Do you agree with Mr. Powell?
Personally, I agree and disagree.
He’s got it right with the latter part of his quote: success requires preparation, hard work, and learning from failure, but he’s wrong about there being no secrets to success.
There are secrets. More on that in a bit.
This makes me think of Socrates. If poised with this statement, I bet he would ask me, “What are secrets?”
Then I would have to define the word “secret” to support my statement about there being secrets to success.
I would probably answer his question with something like: “A secret is something not known to others.” Then I would have to defend my point of view, to which Socrates may or may not agree (or leave me with another question).
Excuse me, I’m getting caught up in visualizing a discussion with Socrates…
So, how can there be secrets to success when achieving success is not a secret?
Let me explain…
I believe there are secrets to success for the individual, and that each individual has their own set of “secrets” that they must uncover to find success in life. But. The way you discover these secrets is to apply the “not secret” parts of success–preparation, hard work and learning from failure.
By following the ways to success that so many others have show for us—like preparation, hard work and learning from failure—you will discover the “secrets” to success for you, the individual.
You see, you and I, and everyone else, posses the “secrets” to achieving success. Like Mr. Powell, most of us know that we must work hard and keep going to reach success. The thing is, not all of us truly understand what this looks like, or we might not be using this information to reach success. Perhaps we don’t realize that these secrets, the ones in plain sight, have to be combined in a way that will produce success and will need a bit of finagling to figure out the proper dose that’s going to work for you.
Mr. Powell was right: preparation, hard work and failure are integral to success, but the “how” of applying for you You/I/Me is the big secret that lingers over us all.
In a massive, dumbed-down nutshell: The secret to success is different in what it looks like but the same in how to reveal it.
What it comes down to is, you must figure out your secrets to success by working your freaking ass of and learning and improving from your failures.
How do you figure out your secrets to success?
By working your freaking ass of and learning and improving from your failures. I just said that, damn it!
That’s because it bears repeating.
Now let’s look at some specific of what this looks like in practice. Real quick, before we get to that, I want to add one more thing. It’s this: If you don’t build the intense inner world that compels you… freaking compels you… to get your ass moving every day because you know you have found your life mission and purpose, then none of what you are going to read below is going to matter.
Here are some fundamentals for reaching success. These are universal to all and neglecting one or more is going to severely handicap your results.
The Fundamentals of Becoming A Successful Human Being
1. Health must come first.
You will never become the best version of yourself or reach your greatest results if you neglect your health.
Simple. As. That.
When you are healthy, you focus and your work is more productive. You get more done in less time, which means you get way more done. Then, you get to freaking enjoy your success!
This part always baffled me. So many want to forge health by eating shitty, missing sleep, doing drugs and skipping on the many things that go into a healthy human life in exchange for what they perceive as more productivity.
“I don’t have time,” is a common myth these individuals tell themselves.
Why, please tell me, would anyone to be a millionaire that is sick, feeble, overweight and unable to enjoy his or her wealth?
“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
― James J. Lachard
Make health your first priority and success will come easier and more abundant. Do this: avoid processed foods, exercise regularly, get sunlight and 8 hours of sleep daily, invest in your relationships, practice gratitude, negative visualization and do something not work-related you enjoy each day.
Health is first and foremost. If you don’t have health, you have nothing.
2. You must pursue knowledge… a.k.a you must read a lot.
Reading is the habit of the successful. There is no substitute for it. To be successful, you must develop a curious mind that is always absorbing information.
It’s like Will said in Good Will Hunting, “You dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.”
After dropping out of college, I soon learned the power of this quote. Reading is the reason I’ve reached any level of success in my life. I attribute it to every single thing I’ve ever done that has brought me money, joy and happiness. Reading has always been the epicenter of these efforts. Always.
(I’m not suggesting college is bad–it can be bad for some people, good for others–I’m just highlighting the power of reading.)
3. You have to start and finish.
To be successful, you must not just know how to take action and finish what you start, but you have to be doing it all the time as your standard operating system. While there are times you should quit a project, the majority you should finish even if the prospect of financial reward or acclaim isn’t there. Finishing is reward enough.
The more you start and finish, the easier it becomes to do both because you develop confidence in each act. Some people are great at starting because they subconsciously know that they aren’t likely to finish, and since finishing is always the hard part, starting is easy, even fun.
Here’s the thing about life: it’s all about starting and finishing things.
If you cannot finish what you start, you will never become the best you can be.
Taking action is integral to figuring out the “secret” that is your path to success. It’s how you learn from our failures so you can iterate and get better. How can you learn from you mistakes if you never make any?! (That was rhetorical.)
What real life actually looks like: act, fail, act, fail, act, fail, act, fail, act, fail, act, fail, succeed, fail, act, fail, succeed, act, fail, succeed, succeed.
This is what most paths to success look like. It is an ugly mess of ups, downs and uncertainty. Only the persons that are devoted and numb to the sting of this harsh process will see it through.
Your path to success will be different from everyone else, and no matter what you do, you can never be fully prepared. That’s why the only thing you can do is journey through.
The journey prepares you. It unveils your secrets.
4. You must learn… then apply.
The thing about failure is it is only useful if you learn from it and apply what you learned to get better results the next time. The same is true of any knowledge; you must use it for it to have value.
Never blame others, or the economy, or whatever. Take full responsibility for the results you get in life, and then learn from them with a ruthlessly objective analysis.
Blame is excuse.
You cannot learn if you cannot accept the results of your actions or inactions. You are the reason you have, or don’t have, what you have or don’t have in life. No one, I repeat, no one else is responsible.
5. Use money well… or fail.
To be successful, you must learn how to use money… well.
I don’t mean just stuffing it under the mattress or in some low-yield savings account. I’m talking about how you spend it, invest it, save it, everything.
Money is a tool that will work for or against you. When it works for you, it will bring you wealth and prosperity. When it works against you, it will suck you dry of every last penny and then some.
If you don’t learn the principles of money, and the Science of Getting Rich, you will never be able to be truly successful and financially free.
You could make a million dollars a month and still not able to pay for your house, toys and employees. Making money isn’t the only thing. You have to make profit. You have to make investments that use your money effectively. And you have to avoid losing it.
Money is more important than people realize, or are willing to admit.
Never apologize for the getting of money. The greatest thing you can do as a human being is acquire as much wealth as possible so you can use it to make the world a better place.
I remember a quote but I forget who said it. It went something like this: “Having more money brings out more of who you are.”
If you are a miserable, selfish prick, you are going to be more of a miserable, selfish prick when you have more money.
If you are a caring, kind person who enjoys helping people, you are going to be able to care and help more people when you have more money.
And really, anyone that does not desire to attain more resources for their family should be ashamed. To me, this is selfish and self-serving. To criticize money is to center the universe around you, the individual.
News flash: life is a group effort.
Your loved ones deserve your full effort in attaining as much money as possible so you can better protect and provide for them and so they all can benefit from the safety and opportunity that more money provides.
Earn your money honestly and spend it honestly. Then never apologize or feel guilty for getting and having it.
- Don’t let anyone, or yourself, shame you for acquiring money. Lack of money is the root (think about that for a second, then write it down).
- Learn the principles of investing, business, and personal finance.
- Invest and save as much of your money as possible. The richest men in the world got rich by buying and holding, not by buying and selling.
You must stay consist with the principles above, including this one.
You must consistently stay consistent.
The thing about consistency is if you stay consistent long enough, you always reach some form of success.
This is why consistently is the most rewarding, and necessary, of all the attributes for success. It’s also the thing that holds back most people from realizing their dreams.
The times you feel like giving up, when your motivation is waning and the future is unclear, are the times you must plow through until you find yourself in a better position. That’s consistency.
In life and success, it’s the tortoise that wins the race, not the hare.
Back to Socrates
Earlier, I claimed that Mr. Powell was wrong about there being no secrets to success but right about what it takes to reach success.
So where does that leave us?
Well, the principles above are not secrets or ground-breaking by any means. I’m sure you’ve “heard” all of them at some point, and you probably agree with each one.
The secret you must discover for you is how all these principles will apply to your life. The only way you figure this out is to get in the trenches as fast and often as possible. From there, your secrets to success will unveil themselves over time as you work, learn, work, fail, work and iterate.
No one ever knows how they will get rich before they get rich. Even if they have an idea, it will never be exactly as you envision it. Most pivot their business or product multiple times before finding their breakthrough success.
The same holds true for you and I. We all have a “secret” to success that will only reveal itself when we do the work and apply the principles listed in this essay.
To unlock your “secret,” you must go unlock it. Each time you take action you will be a little bit closer to your secret.
Apply the principles of health, knowledge, starting and finishing, learning and applying, using money well, and staying consistent with it all and you will discover your ultimate secret to success.
And that, Socrates, is my explanation to how there are secrets to success.
Yours in Success,