by Ryan H. Law
How would you personally define success? Not as a financial services provider, but life in general.
What is success?
Take a moment and really think about the answer to that question.
While every person defines success differently, most people have some combination of the following:
- Doing work that matters
- Enough money for needs, wants, and some luxuries
- A happy family life
- Achieving goals that matter
- Creating memories
- Good enough health to be active and enjoy life
Unfortunately, we know that success is something that is achieved by a minority of people. After all:
- 85% of people are unhappy and un-engaged in their work (1)
- 83% of married couples are unhappy (2)
- Just 8% of people are achieving goals that matter to them (3)
- 97% of Americans are unhealthy (4)
- 78% of workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck (5)
- 64% of Americans have no money saved for retirement, and only 16% have more than $100,000 saved (6)
Why are so many people unsuccessful in so many areas of their lives?
To understand the answer to that question, let me introduce you to Albert E.N. Gray. Mr. Gray was a life insurance salesman in the 1940s at Prudential Life Insurance and was managing a team of agents who were all trying to achieve success.
He realized one day that he had no idea what the secret to success was, so he went on a journey to find it by reading “biographies and autobiographies and all sorts of dissertations on success.” He wanted a universal answer to the question of what the “common denominator of success” is – not just in the life insurance field, but in any area of life.
His initial hypothesis was that “hard work” is the secret to success, but he realized that many people achieve success without “hard work.”
Through his research he found his answer. Just a heads up – you are probably not going to like the answer. Here it is:
“The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every [person] who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that [they] have formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
That’s right – basically they do the things they DON”T want to do, and that failures WON’T do.
What does it take to be healthy? Eating well, exercising, avoiding harmful products such as tobacco, and getting enough sleep. However, most of us would prefer to stay up late watching Netflix and eating donuts.
What does it take to be financially free? Spend less than you make and save for the future. Most of us instead are not saving anything and living on credit.
What does it take to achieve goals, or find happiness in marriage, or do work that matters, or create memories? You can find the answers to all of these in books and articles, but the reality is that most of us don’t want to do what it takes. It’s too hard.
Here’s the secret, though. Successful people don’t want to do those things either, but they do them anyway. In most cases, they do those things first (Brian Tracy calls it “eating a frog” first thing in the morning).
Successful people don’t want to get up early, but they do anyway.
Successful people don’t want to save for the future, but they do anyway.
Successful people don’t want to exercise and eat healthy, but they do anyway.
That’s not entirely accurate, though. Maybe they don’t like doing those things at first, but they learn to love them because of the results they bring.
Let’s focus in on our work more: What is the one thing (that you don’t enjoy doing) that you know, if you did it, would bring remarkable results to you and your firm?
Here are some common answers to that question:
- Making phone calls
- Creating a client communication strategy
- Writing a book
- Creating content for a blog or podcast
- Speaking at industry events
Let’s put this post’s content into action.
Here are your action steps for this week:
- Define exactly what success is in all areas of life.
- Answer the question: What is the one thing (that you don’t enjoy doing) that you know, if you did it, would bring remarkable results to you and your firm?
START SMALL! Don’t try to do everything at once. Pick ONE SMALL THING you can start doing today that will help you move towards success.
Please share your answers to the questions in the comments.
P.S. It is worth your time to read Albert E.N. Gray’s full article. You can find that here.
Statistics cited and sources:
(1) 85% of people are unhappy and un-engaged in their work
(2) 83% of married couples are unhappy
(3) Just 8% of people are achieving goals that matter to them
(4) 97% of Americans are unhealthy
(5) 78% of workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck
(6) 64% of Americans have no money saved for retirement, and only 16% have more than $100,000 saved