As many of you know (or not), I’m an avid student of success. In fact, I’m a fanatic student of success. I’ve studied some of the most successful people in the world, and I’ve even had the privilege of meeting some of them.
They all have certain characteristics in common. But there is one characteristic that stands above all others. One great secret that has helped them change from average to extraordinary. Are you ready for the secret? Can you handle it?
Okay, let me put you out of your misery. But harken unto me, the secret may not be as profound as you had hoped. Like many great secrets, they’re sometimes unglamorous. And this secret, though in essence quite profound, it’s actually un-sexy and unglamorous when you first hear it. But if you look closer, and dig deeper, you’ll discover the profoundness of it.
Ready? Remember to keep an open mind. Success never comes to those with an “un-open” mind. It comes to those willing to learn and willing to accept new thoughts. New ways of thinking. So keep an open mind. Be willing to accept this grand secret of secrets, and your life will change.
But I digress, and I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer. Are you ready? (Did I ask that already?) Here goes…
The great secret of super-successful people is….. (drum roll please)… They think differently than everyone else does. Got that? Did you expect something else? That’s the secret of secrets if you will.
Successful people think differently.
Odd isn’t’ it. Let me illustrate with some examples to better explain what I mean.
Let’s start with one of my heroes, Richard Branson, the uber-entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at a young age, and he suffered from dyslexia. Conventional wisdom suggests he should have ended up as a manual worker somewhere. He decided that he was going to be successful and rich, conventional wisdom be damned! Today’s he’s one of the wealthiest people in the world.
He started the Virgin group against all the odds, and succeeded. When he decided to start a new airline the world thought he was mad. It was “impossible”, they told him. In fact BA tried to do everything in their power to stop the new renegade airline from succeeding. He didn’t let anything dampen his spirits.
Richard has conquered in so many areas (and failed in several as well) that there isn’t much left for him to conquer… except space! He’s formed a company called (get this) Virgin Galactic which will offer space tourism. I love it! I bet a thousand people told him he couldn’t get into space. But he will. Just give him another couple of years.
Another example (and I mention this one a lot with the youth students at Zen-Do) is Thomas Edison. One the greatest inventors of all time. it took him many years and 2,000 experiments until he finally invented a practical, long-lasting incandescent light bulb. He reportedly said “I now know 2000 ways not to make a light bulb”. If you think about it, the reason we have electric light the way it is today, is because of the way Thomas Edison thought.
Think of all the great people from history. From Julius Caesar to Ghandi to Nelson Mandella. Before they did their great deeds they thought them first.
Let me give you an example from my personal life. When I first started Zen-Do I started off with one student. Within a short few years I’ve built Zen-Do into the largest martial arts school, not only in the country, but in the whole Middle East and have received international recognition for it. I managed to achieve what other martial arts school owners haven’t achieved in 20 years.
I decided I was going to build Zen-Do into something extraordinary, I did not use limited thinking. I thought in an extraordinary way and achieved extraordinary results. It all starts with the way you think.
Now let’s do a bit of self-analysis together. When you see someone in a luxury car, or living in a huge mansion, what’s the first thing you think? Do you think “oh he’s lucky”, or something like “lucky b*****”, or “money isn’t everything” or some such thought? Well, if you do, you’ll never become wealthy (assuming that interests you). Or to rephrase, you’ll never become super-successful.
The correct thought you should have when you see the rich person is good for him. And if wealth is one of your goals, the next thing you should think is I wonder how he became wealthy? Followed by, I wonder if I can learn that and become wealthy the same way he did?
Get my point? Think differently. Success starts with your mind first, then everything else follows from there. In fact, there are several success secrets that follow from this one, like taking action, having determination, taking risk, being immune to criticism and others. But like I said, it’s starts with the mind. Once you think correctly you can change your whole life, maybe even change the world.
Let me stop here for a second and mention the Great Critic Within. If you are reading this and you’re thinking something like “yeah that’s all fine and good but my life/situation is different because _____”, let me stop you right here and tell you that you must stop thinking like that. Silence the GCW (Great Critic Within). If you let him/her lose they’ll cause all kinds of havoc in your life. We all have GCW’s – they never go away.
You’ve got to beat him up every once in a while and banish him to the darker dungeons of your mind. He’ll escape every once in a while and try to sway your thinking back to “normal”. He’s the one that causes “reality to set in”. Whenever he shows up I want you to beat the living cr**p out him and send him back. This will go on for the rest of your life, but as you get better at silencing him and beating him up, he’ll show up fewer and fewer times in your life – but he’ll never be gone entirely.
Let me give you another example. One of the many “jobs” I have is a marketing consultant. I love marketing and I love to teach other entrepreneurs how to do it properly. But you wanna know something interesting? I probably spend a quarter to a third of the time during a consulting session teaching my client how to think differently. I get a lot of “but this won’t work in my business or industry”, and my reply is “why not?”. They don’t really have a good answer. They’ve just been conditioned to think in a certain way and I’ve got to undo all the conditioning. Because if my consulting client doesn’t change the way he thinks, there is no way he can implement my suggestions, because they’re often radically different from what they are used to. By the way, that’s why I called my consultancy “Radical Marketing” and I call myself the Radical Entrepreneur.
So today’s lesson my dear friend is, think differently (and kill the GCW). Stay tuned for my next blog post. I’ll share some more secrets.
I’m of to Germany tonight for 3 weeks for my summer holiday. My wife and I are taking the kids to see their great-grandparents. We’re all so excited!
I’ll be in touch from Germany. Talk to you soon.