Look… I'm not saying it's their fault or that they are intentionally misleading you, although I'm sure some are.
One of my mentors tells this story.
He was sitting in an airplane one time, and this guy is a highly paid consultant, usually gets paid $1 million a day to consult for Fortune 50 companies.
Anyway, he was in this airplane sitting in first class, and he happens to notice that right next to him is a “famous*” CEO, who at the time, had just appeared in the cover of a magazine about how well his company was doing. * (I’m not supposed to mention his name.)
So my friend began to chat this guy up, just about life in general, ya know.
It was an overseas flight so it was a little longer than usual.
And they chatted business, family, interest, and hobbies, you know… The basic usual stuff you chat with a stranger about.
But as they chatted, the CEO kept drinking and drinking and drinking.
At one point he got rather inebriated, at least this is the way my friend Don explains it.
So here was this high profile, super successful CEO, and my friend, the ever curious “anthropologist”, enjoying drinks and bonding over a long overseas flight.
So my friend decided to finally ask him the question we've all been wondering.
"So… How do you explain your success?"
This highly successful high-profile CEO stopped, put down his glass, looked over at my friend, and with a totally serious deadpan look, as if he had just been shocked, replied the following.
"I have no fucking idea!”
He then turned around again, stared at the seat in front of him, picked up his glass, and continued to drink in silence.
Don chose not to say anything but to just sit there and let the CEO process his own answer to the question everybody “thought” HE had the answer to.
They didn't talk very much after that.
Once the plan landed, they exchanged pleasantries and moved on with their respective lives.
And that might have been the end of it, if not for the fact that Don was hired by the very same company no more than a year later to consult.
It wasn't the CEO who hired Don rather it was the Board of Directors.
Don wondered what the CEO would say, or if he would even recognize him.
After all, it had been almost a year, it was one of many flights, and they were both… Let's say… Rather lushed at the time.
So Don shows up at the company, he's ushered in to the boardroom, where the board members are sitting, and at the head of the table is this CEO.
Don pauses for a minute, takes a shallow breath, and walks in as if it was just another gig.
The meeting went well, the outcomes were set, in Don had his plan for the day.
As he was about to get into the elevator, the CEO rushed in and rode the elevator down with Don.
CEO: "you know… I um… um… am really grateful that you kept her conversation confidential. This is why when the board suggested we hire a consultant, and your name came up, I voted to choose you. Despite the fact that you were the most expensive person on the list (nervous laughter)"
Don: "not a problem, I'm sure that it was the alcohol speaking, and if you had been fully sober and cognizant, you would have given me a different answer."
CEO: "that's the thing… If I had been honest, I would have told you I have no idea. That's the truth. All the other interviews I've done, TV shows, magazine prints, I just take a look back at what we've done and I say ‘these are the things that we did, if you do these things, you will become super successful’. But the truth is, I really have no idea."
Don: "well, I can tell you you're not alone. In fact, the majority of people have no idea what they’ve actually done to become successful, whether in business or in life. Just because they've done it, doesn't mean they can either teach it or elicit it elegantly.”
“Oftentimes it's just a subconscious process. Think of it in terms of athletes playing a game, and they’re really good at what they do, and they can go back and tell you what they did, but each game is different, and sometimes, they can't be the best teachers or coaches. The annals are filled with failed athletes who try to become coaches. So don't feel bad, it's par for the course."
As the elevator ride ended, Don got in a car, and they took him to the hotel.
According to Don, that was the last conversation they had about the subject, and he went on to do his thing is usually does.
In my opinion, this has all become too prevalent in the “business world” with coaches and consultants and social media stars all peddling the latest greatest newest stuff, or their books, or whatever, who truly have no fn clue what they are talking about, in fact, it does more harm than good!
But people DO buy the stuff, so marketers they are, and very great marketers indeed!
But the content leaves a lot to be desired. (I am being kind here)
Don’t believe me?
Take any of those books, overlay what they tell you on top of biographies of individuals you admire, and you'll see how far off they really are.
Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, and before that, the Laws of Success, gave us principles which he believed were present in individuals who had achieved monetary success.
Ray Dalio, in his book, Principles, lays down the principles that he's used to make decisions in his personal and business life. And that's a pretty big book by the way.
Yet, despite the fact that a few of these types of books exist, the majority of people who buy the self help or get rich quick books, attend seminars, and go to courses, end up actually doing worse usually. They get in debt, and then feel bad about themselves, only to move on to the next book or seminar.
Well, let me first share this with you.
I’ve read over 3000 books, attended countless seminars, listen to and watched hundreds of hours of material, so I know firsthand, that the majority of the books we read are useless.
People always ask me, "so what did you get from this book?" Or "what did you get from that other book?"
But I like to think of it in different terms.
It's not what I got from the book; it's what the book got from me.
If the book does not change how I feel about something, which then translates to a different behavior set, then to me the book was useless.
Out of 3000+ books, tens of thousands of audio recordings and seminars, there are less than 12 books which have literally changed my life.
Of course, I've taken it upon myself to reread those books many times, because, they're so good, that they bear repeating in order to actually LEARN what is in them.
I also notice that success comes in many fashions, just like fingerprints.
But there are common characteristics, which are present in almost every case.
Now, not all characteristics are present in every case, but you'll find at least a few of them.
And that's the problem when somebody tells you how to become successful.
They focus on their fingerprint, rather than telling you, that you two have a fingerprint.
For example… You might read a sales book, or attend a seminar, that gets you to jump up and down to get all excited get all pumped up, and then it tells you that before you get on a sales call, or have an important meeting, you need to go and make wish sounds with your mouth, move your body, and get into a "peak state."
And that might be fine… IF you're that kind of person.
But what if you're not?
What if you're not that kind of person? Well, the author, or the seminar leader, would tell us that you indeed are, that you're holding yourself back, that you're not being your best, or doing your best, and that you can indeed become that person.
There may be a slight truth to this… Very slight.
The problem is, that you don't need to be that kind of person in order to become successful, if it doesn't fit you as a person.
Henry Ford was a very quiet man whose handshake was like a wet noodle.
I met a guy like that once too, he was not attractive, in fact, he was downright ugly, LOL, he too had a wet noodle handshake, and he spoke in a very monotone way.
Yet, he built two very successful and large network-marketing companies.
If we look at successful people, you can see that they are all indeed very different.
Bill Gates was a completely different person than Steve Jobs.
How about Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.
So how about we stop looking at these books telling us how to be successful, and look at the successful people that we admire, and see what attributes they have that we might be able to adopt, and what attribute they have that we don't like.
How about we focus on principles, rather than techniques?
Ever see two boxers in a ring?
They both will know the same fundamentals of boxing; Jab. Cross. Overhand. Uppercut. Hook. Bob and weave. Forwards and backwards. Side to side. Etc. etc.
Those are the fundamentals. (And a few more).
But each boxer applies them according to their talents and disposition.
Success is like that too.
The only problem is that those individuals who sell you books and tapes and audios on success, rarely, there are the exceptions, are able to convey what you really should do in order to become more successful.
So what books do you think have done that for me?
Well, clearly Think and Grow Rich is one of them.
But I'm not gonna get into that book too much here because everybody talks about that book, even though they completely and totally misunderstand what most of it means.
Another one is David Allen's Getting Things Done.
In fact, this is probably the book I recommend the most.
For two reasons.
1. There is no better way to "manage your time" then this methodology.
It simply cannot be broken, it's flawless, and it is adaptable to your personality.
2. It challenges you to engage in a behavior set, thereby, helping you produce different results.
Because when I read any book, or listen to any audio course, or attend any seminar, I look for three things.
1. Information that will help me achieve my definiteness of purpose.
2. Principles I can identify in order to recognize, relay, assembly, and apply the principles in order to achieve my desired outcomes.
3. Quotes I can borrow in order to help others and myself achieve my desired outcomes.