The Two Big Lies About Successful People

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”
Martha Washington, 1732-1802, First American First Lady

There’s no doubt about it. We’re living in the most exciting time in all of human history … for one simple reason.

In times past, success was perceived by many as something that was either inherited … or a lifestyle that was enjoyed … by a very select minority. Successful people were generally viewed as being “lucky”.

But human development expert Bob Proctor says, “The beautiful truth is that successful people are not now, nor ever have been, lucky. This is an orderly universe of which you and I are a part, and that order, which is an expression of ‘Divine Law,’ leaves no room for luck.”

The reason this is the most exciting time in all of human history to be alive is the fact that today, success has become a subject that can be studied, understood, and enjoyed by anyone … IF you don’t buy into the 2 BIG LIES.

Unfortunately, these two lies have been accepted by a large segment of the world’s population. And these lies that may be getting in the way of your success.

=> BIG LIE #1: Getting an education is getting a degree.

Now before you get all upset, make sure you understand me. I’m not putting down formal education. I’m all for it. After all, I’m a teacher/professor by trade.

The lie comes from the so-called “magical powers” attributed to “getting a degree.” So many people were raised to think, “All I have to do is go to school, get a degree, and a good job will naturally follow.” Well, you and I both know there are thousands of people … maybe millions of people … walking the streets with a degree in hand but no job to show for it. And that’s always been the case, in good times as well as bad economic times.

Somehow or other, people who bought into this lie let one of two things happen to them. They may have let their “education” become obsolete, or they may have focused their “education” on “KNOWING” instead of “DOING.”

With regard to that first item, I remind you: Getting a degree is NOT the end of your education; it’s only the beginning. So be careful. Don’t ever let your education become outdated.

Take a lesson from the highly successful people throughout history by touring their homes or offices. And notice what grabs your attention. Their libraries!!!

Now think about it. What do you think came first? Their fancy homes or their elaborate libraries? I would suggest the latter. You won’t find many people who went out, bought an expensive house, and THEN became wealthy, and THEN acquired a library. No, it was their library … or their quest for learning and continual education … that led to everything else.

And I hope that the same can be said for you … that you’re always in the learning mode. With 200,000 new books on the market every year, with another 2 mill lion articles being published every year, it only stands to reason that at least 1/2 of 1% of that information is critical to your future success. That’s 200 books and 2000 articles.

So let me ask you, how are you doing? Or what are you doing to keep up … at least a little bit?

I don’t know what your answer is, but I do know this. According to author Brian Tracy, the top 10% of the people in any profession are always the ones who attend the conferences, take the seminars, read the books, and listen to the educational and motivational CDs. They know that’s what helped them get to the top and stay on top.

Other people who bought into “the degree equals an education lie” put too much emphasis on “knowing something” rather than “being able to do something.” They never learned that “education” comes from the Latin word “educo,” meaning to educe, to develop or draw out from within. In other words, a true education involves the development of your God-given powers so you’re able to “do” more.

Such is the case of 25-year old Jessica Cox. Born without arms, she just received her Sport Pilot certificate and became the first pilot licensed to fly using only her feet.

Parrish Traweek, her flying instructor at San Manuel’s Ray Blair Airport, said, “She’s a good pilot. She’s rock solid.” And Traweek knows what he’s talking about. Over the years, Traweek has trained many pilots, many of whom didn’t come close to Cox’s abilities.

So don’t buy the first lie … that getting an education is the same thing as getting a degree. Take a lesson instead from the successful people who have come before you. They know school is never out, and their education is never finished.

=> BIG LIE #2: Your company can give you security.

It is … or at least it was … an easy lie to believe. After all, corporations around the world preached the gospel of “You give us loyalty and we’ll give you security.”

And as Proctor points out, “Like sheep, millions of individuals blindly followed, not thinking, never analyzing the offer being presented. Had a person carefully studied the promise, they would have realized that no company in the world could give a person security, regardless of service or loyalty. Security, real security, comes from within. If you haven’t got it there, you haven’t got it.”

Tragically, there are millions of people who believed the lie … that they could find security in their jobs … and have now lost their jobs. They’re demoralized. Their severance pay is gone or their unemployment benefits have expired. They feel like they’ve lost everything.

Even more tragically, when you interview these good, competent, hardworking people who are the victims of layoffs, downsizing, right-sizing or re-engineering, you’ll find out they were loyal. And as a result, they thought they were secure in their companies. But now, many of them are bitter, angry, and resentful. They’re blaming their company for a host of injustices.

And in some cases, in some corporations with unethical and dishonest leadership, there’s plenty of justifiable blame to go around. But in lots of other cases, the company did the only thing they could, in an attempt to stay alive.

In either case, blame is seldom if ever a helpful response. It keeps you stuck in the past, stuck to your problems, without the energy to do anything about it.

By contrast, highly successful people know how to get beyond the lie. They know they can’t change what happened TO them, but they know they have control over what happens IN them when setbacks occur. They know their response will make all the difference in the world.

Back in the 1700’s, German statesman Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt affirmed that. He said, “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.”

Defeat the lie by changing your focus. Stop focusing on what your company should do for you and start focusing on what you can do for yourself. After all, as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar points out, “The biggest person standing in your way is you. Others can stop you temporarily. You are the only one who can do it permanently.”

W. Mitchell, the survivor of several horrendous accidents that burned, disfigured, and disabled most of his body, constantly proclaims the power of focus. He says, “What I focus on in life is what I get. And if I concentrate on how bad I am or how wrong I am or how inadequate I am, if I concentrate on what I can’t do and how there’s not enough time in which to do it, isn’t that what I get every time?

And when I think about how powerful I am, and when I think about what I have left to contribute, and when I think about the difference I can make on this planet, then that’s what I get. You see, I recognize that it’s not what happens to you; it’s what you do about it.”

Perhaps you’ve been bamboozled by the 2 BIG LIES. So have lots of other people. The good news is … you can throw away the lies and grasp the truth that will set you free.

Action:  Which of the 2 BIG LIES has had the most damaging effect on your life or your career? What is one thing you can do about that … right now?