Monday, March 2, 2015

10 ways to be dumb enough to succeed

When we go to work we sometimes look at those more successful than we and ask ourselves why?  Why are they getting a lot of the gravy and I'm ending up with the gristle?  Well instead of looking at why you aren't winning in life, lets look at those that do. I'm not saying that this list will make you successful, I'm saying that I've observed these behaviors in people that are successful.

- Don't be afraid of Failure. - Failure is a problem for everyone.  As soon as we are born we find that we are failing at all kinds of things.  The difference between kids and adults is that adults have managed to learn enough things to avoid failing on a regular basis.  When we were kids, the only real experience we had was failure.  Of course when you are a kid you call it learning.  The fear should not be of failing, but it should be of not learning.  Successful people NEVER look at things in terms of the loss.  The rest of us use fear to measure what we risk.  We don't venture out unless we are certain of favorable outcome.

- Act first. - There is a time for thinking and a time for acting.  How many times have you said 'Why haven't they thought of this a long time ago?'  Well, they probably have.  The problem is nobody DID anything about it.  Lets face it, it's hard to implement a new idea.  Most people want to give you all of the reasons it will fail and not any of the reasons it will  work.  Fortunately you already have the reasons it will work.  But if you keep thinking about acting instead of acting, your brain will figure out a way that you shouldn't do it.  People that don't act on ideas are the same people that sit wondering why their lives always tend to treat them the same way.  People that do act first are usually unable to do otherwise in other aspects of their lives.  They are impulsive and are often left with egg on their face.  But when it works, they look like the hero.

- Let other people do the dirty work. - If you have the big picture in mind and you know what you want, let other people deal with the minutiae.  This sounds pretty oblivious to the effort that it takes to make things work, but it's what you need.  There is a lot of value in someone that knows exactly what they want.  Most of my life I have no idea what I really want, just a bunch of vague thoughts and impulses.

- Don't care about money. - The biggest worry about people in general is money.  It's also the biggest source of fear.  Money seems to be very hard to get and so easy to lose and everyone wants yours.  The best decisions are probably made without thinking about money.  You want proof?  Look at your kids.  Most people that have children had very little idea of what they were getting into.  Last on that list was how much they cost.  Yet there isn't many that would trade their kids for anything.  Sure there are some notable exceptions, but that's what prisons are for.

- There is only you. (family doesn't matter) - If you are going to succeed, you really need to put all of your energy and your soul into whatever activity it is you wish to succeed at.  You should care about your time like most other people care about their money.  If what you are doing with your time is pushing you towards your success then the opportunity costs are worth it.  Any time spent in pursuit of your goals is time well spent.  Just understand that this includes other endeavors like family.  Family done poorly takes a lot of time and effort.  Done well, it takes nearly all of your time.  Am I saying family men are not successful?  Not at all, they are successful at family, they can also be successful at their career, but I have witnessed precious few that are good at both.  There is no higher aspiration in my opinion.  I am saying that single people with no kids have a much easier time of being successful at whatever vocation they are in, but it still requires most of your time and effort.

- Double down. - Things look a little rocky?  Your idea isn't panning out?  Success driven people don't tend to believe it.  In fact when they are faced with the failures of their ideas, those people will work that much harder to prove their idea was in fact viable and worthwhile no matter what it takes.  Successful people take failure as a challenge to succeed.

- Be born into it. - This aspect of success is interesting.  Some successful people have been born into it.  There has been a lot made lately of being born into privilege and how it is just not fair.  No it's probably not.  Boo hoo, now get over it.  The funny thing about being born into extreme privilege is that you may live a lot of your life trying to decide if your success is yours or product of your lucky stars.  I would submit that being born lucky only gives you an opportunity that you must sill take advantage of.  The idle rich that take no effort to improve themselves and take that opportunity are similar to someone that has won a lottery and files bankruptcy years later.  One can be born into privilege, nobody is born into wisdom.

- Mans gotta know his limitations. - Unless of course you are successful.  I've found that most of us that have any intelligence at all are painfully aware of our own limitations.  We use them like different colored crutches that give us myriad excuses for inaction.  The successful will ignore many of their limitations and assume they can wing it beyond any trouble they are ill equipped to handle.  This is vital for success since we often overestimate our own shortcomings.  The pitfall of this of course is getting in WAY over your head.  If you are willing to let other people do the dirty work of course you will probably not run into your own limitations as much.  Sometimes that's just not possible.

- The glass is ALWAYS half full. - If you are going to be successful, you MUST see everything in terms of success.  This might be the most important line in this blog entry.  As a life long cynic and self proclaimed realist, I have often found myself expecting the worst of everything and not often being surprised, but also finding myself missing from opportunity.  If you look at most things in terms of possible success, you can see what it is you are working for.  There is no real downside to being an optimist unless of course you are relying on others to make up for your failed ideas.  Then people look at you as having your 'head in the clouds'.  You don't want that.

- Feelings are for suckers - I've met some successful people that are good at 'pressing the flesh' so to speak.  They are people people.  They get you to think that they genuinely care about your disposition relative to theirs.  They don't.  What I should say is they do care, but only as long as it doesn't get in their way.  That's ok.  We are all that way to some extent.  Each of us has that line that we care at.  In my own attempt at being self employed, I've found that I can't bear to charge people what I think they should pay.  I don't know what it is, but I would often discount myself and look on as my customers had NO appreciation for that discount.  The successful have no problem charging for their services or their products, and they don't care if you think it's not a good deal, they know their worth.

I do not offer these tips as a way to become successful, only as observations of successful people.  There is a difference.  Another 15 days and I'll probably have something else...probably, if i'm successful.

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