The Not-So-Sexy Principles of Success

I love motivational-speaking-rah-rah-success type of shit. My favorite books are by Napoleon Hill, who spent his entire life studying success. My workout playlist consists of people like Les Mills, Eric Thomas, and Ray Lewis shouting ideas over what seems to be the theme music from the movie 300. I love it, I love it all.

It’s why I am a sucker for Network Marketing. The positive vibes and motivational phrases that we’re all going to get rich, get ripped, and cure cancer fires me up!

All of this kind of stuff is great, and I do think everyone should be exposed to people like Jim Rohn, Napoleon Hill, and Les Brown, but the true principles of success aren’t nearly that sexy.

We all see the person hit the game-winning 3-pointer. We all see the firefighter who saves the eight cats (plus the crazy cat lady) from the burning building, but we miss the time building up to that moment. We miss all the conditioning drills, the thousands of shots put up on Christmas Eve, and the bloody nose. We miss the hours at the fire academy, the sleepless nights, and hanging out at the fire station for hours upon hours.

So I want to highlight some of shitty principles of success that I have found through books I’ve read and a few successes and failures in my own life. Oh, that doesn’t sound inspiring? Well read on, homie. By becoming aware of some of the obstacles we will face on our path to success, we will be better able to navigate and avoid such obstacles.

Consistent Daily Action

This is the most important element of success. We think that there will be this big break that we will capitalize on and success will just magically appear (see lottery, influx of New Years gym memberships, and divorces that “suddenly” happen). Things do not usually “suddenly happen.” They happen over a long period of time when small, consistent actions compile.

Putting aside $200 a month for an index fund is not nearly as attractive as buying a lottery ticket for this months $412 million Mega Big Balls drawing. Exercising 3-5x week and changing your diet is hard. Visualizing yourself with a shredded six pack, and chicks crawling all over you like an Axe Body Spray commercial is the easy part.

What is it that you want? What are the small, daily actions that you can take to achieve those things?

It’s monotonous, it’s boring, it’s not sexy, and it works. Idk what to tell you.

Adding More Value

“You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want” ~Zig Ziglar

People get paid for the amount of value they offer the marketplace. Kels always gets upset that football players make millions per year when what she does (as a professional dancer) is just as difficult. Seriously, as a dancer, her body is battered and bruised as if she just came home from playing tailback for the Patriots.

But the reality is that the NFL has millions of eyeballs on it every Sunday. One day, when nobody can choreograph like her, and companies fly her in for dance moves, then she can get Tom Brady-like financials.

Warren Buffet is a billionaire because his company gives clients returns year after year. Lebron is a multi-millionaire and world icon because nobody else can hoop like him.

Millions of people tune into watch Lebron to be entertained. Everybody wants a piece of Berkshire Hathaway because not many other companies can do what Buffet and his partner Charlie Munger do.

A CEO will make more than the office mailroom position because of the amount responsibilities they have. The personal trainer who gets the best results will make the most money. The more value you can add to others, the more you will receive in return.

If you were removed from the picture, could you easily be replicated? Are you a friend who is easily replaced? Are your skills easily taught and developed?

The problem is that many of us are so self-focused that we get lost in the fog of own issues, and feel that if we give too much, there won’t be enough (time, energy, money, etc.) to take care of us, or that people will take advantage of us.

It’s hard and kind of scary to give freely like that, but try it. Try giving more compliments, thinking about your partners needs over your own, or inconveniencing yourself for a friend. Share, give, and add more to others, and watch it return to you exponentially. 

Hold Up On That Instant Gratification

“Do what others won’t today, so you can do what others can’t tomorrow.” ~Mark Divine

I always use the example of investing and finance because it perfectly describes how hard it is to put off instant gratification. When I’m at the bar, I’m not thinking about retirement. When I want the newest Apple gizmo, it’s like I forget about what an index fund is. And that 10% of my paycheck I’m suppose to use to “pay myself first,” funnels much easier into my Park Café fund.

When those cravings kick in for that salty, buttery popcorn, all I can think is, “Fuck a six-pack. I’ll start tomorrow.. Or Monday.”

There’s a quote that always rings inside my head. It goes, “The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people do the things that unsuccessful people know they should do.”

We all know how to be successful. We know to read to expand our knowledge, practice to perfect our skills, and skip out on the Park Café’s French Toast Foolishness.

But it’s hard. I mean, it has powdered sugar on it. 

Success is hard. Fantasizing about success is easy. Grinding every week in the gym is hard. Thinking about a six-pack and being that lucky guy in the Axe commercials is easy. Becoming a person of value and somebody who is not easily replaced takes a ton of work. Working through emails and Excel docs until clocking out at 5:00pm on the dot is easy. Passing on the immediate distractions and gratifications is hard. Succumbing to the delicious smell of bacon is easy, and actually, completely recommended.

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