Audio Version available - see player below
Once again, my good friend from our college days, Greg, inspired another article for this blog.
I love and respect what Greg is doing to help people. What I pointed out to Greg, in an email response to his “email blast” this morning, became the inspiration for this article. After reading, what I defined as another exhaustive and somewhat redundant list of things someone needs to do to be successful, I said I felt confused. It left me feeling mentally exhausted and not knowing where to start.
I went on to say, if I had to wake up every morning and face a list of things like his that I have to do to take a step forward to be successful at anything, I think I'd rather enlist in the military. My life would be easier.
Listen to the Audio Version:
Truly Successful People
I honestly don't believe the people most of us classify as truly and famously successful go through this list of gyrations Greg sent me. I believe they have a dream and they focus on the dream. They are steadfast in their self belief. They “know” they can realize their dream. They learn, research and determine what it will cost (sacrifices) to realize the dream. Then, they plan their work (set goals) and work their plan (create/discover the processes and take necessary action).
All that other stuff on Greg's list, to me, complicates the process and makes it seem harder. It probably is harder if I, for one, have to remember all the stuff on Greg's list and jump through all those hoops every hour of everyday of my life.
If you study the great, successful people throughout history, they didn't go through all these structured lists of things to achieve their success. Think - Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Steve Case. Mary Kay Ash. Thomas Edison. Henry Ford. Marie Curie. Bill Lear. Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Jefferson. Helena Rubinstein. Alexander Graham Bell. Marconi. Oprah Winfry. The Wright brothers. Watson of IBM. J.K Rowling. David (of David & Goliath fame), etc., etc., etc.
Think & Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill created a quantitative approach to success, a success formula, if you will, with his still best selling book, Think and Grow Rich. But, mainly what he did was create a list of characteristics, traits and acquired skills of successful people. However, the most powerful thing he said was, "Anything the mind can conceive, it can achieve!"
Nothing! NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! happens without the DREAM, the VISION of what can be . . . sparked by the inspiration to pursue that dream. If you want it bad enough, you'll find the path, acquire the skills and knowledge and learn to never take no for an answer or allow obstacles to stop you. They may slow you down, but they won't stop you.
If you really look into virtually all famous successful people, they weren't always nice or professional (example - Steve Jobs). They didn't play by the rules. They didn't do it the conventional way. They pissed off lots of people including their competitors and the government. NO – was never an option. They very often didn't set defined goals. The only goal, at any cost, no matter who or what got in their way, was to realize the achievement of THE DREAM – PERIOD!
Most Important Traits of Success
Probably, the most important traits of their successes were that they were ruthless, relentless, driven, didn't care who or what got in their way, acquired whatever knowledge and skills they needed anyway they could and used people as needed. They just as easily discarded people when they no longer were of any value or became a hindrance to forward progress.
Edison, Ford, Jobs, Gates, Walton, Hilton, etc. personify this. These were the kind of people Napoleon Hill studied and interviewed to create Think & Grow Rich. These people did whatever it took to achieve their successes, regardless of the cost in money or human resources.
Most people, the vast majority, do not have and never will have, regardless of how it may be drummed into them, the desire, dreams, visions, drive, relentlessness, ruthlessness, perseverance, persistence, etc. to become high performing athletes, entertainers, actors, inventors, business tycoons, military leaders, high level elected or appointed officials, etc. This is, by the way, regardless of the fact they may have extreme levels of intelligence, talent and gifts and even acquired skills and experience. It also doesn't mean they can't realize their dreams and be successful on their own terms.
Virtually all of these driven, high level, successful people have some form of sociopathic personality disorder. Again, I suggest Jobs, Obama, Bush, Besos, Gates etc. Bill Gates wife, Melinda, was and is the driving force and actually the catalyst behind the Gates Foundation. She is also instrumental in getting all the billionaires in the world to contribute at least 50% of their wealth to helping improve the world in various ways. Bill is a brilliant visionary and business man, but he didn't have a clue what to do with his wealth.
Personally, if anybody had kept indoctrinating me with lists like the one Greg sent out this morning, all valuable ideas and concepts, I probably would have never taken a chance on chasing my dreams. Since I earned a degree in Industrial Arts Education I would have simply taken a job teaching IA. That would have been the end of my story.
Inspiration and Encouragement
I was so fortunate to keep meeting people who only inspired and encouraged me to chase my dreams no matter what it cost or might take. Of course, I probably should add, I didn't spend much time with the people who wanted me to conform to anything, including great lists like Greg's. I sought the kind of people who had the ideas, concepts, experience and success I was wanting to realize in my own dreams.
I learned everything I needed along the way. Whenever I listened to people who told me I “had to do this” or I “had to do that” and would read the self-help books they recommended with all the "lists" and tried to follow them, I'd get bogged down and lose my bearing, drive and vision. The information was good, but I became too involved in the process and lost sight of the Dream and Vision.
My suggestion, to anyone, if you really want to be successful (as defined by yourself), is to to stop focusing on the process. The process is not inspiring, encouraging or motivational. Ultimately, you may actually use many or all the things on Greg's or any other list of success traits and characteristics. But, they will fall into place as part of your personal growth.
I told Greg – it's not my focus to tell people HOW to become successful. When John F. Kennedy had the dream of putting men on the moon and returning them safely to Earth, neither he nor anyone else knew how they were going to do that. The HOW was inspired by the dream. Once the dream was set in motion, everything else fell into place.
My focus is on helping people find and live their dreams and visions. I believe this is Greg's focus, too. It's just easier to tell people how than it is to inspire them to dream their dreams and focus on making them come true. I like to inspire people with stories and interviews of successful people, famous or not, who followed and lived their dreams. My dream of success never involved fame or even fortune. The process of HOW to do something will fall in place automatically if someone wants something bad enough.
Where there is a WILL, there IS a WAY.
I have met so many people during my lifetime who have inspired me. Many of their names you wouldn't recognize. Yet, each of them has played a role in making the world a better place because they were inspired to do whatever it took to realize their own dreams. I'm recovering some of these interviews I've recorded. My dream currently, as I travel the country (and perhaps some other countries) is to uncover the real human legacy of dreams, visions and success.
You'll hear about the woman from Pennsylvania who didn't have a high school diploma and needed someone to help babysit her children. So, she started a school in her home exchanging teaching young women stenography for babysitting. That little school grew to become a fully accredited private college and graduate school and she earned a PhD along the way.
You'll hear about another woman who grew up on a farm in California with only a high school diploma. She spent part of her young life in an iron lung dealing with the deadly scourge of Polio. She became the wealthiest and most powerful woman in Michigan.
You'll hear about a guy from Colorado who started several very successful businesses, until one day the government decided to make an example of him, shut him down and took him to task and to court. He fought back and prevailed. He also created, what may have been one of the earliest versions of what has become known and the “Fair Tax” concept. I think it's better than any of the tax reform ideas on the drawing board today. He died, so he is no longer able to promote it.
You'll hear about people who don't make large amounts of money and no one knows who they are, yet they live the lifestyle of their dreams and have realized their dreams. They are successful. Some live in large, nice homes. Some live in RV's and vans. Some trek the world living out of a backpack. Some teach. Some invent. Some create something artistic – art, photography, music. Some write. Some volunteer. Some build businesses. Some earn comfortable livings from passive incomes on the Internet while they relax with their fishing poles.
Neither my friend Greg nor I can actually tell anyone HOW to become successful in anything. We can't know if anyone else has a real dream, the depth of that dream or the commitment and sacrifices a person is prepared to make to realize his or her dream.
Yes! There are lots of HOW's and lists about HOW to do many things. But, unless there is that dream or vision and the spark of inspiration and encouragement, all the HOW's in the world won't guarantee you'll ever realize the fulfillment of the dream or vision or be successful.
Live free and be happy. EH