1. Peter Set a Goal
When it comes to achieving any level of success in this world we must first start with an objective/goal in mind. If you don't know where you want to go, then as the Cheshire Cat told Alice while in Wonderland, "Then it really doesn't matter which way you go." Peter now had a goal: reach Jesus out on the water. To get anywhere in life, we need to set short-, medium-, and long-term goals that move us in the direction of our dreams and are in line with our core values and desires.
2. Peter Got Out of the Boat
This is a pretty important part of the story that most people blow right past, but to his credit Peter got out of the boat. He left the (relative) safety and security and took that first big step. How many of us sit on our goals, staring at them in our minds, but fail to "leave the boat" of our comfort zone and take those first steps, no matter how halting they may be? As the Cheshire Cat also told Alice, "Every adventure requires a first step. Trite, but true..."
3. Eyes on the Prize or Else
So Peter set a goal, he took the first step and he was on his way. It was only when he took his eyes of the prize, reaching his master, and instead focused on the stormy waves, the rain, the wind and the lightening that he began to sink. In the pursuit of your goals, the storms of adversity will most definitely show up at some point. The question is, will you keep your eyes focused on your goals with optimism and hope, or will you let discouragement and despair rob you of positive energy and therefore cause your heart/spirit/mind to sink?
4. Even if You Fall, You're Falling Forward
One thing that people forget (because they are so afraid of failure) is that falling is still moving forward. Peter, although he began to sink, still stretched for his goal, even Jesus. Many people criticize Peter for this moment where his faith/motivation/optimism/hope seemed to fail, but at least he tried. He was the only disciple to leave the boat and make the effort.
As U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
5. Adapt and Achieve Victory
While Jesus may have chided Peter for his lack of faith (Mathew 14:31), I fully believe that both recognized Peter's act of courage to get out on the water in the first place and his good desire to achieve the goal he set. And in fact, while it may not have gone according to Peter's plan, with a little help he was still able to reach his objective. We should never be afraid to ask for help or to change and adapt our plans according to circumstances so that we can ultimately achieve success. Reaching out for assistance or changing our strategy are not signs of weakness: they are indications of a determination to succeed.
So there you have it, The Peter Principle as I call it. Don't worry about the storms of adversity; keep walking, swimming, crawling or whatever you have to do, but keep moving forward. Don't quit, don't give up and don't sink into despair or discouragement. That goal you want so badly is just within reach so stretch, take that leap of faith and keep fighting until you emerge victorious.
As Rocky Balboa said, "That's how winning is done."