The playwright and activist George Bernard Shaw once said, “Those that can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Nowhere is this truer than in the “success” industry or success racket as I like to call it. The reason I call it a racket is because most of the people who are selling their services as “success” experts are failed or small-time business people whose actual accomplishments wouldn’t qualify them to be an expert in anything. If they were successful business people, they would be running a business rather than selling personal development courses.
Am I saying that there is no such thing as skills training or useful business philosophies? Of course not, but there is so much free or cheap information available through podcasts, networking groups and YouTube, there is absolutely no reason to spend your cash on expensive coaches or fancy retreats. Ok, a lot of you swear by this industry, so maybe it’s not fair to say the entire success business is a racket. Perhaps there is a tiny percentage of them who provide a great service at a reasonable price, but they are the exception not the rule.
The success industry likes to say things like, “If Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan have coaches, and they are the best in the world, then why shouldn’t you have one too?” Of course, this is BS. Athletics is a different animal. A better question would be whether Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett utilize success coaches. The answer is: no they do not. All three are known to be voracious readers, but the galactical success they have achieved came from intense focus and their own mastery of the skill sets required for their individual businesses.
A couple of years ago, I invited Foster Stanback to speak at a NAHREP event in Los Angeles. Foster is one of the most successful investors in the country, and his advice to the audience was simple – avoid financial planners and learn how to invest on your own. I believe the same applies to your business. Be in control of your own domain.
For those who are interested, below are the principles for success that have worked for me and you can have them for free.
- Choose a business or career that inspires you – I believe that you need to love what you do.
- Understand your “why” – Success will come to people who are clear on what they want and why.
- Work hard – Sorry, there is no way around this one.
- Focus on being excellent in a few things – You’re better off being the best at one thing than being good at a lot of things.
- Be audacious – You won’t get it if you don’t ask.
Bottom line: Learn your craft, strive to be the best, and take the money you would have spent on success coaching and invest it in an index fund. Good Luck!
People sometimes get me wrong. They think that because I talk a lot about giving back and living modestly, I must not care about money. On the contrary, I care a lot about money because I understand how our system works.
We live in a capitalistic society. Economics drives everything. We work hard and we have more money to provide for our families and do the things we want. But what actually makes us happy? Some of us spend our lives looking for that answer and never find it. Some look for it in church, others pay life coaches, and some think the more money they have the happier they will be.
I teach my kids that they can do anything if they put their minds to it and do the work. I also teach them that life isn’t always fair, but you can’t let that deter you. I think we all try to teach our kids the value of grit and hard work. For most people, success is about perseverance and overcoming obstacles.