When it comes to fulfilling your purpose in life, how do you know if you’re on the right track? Jim Stovall says how successful we are depends on how we define our end goals.

“Success is quite simply your definition, with prayerful consideration, of what is your calling, your mission why you are here. It’s almost a process of writing your own obituary: 40 or 50 years from now, when you’re no longer here, what is it you want to have accomplished that doesn’t exist as we speak today?  You need to have that kind of long-range thinking if you’re really going to be successful.”

That type of big-picture view of your mission is also an antidote to comparing your success with others. It’s not important how fast others are rising to the top.

“We have a tendency to confuse productivity with speed. If you look out on the highway and you see who’s going fastest, you think well they’re making the most progress. But if they’re going the wrong direction, they’re actually getting further away from where they’re supposed to be.”

Stovall says even your struggles can sometimes help inspire your personal mission, especially if you broaden your view to how you can help others.

“A lot of great ideas come out of our own need. Everybody’s praying for a great idea–the only thing you got to do to have a great idea is go through your daily routine, wait for something bad to happen, and ask yourself, “How could I have avoided that?” The answer is your great idea. Then, the only thing you need to do to turn that idea into a great business is ask one more question: “how could I help other people avoid that?”

“People are looking for wealth or fame and they think it’s all about them. It’s never about you: it’s about other people. And if you’ll figure out what their problems are and help them solve their problems, you’ll have everything you ever want out of this life…If you want more success, don’t think about yourself and your needs– think how can I create more value for people?”


Jim Stovall has enjoyed success as an author, athlete, investment broker, and entrepreneur while dealing with the challenge of blindness. During his remarkable life, Jim has been a national champion Olympic weightlifter, as well as the author of more than 30 books.

In addition to his personal achievements, Jim was honored as the 2000 International Humanitarian of the Year, joining Jimmy Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Mother Teresa as a recipient of this prestigious award. As co-founder and president of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network (NTN), Jim has also helped make movies and television accessible for America’s 13 million blind and visually impaired people and their families.

Great ideas from great needs with Jim Stovall

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