-wave surfer, he must first ask himself why. If the answer is fortune and fame, he should realize there are much easier ways to go about it. Knowing honestly why you want to attain a goal is perhaps more important that the goal itself.

Oprah Winfrey is another great example of a person who has achieved her goals. Coming from humble beginnings, Winfrey is now one of the world’s most famous television personalities.

Just as Slater had a goal to become a professional surfer, and then world champion, Winfrey first had a goal to get into media. Appearing on television and having her very own show was not enough. She first had to ask herself why.

Winfrey’s answer was more substantial than simply entertaining others. Although her program is entertaining, it is also much more. She uses her show to inspire, motivate, educate and help others.

When defining your goals and aspirations, ask yourself why. The more your goal helps others the more worthy it will be. Slater had to strategize how to get there once he established his goal. Becoming a great surfer does not just happen. One must plan and work for it.

Slater’s strategy was to put in the required time it took to get good as well as surround himself with the best surfers he could to learn from them. Knowledge is paramount when it comes to achieving a goal. So is staying positive.

Slater must have wiped out thousands of times on the way to becoming a world champion. He still wipes out, but he learns from it and gets over it by getting right back on his surfboard and catching another wave.

Staying positive is not always easy. It takes continuous conscious effort and work.

When it comes to achieving goals everyone, just like Slater, should have a strategy of how they are going to do it. Knowing what one wants to do is half of this. Knowing how to do it is the other half. Formalizing a sound strategy takes education, knowledge, understanding and staying positive.

Tiger Woods personifies this strategy. Although Woods makes most putts, he does not make them all. However, Woods does not dwell on past errors when he misses the hole or makes a mistake. Woods gets over it, moves on, stays positive and goes on to make the next shot.

Know what you want, decide how you are going to do it and practice staying positive along the way. While goals and strategy remain the same, tactics are always changing.

Devise changeable tactics to implement your strategy as per the moment.

E-mail surfing experts Michael and Milton Willis at