Has Life Turned Out as You Planned? How to Obliterate Failure and Master Success


trees gowing on concreteTrees don’t grow in the inner city.  The inner city is paved with concrete and asphalt and trees need a clearing of soil to take root. They also need sun and water. Hold this idea of a required clearing and conditions for success and let's see how to apply it to your goal and obliterate failure.

Why You Don’t Have the Success You Want

If you say that you have the success you desire in all domains of life, you are lying.  Whether it be financial, in relationships, or inner happiness or satisfaction, there is some area where you are not as successful as you would like.   Let's get to the bottom of why and then provide a fix.


Lack of Success Reason #1: You Don’t Follow instructions

I have created marketing systems for financial advisors for the last 20 years.  For the most part (and a lesser degree, the reasons below),  those who have been successful with the marketing systems have followed the instructions.  Those that have failed, have not.  Sadly, many that have failed just did not read the instructions.  Others unknowingly violated the instructions and actually thought they were indeed complying with the instructions.

This failure to follow instructions appears to have three root causes:

  1. Arrogance, where the buyer thinks he knows better than the instructions
  2. Laziness, where the buyer does not read the instructions or watch the training video s
  3. Stupidity, where the buyer reads the instructions but misinterprets them and implements incorrect steps.  This is a widespread problem.  The skill of reading and accurately interpreting is so important, the exercise to read a paragraph and then accurately answer questions remains in the SAT exam for college entrance.  Unfortunately, a significant portion of the population lacks this skill.

Consider that everyone in jail is incarcerated for this failure to follow instructions.  We have laws (the instructions) and the criminals have decided not to follow them.  The consequences are harsh.

The solution for this weakness is easy.  Just Follow the instructions.  Read them 3 times to be sure you understand them.  Once you begin implementing, check them again to be sure you are not deviating.  Some people go through their entire lives never realizing that a simple element of success is to just follow the instructions.   These folks do not want to be dominated by anything and have decided to "do it their way," regardless of the cost.  These rugged individualists are consummate failures.

In some arenas of life, the instructions may not be clear (e.g., how to have a successful relationship, how to be rich) and I will address this in the next post.

Lack of Success Reason #2: Your Map of Reality is Inaccurate

The most common example of this is a person who is awkward in social situations.  He believes what he says is appropriate yet everyone else considers him a social misfit.  Such people do not see reality clearly.  Less common examples of this mis-perception are people in sales who say things that alienate buyers (and thus fail to make a living in sales), people who make bad business decisions (because they mis-prioritize or ignore the important factors) or those that fail in school because they believe their misguided study methods are appropriate.

These people may not get help because they don’t perceive their failure as self-generated.   They often believe that their failure is for some external reason or a personality issue and "they are just not cut out for……"  In fact, they could ask others the difficult big questions such as:

Why do you think I have few friends?

Why do you think I cannot maintain a romantic relationship?

Why do you think I fail in sales?

Most people however are not this rigorous with themselves.  So if you have a hint that you may be misinterpreting how things really are, ask someone who is successful in that arena for coaching.

Lack of Success Reason #3: You Lack Motivation

I gave a talk to a room of professionals about marketing tactics.  At the end, one participant asked, "this is all good stuff—how do I get motivated to do it?"

I have to give this guy credit for his brutal self-honesty.  Most people would be too embarrassed to ask this question.  Let's answer it.

The formula most people use for motivation is – wait to get motivated and then act.  Here's how motivation really works - take the first step toward your goal and the universe will send motivation.  The universe is simply waiting to see if you have even the slightest commitment (as gauged by your taking the first step toward your goal), before it comes to help you.

The Fix: Have a Structure for Success

If you want success, you must first create a clearing just like trees need a clearing of soil to grow, water and sunlight. Most of us attempt success without first establishing the structure or conditions for success and so we fail.

Let's consider the most common example: weight loss.

Many people "decide" to lose weight.  They even make a new year's resolution. They know which foods are low-calorie and decide to eat more of those foods. Most people fail with this approach as they have no structure for success.   People experience greater success when they adopt a structure like Weight Watchers.   Winning structures for success have the following elements:

  • A leader or committed buddy who holds you accountable and makes certain that you accurately interpret the instructions.  You must speak to this person daily.  Ideally, this person has achieved success in the area you seek to master
  • Consequences for failure to follow instructions (e.g. you have to pay $5 to your buddy if you eat a food not on your approved list) and rewards for successfully following (e.g., your buddy takes you to a movie each week you stick to your plan)
  • Public exposure -- you have to tell others about your goal and admit in front of others when you did not follow the instructions and fail.  Tell 10 people you are on a program to lose 30 pounds in 4 months.  When they next see you and you have not reached your goal, know they will say, "so what happened to your diet?"  This threat of embarrassment is an excellent motivator and why you cannot keep goals private.  Note that Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous have you attend weekly meetings where you must face others but it is even more powerful if you tell your goal to people in your life who do not attend these meetings.
  • In the case of Weight Watchers , they provide food that can be purchased and is pre-measured.  This is an excellent part of a structure for success, so if you can buy any of the elements in your success plan, do it.  As an example, if you want to grow your business, you may need to "buy" labor to assist you.
  • Someone to phone in a moment of weakness and a network of support (e.g., coaches, mentors)
  • A routine of marking down each day's actions toward your goal
  • If possible, a belief in something larger than you.  Some people handle their obesity in order to stay alive and fulfill their role as care taker for their children.  In Alcoholics Anonymous, participants must delegate their problem to a higher power.

When you create a clearing and conditions for success before you move down the road to your goal, your probability of a win is greatly multiplied.  Copy and paste the above list into a document and use as a checklist before you start to act on your goal.




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