DCL 5.1 Instruction | What Is The Main Difference Between People Who Achieve And People Who Are Only Average?

Why do achievers excel? Why do some people soar to the pinnacle of success and effectiveness while oth­ers plummet into mediocrity? What makes the difference?


Video Presentation: Todd Mullins, Lead Pastor and Shaun Blakeney, Student Ministry Pastor, Christ Fellowship, Florida

Consider the following:

  • Family background: Coming from a good family may be helpful, but huge numbers of success­ful people come from broken and dysfunctional families.
  • Wealth: Many high achievers have come from homes with below average income, even from the depths of poverty.
  • Opportunity: Opportunity is always in the eye of the beholder. We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all see the same horizon.
  • High morals: I wish it were true that everyone with high moral values succeeds greatly, but it’s not. Many with high integrity achieve little. And we’ve all known wicked people who are high producers.
  • The absence of hardship: For every achiever who has avoided hardships, there are scores who have overcome disabilities, tragedies, or suffering.
  • Nationality or ethnicity: Men and women from all races and every nation have become high achievers and difference makers.


None of these is the key to great achievement. Only one factor separates those who consistently achieve from those who do not. The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.

Three wrong attitudes toward failure:

1. We fear failure.

2. We misunderstand failure.

3. We are unprepared for failure.

An individual can consistently succeed in life only when he or she learns how to confidently look failure and adversity in the eye and keep moving forward anyway. There are many ways to be a winner, but there are only two ways to be a loser—to not learn from your failure and to fail to move beyond it.


Biblical Case Study: Joseph (Genesis 39:1-41:16, 45:4-7)

Joseph possessed a God-given dream. He made the mistake of prematurely sharing the dream with his brothers. The Bible describes many dark and difficult times in Joseph’s life. Adversity and failure seem to be his constant companions. The Bible also reveals that Joseph maintained a positive attitude in the midst of adversity. He used it to develop himself personally and to build trust with others.

Notice some of Joseph’s hardships:

  • Sold into slavery
  • Framed as an adulterer.
  • Forgotten in prison.
  • Endured seven years of famine.
  • Faced the return of his treacherous brothers.


Observe that in each of these hardships he learned valuable lessons and continued faithfully to serve God. Consider the following ways Joseph failed forward:

  • Developed competence and organisational skills in Potiphar’s palace.
  • Used his ability to solve problems.
  • Displayed the wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.
  • Prepared to save the country.
  • Showed patience and integrity in dealing with those who had mistreated him.


Eventually, Joseph was promoted from the prison to the palace where he was made second-in-command to the entire nation. He became a deliverer for Egypt and for his own family and people.

While forgotten in prison, Joseph very easily could have languished into bitterness and despair. He could have become angry with God and despised the dream God had given to him. Failure could have become final and fatal in Joseph’s life. How did he maintain a perspective that eventually saw his dream become a reality? A careful reading of Genesis 45:4-7 will reveal the key qualities that enabled him to fail forward:

1.  A strong sense of security. (v.4)

2.  A strong sense of identity. (v.4)

3.  A strong sense of empathy. (v.4)

4.  A strong sense of purpose. (v.5)

5.  A strong sense of perspective. (v.6, 7)

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