Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

Inc Magazine Top 20 Leader shares his personal, professional, and financial secrets.

  • Orrin Woodward

    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

    This blog is an Alltop selection and ranked in HR's Top 100 Blogs for Management & Leadership.

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Dare to Dream

Posted by Orrin Woodward on March 31, 2012

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

All dream; few achieve. Since everyone wants a better life, why do so few accomplish it? The answer: one must solve the problem of pain. It’s painful to dream of a better future and get shot down again and again. Success, although predictable over time, takes a massive amount of persistence to stay the course when results are not forthcoming quickly enough. In fact, I have watched many talented men and women surrender their dreams through the lack of one key attribute – Adversity Quotient (AQ).  These people had all the talent; some even applied themselves for a period of time, but when the chips were down, they quit.

My fourth grade teacher’s favorite maxim, which he repeated daily was: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I am not sure of its effect on the rest of the class, but as for me, it transformed how I responded to challenges. Any time I ran into difficulties, I reflected back on my teacher’s words. I was fortunate to have parents who taught a similar philosophy to that of my teacher. For instance, most people surrender with little or no fight when they run up against a wall, but not my parents. Interestingly, my mom and dad used entirely different, although both highly effective, strategies in overcoming walls in life. Let me explain. If my parents were taken to a twenty-foot-high brick wall and told they had to bust through it, I am convinced they would both accomplish the task. However, the means to the end would be entirely different.

My mom is a worker. No, that doesn’t quite explain it. My mom is a fanatical worker. In truth, to this day, I have never seen anyone work as relentlessly as my mother on any task undertaken. She would announce a project, dole out various assignments to the five children, and off we went. If my mom needed to get over a brick wall, she would metaphorically lower her head and crash into the brick wall until it gave way. I am not exaggerating here; she would literally will herself through that wall. The amount of obstacles that I saw my mother overcome humbles me to this day. My mom, in other words, would do and then think about how she did it.

In contrast, my dad was a thinker. No, it’s probably more accurate to say he was a philosopher of life. In fact, to this day, I cannot recall an evening where he wasn’t discussing some concept or principle he was wrestling with in his head. I had no idea at the time, but my dad used the Socratic method to draw out how we thought on a multitude of subjects, forcing us to reason properly or be shot down around the kitchen table. Indeed, if my dad needed to surmount a proverbial brick wall, he would state the problem, count the bricks, and form a working hypothesis on how to overcome. Counting, analyzing, and theorizing would be logical steps in the achievement of his goal. My dad, in other words, would think and then act upon what he thought.

Somehow, during the fourth grade, I began adopting my mom’s work ethic along with my dad’s philosophical methodology and combined them together with my teacher’s get tough principle. What an empowering gift these mentors bequeathed to me! My dad taught me to begin with the end in mind. My mom taught me that a job well begun is half done, and my teacher taught me the importance of AQ in any worthy endeavor. I had no idea how revolutionary these concepts were to become in my life.

What does all this have to do with dreaming? Nearly everything! Dreaming is beginning with the end in mind, doing is moving towards one’s goals and dreams, and lastly, persistence is staying tough even when everything inside of a person is screaming to surrender. I have lost count of how many times, when I was on the verge of surrendering, that the winner’s voice inside of me said one more time, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Do you have dreams? Of course, you do because everyone does. Are you still pursuing them, or have you surrendered to the pain? I say get back up! If you are willing to run for what you truly want, if you are willing to get up every time you are knocked down, if you are willing to persist through every painful experience, then, and only then, will you win in the game of life.

Everyone is born into the race of life. Unfortunately, most have quit because they cannot handle the pain and choose passivity over activity. I, however, encourage you to reenter the race and press on to the end to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. God gave us the gift of life; do not hand it back to Him unused.


Orrin Woodward

10 Responses to “Dare to Dream”

  1. james pyka said

    Its just like I said last Sunday, we have to increase our leadership lid, not only our thinking, but also what we visualize. Feed the Elephant..

    James Pyka

  2. Maribel Damphousse said

    What a timely post for where I am in my life today! I am amazed at how God continues to prod me on when the going gets tough. LIFE and the information available to anyone, through its system of learning, has always been there for me to run to and take advice from. I thank God for the opportunity to grow and become better through LIFE. I thank Him for you and Laurie and all the PC members and the upcoming leaders who are developing themselves to get tough when the going gets rough and I aim to do the same through all of your inspiration! Looking forward to the 90-day mental challenge… God bless!

  3. kurt horton said

    man orrin you get me fired up .im way down at the bottom youll see me soon.cause im coming your way ,might not be fast .but winners never quit ,and quitters never win.i think my ladder is on the right building and im climbing it see you soon

  4. Kevin Hamm said


    I’m with the rest, perfect timing. We are living the dream. Thanks for a vehicle.

    Kevin Hamm

  5. “When the pain reaches a certain threshold, everything inside a person screams for relief. But champions, people with high AQ, persevere. Pain is overcome through the continuous focus on one’s purpose. Moreover, achieving greatness will require a faith that can move mountains, an AQ to endure the rising pain in the process, eventually reaching levels of success that more timid souls refuse to believe possible.” Resolved Ch 12 pg. 265 – OW

    This has been a quote I have been saying to myself for the past month. It is very much in line with this post and I so appreciate your ability to inspire, encourage and lead us all in the battlefield even if it’s through your books, quotes, blog posts or audios. What an incredible way to build communities to 1,000,000! Thank you Orrin!

  6. Ken Hendon said

    Orrin, thank you for a great blog. What a blessing to access great ideas, meet wonderful people, and build an amazing business that lives up to the principles and ideals of its founders! Thanks!

  7. rjfisher1 said

    Thank you for this post. What you pour into your leaders is being poured into theirs and so on. It is effecting lives and culture. The impact is great! Thank you.

  8. Tim Miller said

    How we solve the problem of pain? For so many, you provide the tools we need to change and grow. Thanks for all you do.
    God bless

  9. wildtarg said

    I find it interesting that you describe “the problem of pain.” I am reminded of the book of the same title. After reading through it, while it does contain some deep and intricate thoughts on theology, human nature, and a pernicious, age-old problem of many religions, the conclusion that the author comes to is not an answer to the question at all. He ends up saying (this is an upshot; the book is more stimulating and thought-provoking than my meager words) that pain is not a problem – it is part of the process of refining the soul. Pain is not good in itself, but it is a bridge to greater things that might not be reachable without it.
    I recently finished Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge. One of the tenets that is part of the summary is as follows:
    Successful people focus on having a positive outlook, understanding that the funk gets everyone – and when it comes for them they embrace it, knowing it is … refining them. They take baby steps out of the funk — and step back into positivity.
    There are many forms and faces to pain; depression, stress and turmoil, exhaustion, fatigue, etc. and we can be afflicted emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually, by any or many of them. An important element of dealing with suffering is that while it may or may not be useful to question what is, it is futile to fight what is. We don’t change reality by striving to change reality. We change our approach to reality. One of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever heard on success came from you, Orrin: “Measurable results in reasonable time, or something must change.”
    And why change? Why struggle? Why even bother fighting the status quo? Fill in the blank, but if someone finds a reason big enough to push them into and through pain, then they have found their purpose, their mission, maybe even the holy grail of their life. They have found:
    Their dream.

  10. Chad Palmer said

    Orrin, exellent writing once again and thanks for being so transperent and personal by sharing your life experiences. Julie and I are looking forward to meeting with you and Laurie and Team One Purpose at your home to learn more about the dream and how to do with persistence, God speed.

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