The Key to Success
It must be a Positive Mental Attitude, right?
Then it must be belief in yourself, right?
It’s Google Maps for the Mind.
OK then, what IS the secret to success, real life success, where you live the life YOU want and not the life SOMEONE ELSE tells you that you must live?
Perhaps you will pass this article along to your friends as you gain insights into an area of life that many experience but don’t often share with others.
In the era of Facebook and Instagram, people like one sentence answers to questions.
Those kinds of answers don’t exist for much that is truly valuable and important.
Success, real success, is born in THINKING. Success requires your understanding of your Self and others. But still, this is not the key to success, merely it’s birthplace.
What Predicts Success?
Remarkably there are quite a few reliable predictors of financial success, achievement, and relationship success, and so on.
Let’s look at a few of these predictors and then point to one formula as central.
In large part, meaning in life is generated from striving for fulfillment, the relationships that you have and the significance of your work.
The Ultimate Key can be used in business and in your personal life, even if you consider those two aspects of life as being different.
And, when I say business, that can mean your work at the office. It’s not impossible to experience success in life working for someone else. I can think of a handful of people who have managed to do just that! And you can use the Key to Success to assure you get what you must have in life in that context as well.
More often than not the people who are financially successful are the people who determine their own income. They are in charge of their own fate in life. To a significant degree they determine their outcomes, planning, schedule, actions and what they want to keep for their efforts.
This is an important point to remember while we reach for that all important Key.
Lots of people really want to have a small Coffee Table Business but they don’t know what to do…and when offered something, they often jump before looking. This is where it pays off to have another brain who has played the game well, be at service to you. [A Coffee Table Business is a small business that is entrepreneurial in nature, typically spearheaded from your home office or coffee table!]
It’s not necessary to have a Coffee Table Business to be successful…but it sure can accelerate the process and almost insure the result.
A Coffee Table Business…for YOU?!
I think about the genesis of the United States when entrepreneurs were the vast majority of providers of goods, services and jobs from North to South. Getting back to those basics is where it’s all at for the individual in 2018 and 2019.
Your intention is pure.
You truly want to do something in business to make your life mean something.
Not everyone is instantly ready to “start an in house business today” of course.
Of course this is one big reason why Facebook and Twitter can be such a challenge. Imagine that you have read that a Coffee Table Business can be the context for success and happiness. Then the first “opportunity” you run into is some bizarre scheme to get your family to buy stuff from you every month. There are better plans. And there are other disasters in TwitterThink.
Avoid This Mistake
I was mentoring a friend recently who was getting ready to start a service business. He was paying just short of $100,000 to buy a franchise (which amounted to a service truck) and the brand name. The average service call pays him $200. The average franchise owner does 2 stops each day and works 200 days per year. That’s $80,000 per year before expenses and taxes. This is a recipe for a disaster.
“…my marketing plan is to hang those things from door knobs. I’ll service the people who call in or ask for an appointment at my new website.”
There are no easy ways to say what is going to happen next…
“You’ll go broke.”
That hurts so bad to say that.
It hurts worse to hear it.
The person thinks you’re (me) “being negative”.
Not true. I’m only attempting to save them $100,000, bankruptcy and their future…that’s all.
They read the Facebook post…but didn’t bother to check in with someone who has a quality set of keys…
Before we come to the Ultimate Key, please read this and remember it forever:
It takes almost no time to borrow $100,000, start a business and watch it die a very quick death, and almost instantly wonder why it happened, or what went wrong.
People hate to promote, market and sell because they are trying to direct people to something that they themselves aren’t on fire about.
Even when you do what you love, there are challenges. But if you are willing to promote/sell/market that certain something you love or find fascinating, you don’t need a loan. You don’t need bankruptcy.
Important: People will succeed in ventures if they are willing to be uncomfortable doing new things they’ve not done in the past.
Key Point: Where things go wrong is at the intersection of you and your discomfort.
Lack of money is no longer an issue in having a Coffee Table Business. It IS an issue in almost every other business model.
A Coffee Table Business doesn’t make you successful. You weave it into the tapestry of life and that’s where everything good begins.
But there is a big problem EVERYONE experiences before we find the Ultimate Key!
Little Known Fact: One of the biggest problems in achieving success in life, is knowing what to do when you are afraid, confused and under pressure.
When you do something you aren’t familiar or comfortable with, or you’re doing things inherently don’t like, you rarely will find the stick-to-it-iveness to continue. And here’s the fact, you’ll need to become familiar with the unfamiliar.
So here is the Ultimate Key…
After years of doing the same thing “at the office,” it’s really strange to shift gears, get out of the office and strike out on your own. I hear the stories all the time. People get this FEELING inside that they couldn’t make the phone call or knock on the door or make the website.
(Any of these actions requires little mental skill, whatsoever. Children aged 6 can successfully do any or all of these things.)
Or, they couldn’t get past writing the third chapter.
Or, they got the web page up, but trying to figure out the program for the page was too frustrating. (And that can be very real!)
They got down.
They FELT bad.
They felt a bit depressed.
They felt like they KNEW you were doing the wrong business model.
They might have gotten angry.
They might have cursed. “IT” DIDN’T WORK.
And this, of course, is the most likely result. People truly say to themselves that “it” doesn’t “work”.
Or the better and more definitive cop out….”It wasn’t meant to be.”
Here’s the hard truth. Write this down on paper, paint it on the wall. Post it on your computer:
- IT has nothing to do with a positive attitude.
- IT has nothing to do with what you “believe”.
- IT has nothing to do with positive thinking.
- IT has nothing to do with working smarter instead of harder.
- IT has nothing to do with having your intentions aligned with the universe and attracting something.
- IT has nothing to do with what was meant to be.
The answer is simple.
People who strike out on their own and don’t make it, simply didn’t do two things, both of which are REQUIRED to form The Ultimate Key, necessary for success:
1. They didn’t CONTINUE until it was DONE.
2. They didn’t walk through the fire of discomfort, pain and fear.
- They quit when it got hard.
- They quit when it got frustrating.
- They got tired.
- They got angry.
- They were upset.
- They were apathetic.
They let their feelings get in the way of what they wanted in life, and then to make it all OK, they determined:
a) it doesn’t work or
b) who really wants to do X, anyway?
There’s a lot of people who’ve been suckered by con men, videos and popular books that tell you to “get in alignment with your feelings” for things to work out.
The truth is that FEELINGS MATTER. And in fact you MUST be able to understand the feelings of others and people to empathize with their experience for you to be successful in life. BUT if you let your FEELINGS drive your Life Car, you will crash and burn.
Always remember this. The amazing concert pianist was pushed by his parents every day to do what he hated, practicing 3 hours per day. And today it is his pleasure, his work, his love, his expertise, his ability to feel and generate feelings of love and happiness for self and others. (I’m not suggesting parents should do this with their children on average. Each situation truly is very different!) The point of course, is simple, FEELINGS about the same thing, the same person, the same house, the same country, change from day to day and year to year.
Feelings are the Ultimate Key to something else…
Important: …it is a 100% guarantee that you will fail often if you are to be successful. It’s my hope that you will “fail quickly” and reboot rapidly as well!
Listen to Your Feelings?
Before leaving the discussion of how you feel about various things in life… Don’t misunderstand…Feelings aren’t the “enemy.”
There’s nothing wrong with feeling upset, angry, tired, apathetic, happy or sad.
There’s nothing at all wrong with feeling joy or depression, excitement or boredom.
There’s everything RIGHT about understanding your feelings, and the feelings of those around you. In fact, understanding the feelings of others is critical to YOUR happiness and success. But remember, LETTING your feelings drive your Life is like letting a six year old drive a car. It will work…until it doesn’t. And then it never will again.
Feelings are generally a signal that your brain is experiencing something worthy of you taking notice. These signals are like flashing lights. They don’t (necessarily) reflect external reality in a meaningful way but they certainly contribute, for better or worse, to your everyday decision making processes.
Feelings in relationships are important to understand. Your own feelings matter as well…they matter a lot. They matter just like your two year old child matters to you. You care for them. You nurture them. You do NOT let them drive under any circumstances.
Feelings of comfort rarely trigger the need for change.
Feelings of discomfort drive you to seek out a different feeling. Sometimes that is an immediately useful task. Other times it is not.
Feelings of safety or security easily and consistently intertwine themselves with feelings of discomfort.
These “blends” say to you (for example) that you belong in your hamster wheel and that leaving would be scary.
This blend might look like this:
Security of “the job.”
Familiarity of “the job.”
Fear of ANYTHING other than “the job.”
Discomfort and pain of all things at “the job.”
(You can replace, “the job” with almost anything you have these feelings about.)
What does the body do with all of that? What happens in the motivation department of the brain?
It’s really quite simple in most cases.
Feelings aren’t very smart. They don’t think. They are internal sensations that typically act as triggers.
They have zero IQ. Feelings don’t learn per se, though you could make an OK argument that they shift emotionally. They can be very important or an absolute mess…all in the same day.
Interpreting something with no “sense” to it is something no one is taught in school or anywhere else.
And it’s not your fault.
No one ever taught you how to TRULY understand feelings.
And how you navigate your feelings will absolutely determine your success or failure in life and business.
Without going into a big long diatribe on neuropsychology, feelings and emotions, let’s just put it this way:
You simply must NOT run your life based on your feelings or you will be doing all the things that “feel good” all the time…addiction.
If you do choose to run your life on your feelings you will absolutely and positively fail in the long run.
People who run their lives based on their feelings become addicts of “feeling good and they avoid feeling anything painful or bad”.
It’s only human nature to WANT to live like this.
The “feel good” addict inside the person doesn’t want to change.
Feeling “good” is simply too fun and easy…until they take the furniture, the house and the kids.
We’ll talk more about the importance and value of feelings in the future. They DO matter in many contexts and eventually ALL feelings must be addressed for a person to feel whole. But there is a time and a place for all actions.
Prepare for the plan to not be as accurate as google maps.
Why? Because when you’re traveling toward your google maps destination that is your SOLE FOCUS. You aren’t thinking about the kids getting sick, the car needing to go into the repair shop, the plumbing to back up, and all the other stuff of life that happens over the course of a year or two, vs. the hour it will take to get to your google maps destination.
Very little that is good in life comes quickly.
It could if everyone worked at the pace you work and cooperate with you on your quest to get to your destination. But that simply doesn’t happen in real life.
So what’s the Real Secret?
When you walk through the fire of your feelings, fear and pain, you WILL ULTIMATELY come to the point that your new actions become familiar.
It can take a week or two or three or four in any new project or venture to become familiar with it. It always begins uncomfortable and feels “wrong.” The good news? It doesn’t take long to generate a habit you choose…a life you really want… but getting past the first day or two or three is the challenge.
And now, do this…
The Ultimate Secret
ACTION: Walk through the fear of your feelings. Discomfort and pain come with every new project and new set of actions. You will ultimately FEEL COMFORTABLE and FAMILIAR with all of the NEW ASPECTS of Life, Your Experiences, Business Projects and most importantly, your Relationships.
This new discipline, combined with MOMENTUM makes you unstoppable.
Momentum is SO important.
If you dedicate 10 hours per day, 7 days per week, to your project X for six weeks, it will be almost a sure thing that you will succeed over the next couple years at Project X.
It’s the momentum early in ANY project or relationship that determines it’s trajectory and destiny.
Your life will COMPLETELY change.
You will be COMPLETELY transformed.
You will be CAPABLE of just about anything that is humanly possible.
But only a teeny tiny percentage of people will be willing to be that uncomfortable for six weeks.
After all, they already work 8 hours a day plus commuting! They are handcuffed!
They want and demand BALANCE when they get home.
They are so screwed.
In simple terms:
Women will go through discomfort for 9 MONTHS to have a baby.
(If you are a guy…and think you were all that important, even if you went to the baby classes, you’re so self-deluded that you’ll never make it in business. You went to the classes for one reason. To convince your wife you were worth not killing.)
Women go 9 months…but men?
The guy won’t spend 9 WEEKS to create a financial support system for the baby and Mom. (And you wonder why we are expendable as men? Hello?)
That Mom is pregnant 24/7. There is no “longer day.” They are all long. And I’m flat out serious.
Oh and don’t think I’m being politically correct. Two years later that Mom will go to a job and get paid less than a man because she missed two years of whirlwind changes in business that she couldn’t humanly have kept up with. And that business project is a lot easier than having a baby. Promise…
Success is about reality. People who whine that something is too hard and you know what? I have no problem with that.
People who whine that something is too hard and don’t DO ANYTHING TO OVERCOME IT, I got a big problem with that.
What’s a real shame is that people TRULY BELIEVE that building their own business which is something they have chosen, something they personally find interesting, something that might actually be rewarding, is harder than running the hamster wheel every day for the rest of their life (until they retire).
The only thing that is ‘harder’ is the work that will be done in the first couple of months while building momentum.
After that nothing compares to the freedom your own love and interests bring. And you know that every hour you work, is for you and those who depend on you.
But it’s darn tough to get someone to make decisions based upon how they MIGHT FEEL in two months.
The VALUE of some FEELING or some DOLLAR FIGURE in two months is NOTHING compared to the pain or fear or ANYTHING that you FEEL NOW, in this moment…
Five actions that lead to your success…
People’s brains run in the moment and only the moment. And that is why they fail.
I want to feel good right now. YOU want to feel good right now.
We all want to feel good NOW.
We want the burger, the cigarette, the whatever feels good in the moment thing RIGHT NOW and the idea of delaying gratification is simply unheard of.
So, we throw out Project X and go back to being depressed because we are in the hamster wheel and that is predictable, comfortable and familiar. It’s hated but it isn’t feared.
It makes no rational sense at all.
It’s all based on feelings and emotion.
It’s simply how people act. Very predictable. Very understandable.
What are the Key Five Ingredients?
Say you want to be different. YOU want to be one of the teeny tiny few that actually does something that is cool in life.
What is the REAL SECRET?
The bogus secret is to visualize, feel good about it, (some say take action) be grateful as you receive it.
Guaranteed to fail long-term, if not immediately.
Here’s the real secret.
See, Believe, Begin, Continue, Finish
Those five words summarize it all. The formula. The golden key. The real Master Key. Each of these steps is a book in itself but let’s thumbnail the formula.
See: Be able to draw a physical map of how to get from here to there. Think about how google maps works. You enter your destination. You have google find your present location. You enter a request for directions. In two seconds it plots out what is the fastest way to get there at this exact moment. Of course it often changes over the journey because of traffic and obstacles that pop up. When that happens it re-routes you.
Believe: Know that google has done everything it can to get you to your destination. Know that you have done everything possible to plot the CORRECT course from your current location to where you want to go. It’s very tough to be CERTAIN if you have not done your homework. “Belief” doesn’t have the high bar that certainty does but it does have a bar. Going forward you want to have plenty of reason to believe that google will get you from here to there so that you aren’t thinking about the process once you begin because you have literally written it out in a similar fashion to how google plots your path.
Begin: Start. You begin on your journey toward your destination. When your phone has the directions and map for going to your destination, it’s not always instantly obvious what direction you’ll be heading off to. It’s very easy to spend a lot of time figuring out where you are even if google has already found you and knows where you need to go. The same is true in life. Your map can be plotted but you will need to start and quickly readjust to go where you need to be going. It’s important to both START AND ADJUST, then get moving at a brisk pace.
Most people can get past the first three; then of course, they stop.
Most people are great starters but don’t finish stuff.
“Idea people,” is how they refer to themselves. “Idea people” have no self-discipline but will work comfortably (if not irritably) in just about any hamster wheel on the planet. “Idea people” have little tangible value to offer because they can’t complete a project. And it’s a shame. Because it isn’t their fault. No one ever taught them CONTINUE AND FINISH.
Continue: Constant motion toward your destination. It’s not always walking toward your destination. Sometimes it’s stopping for food, sleep, etc. But one thing is for sure. Continuous progress is very important to your brain. Stop for too long and you’ll develop inertia for a longer period soon enough. Continue.
Finish: The book is not done when the text is completed. That’s really just the beginning. Then you have to do rewrites, editing, typesetting, create a cover, a marketing plan and actually finish the process you began when you got half way, which was finishing the writing of the document. You want to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of finishing half way.
And the one factor that guarantees your success forever…
Think Like a Writer (or Publisher)
The writer has not only a book to write, market and sell but he has a process for measuring progress for each “step.”
I just signed a contract for another book.
Now, they don’t care whether it takes me 2 minutes, 2 hours or two years to write the book. I get paid the same no matter what. 10% (to name a number)
They frankly don’t care if the book is all that incredible.
That’s my reputation on the line.
What do they care about?
Is the book going to sell?
That’s the deal.
A publisher doesn’t pay minimum wage. They are happy, no, thrilled to pay you $100,000 for your royalties. It’s essentially one of the few logical businesses out there.
You sell 100,000 books, you make $100,000.
You sell 1 book, you make $1.
Now you know how much you are worth to your publisher.
Entitlement schemes that include “benefit packages”, minimum wage, stock options are all tossed out the window.
How many books sold?
When you THINK like a writer, you can be successful.
Key to Long-Term Success
A writer has to do several things right.
1) Write a book he is proud of. (Makes it easier to write the next book.)
2) Write a book that will sell.
3) Write a book that will sell the writer as worth doing future business with.
4) Sell the book.
5) Get paid.
No stock options. No minimum wage. No guaranteed salary. No raises. No getting fired. No pay reduction. No bailouts. No collective bargaining.
You are 100% responsible…self responsible.
It comes down to ONE thing. PERFORMANCE.
You can never whine about your pay as an author (outside of contractual “misunderstandings”).
It’s the same thing in the music business.
Similar, but not quite identical in the movies.
You get paid if people buy your product or service.
Think about it.
If you want to succeed, to achieve, is there any other way to get paid?
If you want to achieve in your projects, there never will be another way!
The Ultimate Key is to face that which you are uncomfortable with but have decided you will defeat…and walk in the fire…though uncomfortable…and come out the other side having controlled your feelings and discovered the power of Self Control and Personal Destiny.
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