Human Behavior And Caterpillar Behavior Story

Processionary Caterpillars and Human Behaviorstring(45) "Processionary Caterpillars and Human Behavior"

Nature is a treasure trove of fascinating phenomena, often defying human understanding and challenging our perception of the world around us. One such enigmatic behavior is exhibited by processionary caterpillars, a group of insects that exhibit an eerie and puzzling tendency to walk in endless circles until they meet their demise. One of the first people to write about them was Jean-Henri Fabre in the early 1900’s.

Fabre experimented with the caterpillars by arranging them so they would walk in a circle to see how long it would take one of them to realize its mistake and change course.  He assumed it would take just minutes or maybe hours.  However, to his horror, they walked in a circle for more than a week before they started dying.

A Mirror for Us

The natural world often offers a mirror through which we can reflect on our own behaviors and choices. The intriguing behavior of processionary caterpillars, known for their endless circular marches, holds uncanny resemblances to certain patterns of human behavior that lead to negative consequences. By looking at the parallels between these caterpillars and human actions, we can gain insights into the complexity and the unintended consequences that can emerge from seemingly innocuous choices.

Much like processionary caterpillars, people often find themselves caught in repetitive patterns that lead to unfavorable outcomes. These patterns can be observed in various aspects of life, from personal relationships to societal trends. I have personally witnessed it many times within networking groups that refuse to change their unproductive behaviors despite the marginal results of the group. The inability to break away from these patterns, despite evidence of their harmful effects, is reminiscent of the caterpillars’ persistent adherence to their circular marches.

The caterpillars’ circular marches, while seemingly devoid of rationality, also reveal the dangers of stubborn adherence to a status quo that is not working. All too often I meet people who are happy in their hole, and they don’t want a ladder. Just as the caterpillars march in circles despite the evident signs of danger, people sometimes continue down destructive paths simply because they are unwilling to consider alternatives.

A Cautionary Tale

The processionary caterpillars’ behavior, driven by an innate inability to perceive alternatives, serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of critical thinking. This echoes the human tendency to make decisions based on habits, biases, and preconceived notions rather than a rational evaluation of options and more importantly, the ability to engage in behaviors that have proven to work over and over again by other successful individuals.

The inability of processionary caterpillars to adapt their behavior when circumstances change, holds a mirror to human resistance to change. People frequently find themselves clinging to outdated beliefs (often because they “seem” easier), or methods even when they are no longer effective. This inability to alter course to do something known to work can lead to stagnation, missed opportunities, and a failure to address pressing issues within the organization.

The behavior of processionary caterpillars holds disconcerting parallels to certain negative patterns of human behavior. The tendency to blindly follow someone leading them in circles, resisting change, conforming to group dynamics, and perpetuating destructive cycles is a reminder of the intricate interplay between individuals within a group.

Ultimately, the story of processionary caterpillars serves as a cautionary tale that prompts us to reflect on our own behaviors and the potential consequences of our actions. Just as we study and learn from nature, we should also strive to learn from the mistakes and behaviors of people who have a track record of success, using their stories as opportunities for self-improvement and growth.

Don’t just follow the leader – follow the leader who is taking you towards success.

Don’t Pitch!string(14) "Don’t Pitch!"

One of the most important things to remember when you are networking is:
Don’t Pitch 

During my recent visit to Necker Island, my friend, Mike Macedonio, and I talked about Networking Up, which is an idea that he came up with a few years back. You need to identify who are the successful people (however you define success) that you want to know, and find a way to network with those people.

Well, Mike and I saw several examples of people doing it wrong; they were trying to pitch a sale or idea to the owner of the island, Richard Branson.

Watch this short video to see more:

 

When you are Networking Up, don’t sell to people! You may think, “I’ll never have another chance.” Well, I guarantee you’ll never have another chance if you pitch anyone, especially the first time you meet them.
Instead, connect with people and find common ground. It changes everything.

Legacy is About the Presentstring(27) "Legacy is About the Present"

As the founder of BNI®, I have spent years helping business owners build successful networks through referrals. But as I have grown older, I have come to realize that my true legacy is not in the success of my business, but in the impact that I have made on others. In order to leave a lasting legacy, it is essential to look forward and not backwards. Our windshield is larger than our rearview mirror for a reason. It’s important to recognize what is behind us; however, what is most important is what lies ahead of us.

When we look backward, we become trapped in our past successes and failures. We may be proud of what we have accomplished, but we may also be haunted by the mistakes we have made. We may be tempted to rest on our laurels and feel that we have already made our mark on the world. However, this kind of thinking can be misleading, as it can prevent us from moving forward and making even greater contributions.

Instead, we should focus on the present and the future. We should think about what we can do to make a positive impact on others right now and in the years to come. This means investing our time and resources in projects and initiatives that have the potential to change people’s lives for the better. We should seek out opportunities to mentor and inspire others, to give back to our communities, and to contribute to causes that we are passionate about.  We all have people who are in our story – people who have changed our lives. And yet, the most important thing in leaving a legacy in the world is – whose story are we in?  Whose life have we changed for the better?

When we take this approach, we can be confident that our legacy will be one of positive change and impact. We will be remembered not just for what we have accomplished, but for the lives we touched and the people we inspired. We will be remembered as leaders, visionaries, and advocates for change.

Of course, looking forward does not mean that we should forget about the past entirely. We can learn valuable lessons from our experiences, both good and bad, and use those lessons to guide our future actions. But we should not allow our past to define us or limit our potential. Instead, we should use it as a springboard to even greater achievements.

Legacy is not just about what we have done, but what we will do in the future. We should look forward with optimism and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. By doing so, we can leave a lasting legacy that inspires others and makes the world a better place.

Ten Tips for Success at a Networking Mixerstring(42) "Ten Tips for Success at a Networking Mixer"

Some people get nervous about attending a business networking function. They may be uncomfortable meeting new people, or they don’t know where to begin when they walk into the event. Others feel that they just don’t get anything out of their networking efforts. I’ve taken my years of experience and compiled this list of ten tips to help you successfully network your way through your next mixer.

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Accountability-for-Business-Success

Accountability for Business Successstring(35) "Accountability for Business Success"

For a business organization to be successful, there must be accountability. If there must be accountability, then it follows that some systems and rules have to be in place.
This is also true for business networking groups such as BNI®.

I have found that one of the strengths of a network is that most of the members are friends, and one of the weaknesses of a network is that most of the members are friends. And friends don’t like to hold friends accountable.

 

Think about it like this: Ice hockey without rules would be boxing on ice. Without rules, your networking group would be chaos.

BNI chapters without rules and guidelines would be a coffee klatch of socializing around a table or a social club chit-chatting in a video meeting. You have to have rules, you have to have a system. The rules are important for long-term success.

 

Applying the Rules

Quality leadership is about having a positive attitude while maintaining accountability with diplomacy. It is about coaching people by guiding and helping them. Good leaders apply the policies and rules like Mandela, not Atilla. They use tough love, they show people that they care, and they make sure that the members of their team or of the group understand the why behind the accountability.

Remember: People don’t care HOW until they understand WHY. Accountability is critical for business success. Effectively maintaining accountability in a business or networking group leads to long-term success for the organization and its members.

Hard Work and Good Choicesstring(26) "Hard Work and Good Choices"

I believe that everyone wants some degree of success. I’ve yet to meet somebody who doesn’t want to be successful at something important in their lives. I also believe that while everyone is entitled to pursue success, success itself is not an entitlement.

It is largely determined by our hard work and our choices. I have known many people who work hard but make bad choices, and most of them think they deserve to be more successful because they have worked so hard. On the other hand, I don’t know of very many successful people who have made good choices but didn’t work hard.

Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It truly takes both to achieve success at whatever you do.

Advice About Making Decisions

Years ago, when I was the CEO for BNI®, I knew the choices I made were important to the business. My decisions impacted hundreds of employees and franchise owners, as well as hundreds of thousands of BNI members around the world. I remember talking to a good friend and mentor about some tough decisions I had to make and my concerns about them. He said, “Not every decision you make has to be a good one. Just make sure that you make more good ones than bad ones and when you make a bad one – minimize the impact by fixing it quickly.”

Wow! That was great advice! It is advice that precisely hits the point about working hard and making good choices. Not every choice you make must be on the mark. However, enough of them do so that you can get the results you want. Some of my biggest lessons in business have come from my losses, not my successes. Generally, neither had much to do with luck but instead with the choices I made or the commitment I gave to the project. I think the harder you work, the luckier you get. And you want to work smarter, not just harder.

Plan the Work and Work the Plan

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of people who have experienced varying degrees of success in their lives. A recurring theme I see with these people is that they plan their work and work their plan. They think through their possible choices, make the best ones they can with the information they have, and then work hard to carry out the choices they’ve made.

I remember talking to someone I’d known for years about the growth of my business and some of the personal goals I had achieved, and he said, “Man you’re lucky. It must be nice.”
I responded by saying “Yeah, I’m “lucky”. Let me tell you the secret to my “luck.” First, I went to college for ten years. During that time, I started my own business and  worked really long hours for two decades. Along the way, I mortgaged my house a couple of times for the business, and I wrote five books. You too can have this kind of “luck.” All you need to do is apply this kind of effort to whatever you do, and you can be just as lucky.” He laughed and said, “Okay, okay, I get it!” 

Success is most often earned. It is not handed over because you are entitled.
If being successful was easy, everyone would have the success they think they deserve.  Working hard is only the first part of success. Making good choices is the second part. It’s important to remember that it truly takes BOTH to achieve success at whatever you do.

Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Bestring(45) "Go from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be"

My friend Jack Canfield is a best-selling author with hundreds of books, including The Success Principles and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He has also been my guest on The Official BNI Podcast. This blog is from my podcast conversation with Jack about how to get from where you currently are to where you want to be. We discuss his book, The Success Principles, and the companion book, The Success Principles Workbook, which helps people integrate the principles into their personal and professional success stories.

Many people read helpful books like The Success Principles and are excited about the ideas they get. However, many don’t do the things that they learned about – sometimes they need more support. Jack shares some ideas, exercises, and activities from The Success Principles Workbook which provide a way to integrate and apply the principles.

Recognizing OUR Part in Creating Our Experiences

It’s easy to talk about taking 100% responsibility and giving up blaming and complaining. But to actually do that requires some interaction with you and your thinking process. There is an exercise called ‘The Difficult and Troubling Experience Exercise’ where you answer a series of questions such as “What’s a difficult or troubling experience in your life – at work or at home?” And then “How are you creating it?” Because we’re always doing something to create the current situation.

Jack shares the story of a person he met who was getting robbed all the time, and Jack asked him, “Where do you live?” He said, “New York.” Jack said, “In an apartment?” He said, “Yeah.” Jack: “What floor is it?” He replied, “The first floor.” Jack asked him if he had bars on the apartment windows to which the man answered, “No.” “Do you have triple locks on the door?” “No.”  “Do you have a alarm system to alert the police if someone breaks in?” “No.”
Jack then asked him, “What are you pretending not to know? You live on the first-floor apartment in New York City. So, one of the next questions is what are you pretending not to know? And then the question is – What’s the payoff for keeping it like it is?”

What’s the cost of keeping the situation like it is?
What would you rather be experiencing?
What actions would you need to take to create what you really want?
On a scale of one to 10, are you likely to do that?
And when will you do that?  

These types of questions take you through a process of looking at what’s not working in your life and how you’re creating it. You’re not a victim but there’s something you’re doing to either create, promote, or allow it to happen.

Life Purpose

Jack recommends three exercises to help us get clarity about our life purpose.

  1. It’s important to have a vision. He suggests creating a vision for seven different areas of your life.
  2. Goal Setting. Turn your vision into goals and create an affirmation for each of your goals.
  3. Create a mastermind group. Determine the five or six people you would like in your group and decide the date by which you’re going to call them. Meet with your mastermind group virtually or in person every two weeks.

 

Accountability Partner Culture

For business success, find an accountability partner to talk to every morning. Tell them five things that you plan to do that day to achieve your breakthrough goal, and then they tell you five things they are going to do to achieve their breakthrough goal. The next day, you hold each other accountable for the five things you each said you would do.
Do this for five days each week.

I find that many people like this concept, however they say, “I don’t have time to do that.” What I think is crazy, is they’re stuck in their life and they’re having challenges. They’re not making things work, but they don’t have a few minutes a day to do one thing to help themselves.

Create an accountability partner culture. Take five minutes, once a day. The reality is you can’t afford NOT to do it. As humans, we avoid doing the things that are uncomfortable or difficult, even if they have the greatest long-term benefits.

Often, we never do the big goals or make the big breakthroughs that you do when you have an accountability partner and a mastermind group. Those five minutes every morning are so valuable. Jack told me, “It’s literally been one of the greatest secrets of my success and the people in my company.”

One Thing at a Time

Many people spend way too much time doing things that are ineffective and then they don’t have the time they want for their family, for self-care, for exercise, meditation, or even healthy eating. It can be overwhelming when you try to do everything at once. When we are overwhelmed, we usually don’t do anything.
Do one thing at a time, space it out, and then integrate it, so that it becomes part of your natural experience – it becomes a habit.

Jack recommends that people create FOUR new habits a year. Resist the urge to do more than that. If you create four new habits a year – for your health, business, home – AND you stick with them, in five years you’ll have 20 new habits! The habits that you have are what get you where you want to go. OR, if they are bad habits, they’re keeping you stuck. Implementing positive changes, over time and consistently, can change your life and help you get to where you want to be.

I love Jack and appreciate how much he shares to help others be successful. Check out his website, his blog, and the many free resources he offers. I can tell you firsthand that he is somebody who walks the talk. He doesn’t just talk about success. He lives the principles that he talks about.

The “What’s In It For Me?” Attitudestring(45) "The “What’s In It For Me?” Attitude"

A few years back, I received an email from someone who read an article I wrote about collaboration and working together. They said, “The type of networking you talk about describes the way things should work, but in the real world most people seem to have an attitude of what’s in it for me.” Then they asked, “How can I prevent wasting my time and efforts on people, only to find that they have this kind of attitude?” 

I thought it was a great question and I gave a short answer – stop hanging out with the wrong kind of people and start actively seeking out the right kind of people. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that when it comes to getting stuck with the wrong people.

To move beyond that and build a network that wants to help YOU (knowing that you also want to help them) you have to recognize that it is a journey, not a destination. Building a strong network for business success is more like a marathon than a sprint. It takes an investment of time to find and get to know those professionals with a Givers Gain® attitude with whom you can build long-term referral relationships.

How to Find Networking Partners

It starts with finding people who have a giving attitude. These are some of the traits of good networking partners:

  • People who sincerely ask how they can help you or what they can offer you before they ask anything from you.
  • Individuals who show that they are willing to create a professional relationship over a period of time, because they understand that they must develop credibility with you before asking for your business or your referrals.
  • People who make the time to go beyond normal business interactions with those whom they want to be able to ask for support in the future.
  • Professionals who understand that networking is more about farming than hunting and show it in their actions. They make the effort to get to know you outside of the business environment whenever possible, knowing that the more of a friendship there is between you, the more expectations you can both have from each other’s networking efforts.
  • People who do what they can to bring business and contacts to you and to their other networking partners. They share pertinent, helpful information with you, and invite you to business meetings that will favorably position you with others you want to meet.
  •  Individuals who give of their time and knowledge to help their referral sources succeed. They gladly celebrate the successes of their networking partners and tell others about them.

You want to find people who understand that it takes time and who are willing to GIVE business in order to get business.

Building Relationships

At its core, business networking is about taking the time to build genuine, trusted relationships. Simply meeting someone and being visible is not enough. Having visibility without building trust won’t get you very far in the long run.

Remember, a network that is a mile wide and an inch deep is not a strong network. You want to create a personal network that is both wide and deep. Building meaningful relationships is the key to making it happen. Meet with people regularly and participate in networking groups where you see the same quality of professionals on a consistent basis. This will help you develop mutually beneficial relationships and screen out the “what’s in it for me?” types.

I think it is also important to have an abundance mind-set in business networking and referral marketing. This happens with an awareness that there is more than enough business to go around. People can sense desperation, and it is NOT referable. Successful networkers choose an abundance mind-set over a scarcity mentality.

As you read these suggestions and look for good networking partners, look at yourself. Do YOU have these traits? Are YOU willing to help others get more business before seeking business for yourself?
Instead of asking, “What’s in it for me?” ask others what you can do for them.

What are your thoughts? I’d like to hear them in the comment section.

Celebrating 37 Years of BNIstring(27) "Celebrating 37 Years of BNI"

January 8, 2022, marks the 37th anniversary for BNI® (Business Network International). Yes, I launched the very first chapter of BNI in California on January 8, 1985. By the way, that chapter is still meeting every week!

For 37 years, we have been helping members create a better future for themselves AND for their communities. Today we have more than 288,000 BNI members in 10,600+ chapters around the world, networking together to create business referrals for each other.

BNI’s 37th Anniversary Video

I invite you to watch and share the 37th anniversary video to learn about our accomplishments from the past year and to hear my thoughts about the year ahead.

Stop Blaming Your Networkstring(25) "Stop Blaming Your Network"

Sometimes people who have established a referral network feel unsatisfied with the referrals that they receive, and then they blame people in the network.

The truth is that if your referral network isn’t working the way you want it to, it’s your fault. When you find yourself pointing out other people’s problems, it may be time to ask if you are the reason your network isn’t delivering.

Four Common Complaints

My network is not motivated.

Maybe so, however, what are you doing to compel them to refer you to people they know? Are you interested in what they do? Or are you more concerned about how interested they are in what you do?
Ask yourself: Am I helping them in the same way I want them to help me?

They don’t know my business.

What have you done to educate them about what you do? Have you shared the latest new products or services you offer? Do you meet with members of your network outside of the regular meetings to strengthen your referral relationship?
Ask yourself: Have I given them the information they need to promote my business to others?

The referrals are fickle. They only used me once and never again.

Consider this before you decide that the referrals you receive are fickle: What have you done to turn the single sale into a regular, loyal client relationship? Do you contact each prospect in a timely manner? Do you ensure that the customer sees the best that you and your company have to offer?
Ask yourself: Do I follow up regularly and communicate in the way that they prefer?

They don’t have the contacts I need.

If you have gone through the entire database of each of your fellow networkers’ contacts and disqualified every single one, you may have underestimated your network’s contacts. Not to mention all of their contacts’ contacts. By doing this, you miss out on an exponentially growing number of possible buyers for what you are selling.
Ask yourself: Am I clear on who is the best contact for my business and am I clearly sharing that information with my referral partners?

It’s Your Obligation

It is your obligation to teach your fellow networkers how to identify referrals for you. If they are not doing so, then you are not teaching them effectively. You are responsible for many of the actions people take on your behalf.

It’s up to you to set the tone for your business, educate your referral partners, demonstrate competence and integrity, and maintain the effectiveness and strength of your referral relationships. If your referral system isn’t working, you’ve probably overlooked something.

Instead of turning over the responsibility to others and blaming them when things don’t turn out satisfactorily, work with your referral partners to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Acknowledge responsibility to anyone who has been wronged, without equivocation. Say, “It’s my fault that this happened. I apologize for the mistake, and I promise to set things right.” This straightforward acceptance of blame has the added benefit of defusing the other person’s anger. What the injured party wants to hear is acceptance of responsibility and a commitment to correcting the situation.

One of the strengths of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends. And one of the weaknesses of a referral network is that everyone becomes friends.
Only those groups and individuals who recognize the need for responsibility and accountability can make the process work for them. Those who are constantly blaming someone else for what’s going wrong, while doing nothing to change or fix it, will not do well in referral marketing.

Remember, if you’re not getting the referrals you want, it’s your responsibility to stop blaming your network and to start taking charge of your own business success.

why

Why You Do What You Do Is Your Key to Successstring(45) "Why You Do What You Do Is Your Key to Success"

Your why is the most important thing you need to determine. It is the reason you do the things that you do and why you are successful. There has probably been someone in your life – a coach, grandparent, teacher, aunt, or spiritual mentor – who’s made a difference for you. It may have been when you were young (it generally is) – it may have been recently. It may have been a positive experience or it may have been very negative. Either way, it is your “why” for what you are passionate about.

I’ve certainly had people who have made a significant difference in my life. One of those people in my life was my freshman high school teacher, Mr. Romero, at Gladstone High School in Southern California. Mr. Romero taught history and that class was the one that selected the student council representative for the freshmen. I had run for student council numerous times in junior high school and I was soundly defeated each time. The elections weren’t even remotely close. In fact, I came in dead last every time. Each election was a humiliating experience that left an indelible impression on me. So, by the time high school rolled around, I had no intention of running for student council ever again.

Why Mr. Romero

The first week of freshman history class, our teacher, Mr. Romero asked all the students, “Since we pick the freshman student council representative from this year’s history class, are there any volunteers for the position? Who would like to do it?” And nobody volunteered. Finally one of the prettiest, most popular girls in the class said, “Oh, Mr. Romero, you know, I would do it but I’m just so busy! I don’t have the time to do something like that.” Our teacher replied, “That’s OK, you don’t have to do it… But if no one’s interested in volunteering, as the teacher I get to pick. Are you okay with that?”

The students came back with cheers, “Yeah, yeah, yeah – you go ahead and pick!” So the teacher looked around the class, he paused at me, and looking me straight in the eyes he said, “Ivan, I bet you would love to do this, wouldn’t you?” I replied, “Well, um, well, yeah, I kind of would, Mr. Romero.” My momentary elation was immediately squashed when the entire class, almost in unison, moaned, “Oh no, not Ivan!” Even the too-busy popular girl stood up and said, “No, no, Mr. Romero, you know what – I’m actually not that busy. If you’re going to pick Ivan, I can do it, after all!” Of course, while she’s saying all this I’m thinking to myself: “Hello, you all see me sitting here, right?” But I couldn’t actually open my mouth to speak. I just sat there, quiet and embarrassed, holding my breath. Have you ever had a moment like this? Where you felt so small you just wanted to slip underneath the carpet? That was how I felt at that moment.

I Lacked Confidence

It’s important to put this experience in context. Today, I’m an author, speaker, and fairly successful businessman with franchises on every populated continent of the world. But remember, this was happening to me, a 13-year-old. I lacked confidence, I felt like I didn’t fit in at all, and I couldn’t get a chance to prove myself at something I really wanted to do. Just imagine, for a moment, how humiliating this was for me. I didn’t have the advantage of peeking into the future to know where I would end up. I have to tell you, it was a raw, exposed moment.

Somehow, Mr. Romero understood that and he gave the ever-popular girl a withering look and said, “No, you had your chance to volunteer and you didn’t take it. So I’m empowered to pick a representative, and I pick Ivan. He’s the student representative! Now, open your books and turn to chapter two”

Despite the grumbles rolling through the classroom, Mr. Romero’s decision was final. I was the Student Council Representative. My teacher believed that I could do a good job. I took a deep breath and knew I would work hard – really hard—to prove him right. When the year-end Student Council elections came around for the following year, I decided to do something I had vowed to never do again – I ran for Student Council. That same class who loudly protested my appointment voted me in for another year, by a landslide! As a matter of fact, I won every election in high school after that: Student Council, Activities Director, Student Body President – every one.

My Emotionally Charged Connection

It all started with Mr. Romero seeing something in me that I had not been able to see in myself. By giving me that chance, he infused confidence in me and that made a big difference in my life. I gained leadership skills and learned responsibility by being involved in those school projects that I had to take from the beginning to the end. Mr. Romero positively influenced my life by giving me the opportunity to succeed. He didn’t do the hard work for me, but he opened the door for me. He gave me a chance to excel. To succeed. To show what I was capable of doing.

Years later, I knew this was an important experience in my life but I never realized how seminal it truly was to the man that I would become. It wasn’t until a few years ago at an Asentiv seminar where everyone was going through their Emotionally Charged Connection to why they do what they do, that I came to realize that my entire life’s work was in fact, a reflection of what Mr. Romero did for me as a young man.

Every book I’ve written or business I’ve started has been an attempt to give other people an opportunity to succeed, to excel, to accomplish what they want to accomplish in life. I can’t “make” someone successful. Only they can do that. I can, however, provide the system, the process, and the opportunity for them to achieve their dreams. I have been continuously reliving what Mr. Romero did for me and I never even knew it – until I looked deeply into my “why.”

Your why is the most important thing you can figure out right now. It is the reason you do the things that you are passionate about. If you don’t know that – you can never completely fulfill your personal and professional dreams.

success

The Real Secret to Success Isn’t Really a Secretstring(54) "The Real Secret to Success Isn’t Really a Secret"

Over my career, I have observed people with different personalities, backgrounds, and behavioral styles achieve success in life. Many times I wondered if there was a reoccurring theme running through their success stories that would clearly illustrate what creates success.

The Secret To Success 

When I was interviewing average business owners and entrepreneurs for my book, Masters of Success, I asked thousands of them what they felt the “secret” to success was. They generally told me things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems.

I then asked many highly successful people who had obtained great wealth or personal achievement in business, sports, or science. They generally told me that success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems. Sound familiar?

This made me very curious. I was teaching at a California State University in the Los Angeles area. I asked hundreds of college students what they thought was the secret to success. These were all undergraduate students in business with little or no real-world business experience. What I found amazing was that they also said success involved things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems!

Everyone I interviewed or wrote about regarding the secret to success gave me virtually the same answer. If we all know what it takes to be successful, why are we not all successful?

What Makes Someone Successful

I have found that many people are looking for some mysterious and ever-elusive secret to success beyond what they already sense to be important. The truth is, there is no great mystery. In fact, very often “success is simply the uncommon application of common knowledge.”

When you hear successful people talk about the secret of their success, have you noticed that you rarely hear any real secret? What you do hear about is their unwavering adherence to some system or approach they believed in and followed with intensity and determination — an uncommon focus on something that less successful people simply take for granted or pay lip service to.

Even when the ideas are easy to understand, they often don’t get implemented. People think there must be something more. After I presented a keynote speech in Sweden years ago, a woman in the audience came up to me and said, “Everything you said makes so much sense. Much of it was about things that I’ve heard were important to do, but I never did them because they seemed too simple. I thought there had to be more to it than that, that the road to success was much more complicated and daunting. So I wasted valuable time looking for some secret”. Then she said, “I don’t understand why people often find it easy to make things so difficult. Myself included”.

Success comes to those who have not only a passion and a vision, but who also have a persistence and a commitment to perform the fundamentals over and over. They continue to work and learn until they can perform these fundamentals flawlessly. In the end, being successful is not about being different or having secret knowledge. In the end, everybody knows what the goal is and how to achieve it. This is common knowledge, and it’s been around for a long, long time. Success is about knowing these things and achieving them without giving up, making excuses, or getting sidetracked. 

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