The "Dirty Little Secret" To Success In Anything

“Everything else being equal, commitment wins every time.”
Robert Garrow, consultant

As I mentioned last week, success has been studied … and continues to be studied … in thousands of research projects around the world. It’s no longer a secret.

If you obey the laws and principles of success, if you apply the skills and strategies associated with success, you will succeed.

However, for today’s purposes, let me finish last week’s discussion … where I outlined the first two steps in success … “to toil awhile” and “to endure awhile”.

But some of you may have thought that’s easier said than done.

Of course it is. The folks who make it in this world … the folks who become truly successful … continue to “toil” and “endure” in spite of their problems, challenges, and setbacks. Successful people know that hard work DOES NOT PREVENT problems. It simply GETS THEM THROUGH the problems.

Mary Kay, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, knew that. She went through enormous challenges and came out a winner, because she learned, “One of the secrets of success is to refuse to let temporary setbacks defeat us.”

The same goes for Lee Iacocca, the former chairman of the Chrysler Corporation. When the world told him to let his debt-ridden company die, Iacocca refused. He didn’t wait for the economy to change or for a government bailout to rescue him. Iacocca pronounced, “So what do we do? Anything — something. So long as we don’t just sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”

No, you’ve got “to toil awhile” and you’ve got “to endure awhile” … if you’re going to be successful at anything.

And then you’ve got to round out the success Journey by going on to steps 3 and 4.

=> 3. Believe always.

That’s right. Believe in yourself. Believe in a power bigger than yourself. Believe in success. And believe you can be successful.

That’s what AG did. You see … AG had a head for business but he was also a gifted musician. He played the saxophone, the flute, and clarinet. And while training at one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the country, AG hoped to make a name for himself in the music industry.

When given the opportunity to join a popular swing band, AG took it. Instead of going to college, AG toured the country as a musician. But he didn’t follow the typical lifestyle of musicians. Whenever he wasn’t playing music, he was reading books about economics — even between sets of the band’s performances.

In spite of his talent, AG soon learned that it was another saxophone player … Stan Getz … who really had “it.” And by comparison, AG just didn’t stack up. So he quit the band and started college.

Now you may think that AG stopped believing in himself and stopped believing in success. Not at all. He simply redirected his efforts … because sometimes it takes another person’s greatness to expose our own limitations and set us free to pursue our own true talents.

Today, AG says that leaving the band was the “best economic decision” he ever made in his life. After graduating from college, AG found his niche in finance. And for nearly 20 years — serving four U.S. presidents — AG or Alan Greenspan chaired the Federal Reserve Board.

You may have a dream. I hope you do. Just remember, when obstacles get in the way of your dream, as they inevitably will, learn from the obstacle. As James Burgh says, “If you would not have affliction visit you twice, listen at once to what it teaches.”

Look for the lesson in the obstacle. Learn from the affliction.

You may decide to change course … as Alan Greenspan did. Or you may decide to stay the course … as South African President Nelson Mandela did. Mandela learned, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Whatever lesson you learn, keep on believing. BELIEVE ALWAYS.

And finally…

=> 4. Never turn back.

As I teach in “The Journey to the Extraordinary” experience, true commitment begins when we reach the point of not knowing how we can possibly go on, and decide to do it anyway.

What about you? Are you known as a person who never turns back? Who never quits?

Or are you known as a person who bails out when the tough times come? Who just hangs it up when things get rough?

I don’t know what category you fall into, but I do know this. You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.

If you’re going to be successful, you’ve got to remember point 4. “Never turn back.” You’ve got to remember the letters M.I.H. — just like that high school kid I read about.

This kid had a passion for excellence in everything he did, especially in his favorite sport of wrestling. And last year he had an amazing season, winning the second place trophy in the state championships.

Now that was good, very good indeed. But the day after the state finals, he was back in the same old gym working out in the same old sweats with one small change. He had placed white tape on each of his three middle fingers, and on each piece of tape was a letter — M.I.H. His friends, family, and teammates all repeatedly asked about the letters, but he refused to divulge their meaning.

He kept the letters on his fingers all year, and he trained harder than ever, until he again found himself at the state tournament. This time the outcome was different and not a surprise to anyone who had witnessed his daily determination in the gym. He was crowned state champion.

Finally, he was able to share with everyone … that while they cheered his second place finish the year before … he vowed to get better … to be the best. Displaying vision beyond his years, he developed a clear goal, designed a plan to achieve it, and created a tool to provide focus. He knew that if he really wanted to be the best, it was up to him. He was determined to M.I.H. — Make It Happen.

Action:  If you sometimes doubt yourself, if you find it difficult to believe in yourself, start telling yourself, “I believe in success, and I believe in myself.” Say it 5 times or 50,000 times … whatever it takes … to cast out the doubt and put in the courage.