Bizzell Refuses to Lose

Photo by Jeannette LaPointe.

Motivational speaker Odell Bizzell outlined steps for success to SUNY New Paltz students last Thursday, encouraging them to keep a positive, headstrong attitude.

For those who are unsure of the future, there may be simple steps to guarantee success — and it starts from within.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, nationally known blogger and motivational speaker Odell Bizzell gave a talk on leadership and success entitled, “Refuse to Lose – 4 Ways to Become a Guaranteed Student Success Story.”

Bizzell frequently travels across the nation from university to university, inspiring students to follow their dreams with tips on becoming successful. His talks have been shared by national politicians, Super Bowl-winning coaches and celebrities like Dave Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. 

In recent years, Bizzell created his own blog and has written multiple books with guidelines to becoming an effective leader and student. 

In his opening remarks, Bizzell presented four simple ways to become a successful student: the first of which is being “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). According to Bizzell, the secret to achievement is the mind. Bizzell spoke of “brainwashing,” where people train themselves to think with a positive outlook in order to achieve their goals.

“Make specific goals and write them down,” he said, arguing that people are more inclined to achieve them when they are written out.

 For his second tip, Bizzell highlighted the importance of perseverance, commitment and excelling. He guarantees that with little pushes of encouragement, people are guaranteed to excel and succeed. 

“Push more than what’s expected of you,” he said. “Run that extra lap, do that extra chore, help someone without asking anything in return.” 

In the meantime, finding the motivation to follow our ambitions can be a struggle, but, according to Bizzell, “it’s all about positive energy.” For example, Bizzell believes that everyone has that song that gets them fired up the moment they hear it. He emphasized doing whatever it takes to help accomplish personal goals, including playing that certain song and getting off your feet.

His third point centered on purpose: specifically, to perpetuate good and make the world a better place. Disconnect and disassociate from any negativity, he said, arguing that whatever bad occurs can lead to something good.

He recommends surrounding yourself with people who share the same interests as you and lift you up. 

Citing the turnout of the recent presidential election, Bizzell said that social media has become a channel flooded with constant negativity. To counter, he focused on ways to change our “inner world” by being positive. 

By learning from the people around us and recognizing that we are all on the same team, individuals can progress and each become successful. As he reminds us, “We’re better together.”

To close, Bizzell said we need to embrace leadership and networking with others. 

“In order to be a great leader, you have to lead yourself first,” he said.

Ariana Shushan, a third-year communication disorders major and RA in Gage Hall, attended the event with high hopes. She said it is always important to look for new ways to become a better leader and teach those around you.

 “With the privilege of being an RA, I want to know how to best serve myself and others,” she said. “Odell [Bizzell] was so well spoken and charismatic. I really liked what he said about being specific with goals and writing them down. I think that’s really important.”

In response to a question about his success, Bizzell said that failing early played a large part.

“For many of us, our biggest fear is failing,” he said. 

“I have a goal every week,” he said. “I don’t try to make a list of 100 things, but instead I work on doing this one thing.”

You can find out more information on his website