Success: A Simple Formula


Last night at the gym I had a great conversation with one of my former professors about life, politics, and success. Like me, he’s a bit on the conservative side so we tend to agree a lot, but regardless of your political leaning, it would be tough to argue with the man’s success. He’s financially stable (I assume), highly educated, loves his job, takes part in lots of fun leisure activities, is civically-active, has a terrific wife, is healthy and fit, and overall seems to be doing pretty well.

We started by discussing a lot of the current issues that our nation seems to be facing today and then shifted more towards challenges that individuals face. We have both come to the conclusion that success is really just a matter of following a formula and it’s a pretty simple one. You ready?

Step one: Work hard.

Step two: Work consistently.

Step three: Work hard and consistently at something you’re passionate about.

Step four: Do not abuse substances or behaviors.

Step five: Success.

I’m sure you’re a little disappointed that I didn’t just deliver fire from the mountain to you, but are you sure I didn’t? Because I sure as hell see a lot of people around me that don’t seem to get at least some part of this equation.

Let’s break it down a little more:

Working hard. Everywhere I go I see lazy, lazy people. Whether they’re running their own business, working out, or sweeping the floors at a local restaurant, it seems like the vast majority of people have a real issue with working hard.

People always seem surprised at how much I get done when I buckle down, remove distractions, and crush. Is it because I’m so very gifted and smarter than everyone else? Well, as much as I’ll probably usually tell you that I am; I’m not. It’s because I grew up on a family farm and learned to put in work.

Everybody is all gaga now about Tim Ferris’ book The Four-Hour Workweek because it promises in its title that you can work just four hours and have a life of luxury and sloth. Well, guess what? Tim Ferris works a whole lot more than four hours a week. And the four-hour workweek? Sure, it can be done… after a whole lot of hard ass work.

Working consistently. This is the next one that trips people up. Lots of people get fired up about a project or a job for a while and put those hours in. Then they hit a roadblock, or some new product or scheme comes flashing across their radar, or they just realize that it’s going to take more hard work (see Step #1) and they lose interest. So they drop the ball and things fail. Next thing you know they’re talking about how something doesn’t work or is impossible when all they had to do was keep going.

Which brings me to…

Working hard and consistently at something you’re passionate about.
I can certainly make an argument that you don’t need to be particularly passionate about something to become a financial success. The guy that owns a Port-a-Potty company? Probably not totally thrilled with his job. But it’s a consistent business and, I’m assuming without ever really looking into the back-end, so to speak, a potentially lucrative one for a good manager.

However, as far as I’m concerned there’s more to life than just making a good living, especially when there’s plenty of ways to make a great living doing something you enjoy. Loving what you do makes it a whole lot easier to take care of that whole “working hard” and “working consistently” stuff, too. Life is way too short to be the guy who busts his ass for coin and ends up in his (very nice) garage sucking his Beamer’s exhaust fumes from a hose in a rolled up window at 50.

Do not abuse substances or behaviors. Look, I like to have a good time. I frequently mention here that I like my beer and whiskey. And I do like them… in moderation. Whether it’s gambling, pills, coke, vitamin S, booze, hookers, or whatever else, I’ve seen abuse of that stuff ruin what would be otherwise very successful guys. I’m certainly not telling you that you shouldn’t have a good time, but there’s no way to fuck up a good thing faster than going to excess in a non-supportive activity. Don’t be a dick. Man up and handle your business.

Enjoy your success. If you’ve earned it, then be satisfied with it. That’s the dream, man.

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Comments on Success: A Simple Formula Leave a Comment

December 2, 2010

Trevor Lea-Smith @ 10:06 pm #

Advice to live by.

December 9, 2010

mom @ 2:51 am #

Good work my son! LOVE, MOM.

Isaac @ 9:38 pm #

Thanks guys!


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