Common Sense: Eyes on the Prize

Here’s my theory on why we won World War II: we really, really, really wanted to.

We won against enormous odds and even more staggering losses.

Looking back on December 8, 1941, we had lost virtually our entire Pacific fleet. We continued to get our butts kicked for upwards of a year in countless battles across the Pacific. But we never lost focus or apparently hope. We were that confident and that determined.

It's a lesson in life and business today. Keep your eyes on the prize and you will win it. Even when a lot of other folks think you haven't a shot in hell.

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. A guy in school you might have known — a total loser — goes on to become this big Fortune 500 CEO. I know somebody like that. But what this chap lacked in brains, he made up for in smarts and determination. He kept expectations low and performance high.

Now back to my crackpot theory. If you want to succeed, believe it, first, yourself. You don't have to brag. You don't have to boast. You don't have to yell or scream or even make yourself known. Sometimes it's not a bad thing to have people think you're a buffoon.

Look at this tax cut we're about to sign into law. A year ago, Republicans and Democrats were telling candidate Bush it was a joke and it wouldn't go anywhere. But Bush kept plodding along. And, like a dog with a bone, he wouldn't let go — ever.

Switch fields. Remember when Lou Gerstener took over IBM? Here was a guy from RJR Nabisco, a cookie company, taking over a computer company. What the heck was that all about?

Mr. Gerstener wryly joked, "Well, they both make chips, don't they?" I think it's fair to say he had it right, because he never felt he had it wrong.

There's something to be said for not saying anything. But believing in one thing, yourself. And your possibilities.

You can win battles that way. You can win wars that way.

- Watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World with Neil Cavuto.  And send your comments to: