Edited by Frederick Mann
Copyright © 1995 - 1997 TLH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is the third in our series of 'Millionaire' reports. The first report dealt mainly with the Most Basic Wealth Principle: Produce more than you consume. The second was primarily devoted to clearing away certain Money Myths and learning the Infinite Bootstrap Principle.
This special report contains three articles by Dr. Jeffrey Lant, containing important additional guidelines for increasing your wealth. Dr. Lant is a leading marketer, networker, and self-made millionaire. He has written many books, articles, and reports. I especially recommend two of his books:
If you write or use advertising copy, Cash Copy is a "must." It's one of the best marketing books around. By applying Dr. Lant's principles, you can most likely make your marketing efforts more effective and profitable.
If you're involved in network marketing, Multi-Level Money is a "must." By applying the guidelines, principles, and techniques Dr. Lant suggests, you'll most likely become more successful. Dr. Lant provides support systems for network marketers that can increase your productivity considerably.
You can contact Dr. Jeffrey Lant at PO Box 38-2767, Cambridge, MA 02238 - phone: (617) 547-6372 - fax: (617) 547-0061.
EIGHT SELF-DEFEATING BEHAVIORS PREVENTING YOU FROM BECOMING THE MILLIONAIRE YOU SAY YOU WANT TO BE... AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM
By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Most people I know say they want to be a millionaire, but most of them say so in a way that makes me absolutely certain they never will be. Why? Because they speak about this blessed condition as a matter of hope and not a certainty. They are redolent of wistfulness and implausibility, treating this achievement as unlikely, if desirable, not absolutely sure. Such people, of course, would be only too happy to have the lottery rain riches on them... but as for getting it themselves, why that is just too much bother, and frankly a vision they really don't have for themselves, whatever they may say at cocktail parties.
If this is you, go back for your third martini; you're probably beyond help. This article is for people who want to do more than talk about being a millionaire between canapes.
In my ongoing research into what it takes to achieve millionaire status, I have identified 8 significant self-defeating behaviors that must be overcome. If you can identify them and overcome them, your chances of becoming a millionaire, the first step to truly significant wealth, are vastly improved. If you cannot, you'd better hope a maiden aunt leaves you her fortune... or that, while in couch potato mode, you see your lottery number on the TV screen. Otherwise, being a millionaire just isn't in your future.
#1 You Haven't Set Becoming A Millionaire As Your Goal
Real, as opposed to imagined, future millionaires know they'll join the Seven Figure Club. They posit this as a goal, they resolve to make the necessary sacrifices and take the necessary actions... and they live accordingly.
What's astonishing about all self-made millionaires (the only kind I'm talking about here) is just how confident they are about their future status... before they achieve it. They have a vision of themselves as millionaires. They see themselves with the money... have an indelible mental picture of themselves enjoying the perquisites and conveniences their money will bring.
Many report that before they achieved millionaire status, this certainty of impending wealth and status made them figures of fun to classmates, relatives and disbelieving friends. In weaker moments, the sarcasm, ridicule and lack of confidence of these people, frustrated and disappointed the future millionaires. But they always were able to get back on course... either because of their own inner certainty... or, in rarer instances, because a mentor intervened to assist them. One thing is certain, however: they never allowed the undermining, mediocre, entirely unhelpful attitudes of their "friends" to sabotage their own belief in themselves, a belief which is and continues to be a sine qua non of achieving millionaire status.
#2 You Haven't Set A Time By Which You Will Be A Millionaire
Once you've set your objective about becoming a millionaire, you have to set a precise moment when you want to get there. Whether this moment is realistic or not, I'll discuss shortly, but you can't make progress towards your goal unless you have a precise goal to progress to. In this case, that goal is the exact date by which you want to be a millionaire.
This date is an essential part of the mathematical formula you must create to become a millionaire. Once you have set this date, you know precisely how much time there is before you reach it... and precisely what must be done in the intervening period. You now have the essential clarity that you must have to reach your objective. You know just what you are trying to achieve... and just when you are trying to achieve it. Given that this is your priority, everything else, by definition, becomes less significant accordingly.
#3 You Don't Know How Much You Have To Make Every Single Day To Reach
There are, of course, many ways to become a self-made millionaire, but the best and most certain way is to do it the way a mouse eats cheese: a little bit at a time, gnawing one's way to success. What this means in practice is that you must know exactly how much money you need to make every single day, both from earned and unearned income, so that you'll achieve your millionaire objective.
Please note that I said from unearned as well as earned income. As you'll soon see when we discuss the need for a regular investment program, only a fool attempts to become a millionaire exclusively through earned income. The goal is to use the benefits of investment growth and compound interest to assist your ascendant progress.
Thus, say you were age 30 and wanted to be a millionaire by age 40. And say, for the sake of argument, that you hadn't a penny to your name today. Fair enough. Between your 30th and 40th birthdays, there are 3650 days of which about 3030 are business days; (this doesn't include either Sundays or 10 holidays a year). This means, to become a millionaire by age 40 you must increase your net worth by $330.03 per day, every day. In the beginning, this increase must come exclusively through earned income, you having no other assets. By the end of the decade, a certain part of it will come through your various investments.
Once you have arrived at this goal, you need to post it prominently. You need to see it every single day and arrange all the activities of your life to achieve it. Otherwise, you either:
Neither outcome is desirable.
#4 You Don't Have Daily Sales Quotas And The Necessary Marketing
Plans For Your Products And Services That Will Net You The Amount Of Capital
You Need To Reach Your Objective
Using my illustration above, you now know you must net at least $330.03 per day for capital investment purposes. Do you have sales quotas and the necessary marketing plan that will enable you to achieve this objective? If you're like most would-be millionaires, you don't. How, then, can you possibly expect to achieve your objective?
The achievement of millionaire status involves the creation of an exact mathematical formula and arranging your life to achieve it. There's no mystery to this; instead, there's the grace, simplicity and certainty provided by mathematics. Thus, if you must net $330.03 per business day, you must:
Right now, most people selling products and services simply engage in undirected and non-goals related activity. That is, they go to work for the sake of going to work; sell products and services without having a vision of what they're doing this for. The goal of work is never work itself, just as the goal of selling products and services is never merely to sell products and services. Instead, selling products and services are small but absolutely necessary steps in the achievement of your ultimate objective, millionaire status.
What's important, however, is that you have your strategy down pat before you engage in any of the tactics of product and service selling. That is, you must not only know what you need to net each day but must have a clear idea of precisely what activities are the most likely to get you there... and whether what you're doing now is sufficient.
Say you're a consultant currently selling your time alone and say that you currently make about $30,000 a year. Right now, given your expenses, etc., there's no way you can invest $330.03 per day. This means that part of your marketing plan must involve things like:
All these activities, of course, take time. You may decide, therefore, that it is entirely unrealistic in years 1 and 2 of your Ten-Year Plan to invest $330.03 per day and instead in years 7-10 to invest more per day based on your then enhanced earnings.
This is fair enough... if you mean it and don't simply engage in the kind of self-defeating "put-off-until-tomorrow" behavior that so many would-be millionaires fall victim to. I know many people who say that in five or ten years they'll be reaping the benefit of their current self-improvement work... but I don't believe it. Too often, it's just too easy to say you'll make the necessary sacrifices tomorrow (and investing is always a sacrifice of some current pleasure), when you don't have the personal habits today that are a necessary prerequisite for success. That's why I think it better to set a longer, more realistic investment time-frame for the achievement of millionaire status and to both make and invest what you can right from the very beginning.
#5 You Haven't Mastered Your Craft So You Can Make The Money You
The sad truth about most people wanting to become millionaires is that they just don't know enough about their business to achieve this status. I have long said that you can become a millionaire in virtually any business. Certainly in each distinct business and professional group there are self-made millionaires. The trick is finding out just how each of these businesses works and arranging your activities so you can make it work for you.
Thus, self-making millionaires are necessarily studious creatures... they study their craft, perfecting it, seeking to understand precisely how things work... and precisely how money can be made. They are not afraid of seeking out mentors and leaders in their field and asking intricate, probing, even indiscreet questions about how things work... and how money is to be made in any given situation. Sometimes this incessant inquisitiveness will lead to a rebuff... more often it leads to insight into just how their business works... and how they can profit from it.
The sad truth is, most people have very little in-depth knowledge about just how their business works. They have a nodding familiarity with day-to-day activities but no insight into how the truly successful people made their money... and how they themselves can profit from both regular and extraordinarily business opportunities. In short, they just don't know enough. As a result, they are doomed to remain part of the mediocre, unmoneyed mass.
#6 You Continue To Do Trivial And Inconsequential Things You Shouldn't
Recently, a young chiropractor called on me who said he wanted significantly to develop his practice and make more money. He said he wanted to create a booklet as a marketing tool to get more clients, but couldn't seem to get started. Upon quick analysis, I knew why. In addition to his regular work, each night he felt compelled to go out drinking with friends, be seen at the "right" parties, etc. He simply had no time left to spend on the development of his practice and his income showed the consequences. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out... but it does take a dedicated and resolute mind to do something about it.
Millionaires focus. They focus on making money from both earned and unearned sources. They realize they need time and concentration to do this, particularly in the early stages of their career, before they've totally mastered their craft. To get this time, they must be ruthless about weeding out the more mundane activities that clog other people's lives... things like washing dishes, doing clothes, loafing about the house, having time-consuming, soap-opera-ish problems. All these must be dumped as unproductive.
When one is young and green, one may like to do these things and be "part of the crowd." As one ages, one realizes one doesn't have enough time to accomplish everything and tends to become more rigorous about excluding the unproductive from one's life. But certain millionaires earlier develop an acute sense of the limits of time... and of the need to use it wisely. Even when young, they know tempus fugit (time flies). Thus, they do whatever they can to shuck off the trivial and inconsequential and they FOCUS. They know that nothing else is as important as the achievement of their goal.
#7 You Don't Have A Regular Investment Program
Virtually no self-made millionaire has actually earned every penny of his fortune. No, indeed. Millionaires are wise in the ways of money and use investment growth (that is time) and compound interest to assist them in reaching their goal. So must you. That is why you must have a daily investment program, even if the amount you invest at the beginning is picayune.
Say, for instance, that right now all you can afford to invest is $10 per day, $60 per week. Compounded at just 8% annually, the $3,120 you invest the first year will be worth $6,236.89 in 10 years and will be producing $498.95 a year in income. That's nearly $500 you don't have to make through the sweat of your brow!
Now, think about it. Could you afford to save just $10 a day? Your first reaction may be, "No way!" But think! Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices in current comfort to achieve long-term comfort and security? Most people - those who will never be millionaires - will never make these sacrifices. In the age-old struggle between the grasshopper and the ant, they are quite clearly blithe, unthinking grasshoppers. But you can't be! If you don't have the money to invest now, you must rearrange your life to find the necessary money. Otherwise, you are losing out on two of the millionaire's best friends... time and compound interest. You don't have to be a Wall Street mogul to take advantage of unearned income, but you must have a regular, consistent, inviolate investment program... and that program needs to start when you're far from being a millionaire.
#8 You Will Settle For Less
Would-be millionaires may fall short of their goals. They may be thwarted, disappointed, frustrated, cast down and stomped on. But, unless their spirit has been broken, they don't settle for this condition of events; they study and scheme for ways to escape it... because they won't settle for anything but the best.
All around me every single day I see people who have settled for less... for a home that's not as grand as they'd like... for clothes that are not stylish... for a school for their children that doesn't deliver a top-quality education... in short, for things that are inferior. Future millionaires will live with the inferior when necessary; they realize that sacrifices are a necessary part of their early lives. But they never settle for the inferior as a constant presence in their lives. In fact, they despise it... not merely for being lowly in itself but for representing a state of mind in which one has accepted the inferior as somehow acceptable, inevitable for oneself and one's family.
Future millionaires see situations clearly. They cannot delude themselves, as so many people do, that the inferior is somehow acceptable. Temporarily accepting the inferior may be expedient as a means of helping achieve ultimate success, but to people of the millionaire mind the inferior will always be nothing other than inferior... something, that is, to escape as early and completely as possible.
And who will help them escape it? Why, the would-be millionaire alone. Millionaires, you see, don't wait for some deus ex machina in the form of a winning lottery ticket or expiring aunt to set them up for life. They know they must do it for themselves and accept full responsibility for doing so. If you can't accept this responsibility for yourself and act accordingly, you can never, never be a millionaire yourself. Merely a penny-poor wishful thinker which is too, too bad.
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE RICH? TAKE THIS REVEALING QUIZ AND FIND OUT...
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
The good news, as a recent survey has reported, is that there are approximately 1,600,000 millionaires in America. The bad news, as survey after survey discovers, is that the average person has only accumulated retirement investments of about $35,000; $25,000 in a retirement plan and $10,000 in other personal savings. Worse, about 1/4 of those surveyed have nothing saved.
Which camp are you in?
The truth is, that while the number of American millionaires has never been higher, the number of those with insubstantial assets - or no assets at all - is growing at a far faster rate.
Yet you tell me you still want to hitch a ride on the American Dream, still want to be rich, still want to be a millionaire. Well, let's see if you mean it. Get yourself a pen. Check the answer that most represents the way you're doing business today. And be honest!
Q. Have you pledged yourself in writing to having a certain amount of money by a certain date?
Comment: People who earn their money have a plan. This plan consists of a precise dollar objective and a date they want to achieve it. Because they know that it's easy to get distracted, they write down their objective in this way: "I promise myself that by (date) I will have (amount) in assets." Then they sign it, just like they would any legal document. They post this document where they can see it daily... and carry it with them so that it helps inform and direct their behavior. If you're not doing this... you're handicapping yourself.
Q. Have you figured out how many units of your product or service you need to sell to make the money you need each day, week, month, and year until you reach your objective?
Comment: Achieving millionaire status is certain if you:
Thus, what you have to do is set your objective and then create a chart taking into account all the time in between the present and the date you say you want to achieve your objective. You need to determine just how many units of value you have to sell each year to reach your objective given the expense of doing business. Start your chart with last year, the most recent period of time for which you have actual numbers. Then do your projections for this year... and for all the intervening years up to your objective.
Obviously, the projections you make are based on certain assumptions. List these assumptions and why you think they're valid. Attempting to jump from an annual salary of $40,000 a year to one of $200,000 a year so that you can go from having $20,000 in assets at age 40 to having a million dollars of assets at age 50 is probably unrealistic. Thus, you'd better be very clear about your assumptions and why you think they are accurate and the results attainable.
Q. Can you achieve millionaire status simply by selling your current product/service line... or do you need to diversify?
Comment: Either your current line of products/services is sufficient to make you a millionaire in the time you've allowed yourself... or it isn't. There aren't any other choices. If it is, fine. You have to concentrate on aggressive client-centered marketing. If it isn't, you have another problem. You need to find and/or develop new product/service lines. The truth is, when you review the product/service lines - and, of course, the ways of doing business - of most businesses, you discover that it would take several lifetimes before their owners could possibly get rich. Both their offerings are too narrow and their ways of doing business too passive. Don't let this happen to you!
Q. Are you clear about the precise groups of people who constitute your target markets?
Comment: The cost of marketing is substantial. When you factor in such variables as copy writing services, ad design and lay out, mailing list rental, producing marketing communications, the cost of telephone and fax (both user fees and supplies), and the expense of lead follow-up, you know that marketing is a very significant expense to your business. That's why you have to target your efforts. Marketing is both an art and a science. It's dedicated to targeting just the right people for the benefits you have available and approaching them in the most cost efficient and motivational way. When you're marketing properly, your offer is targeted to just the right people, is presented in the most focused and economical way, and is designed to get the best qualified lead in the shortest period of time. Is this what you're doing? I doubt it. Despite the large costs involved, most business people continue to waste the bulk of their marketing dollars going after the wrong people either because they keep hoping that they will respond... or because they just don't have a clue that they are, indeed, the wrong people for their offer.
Q. Have you done everything to create "cash copy" in your marketing documents, or are you still trying to motivate a response from your market with inadequate, passive, "me-centered" marketing communications?
Comment: Marketing is a motivational game. If you want to win, you have to turn the discussion in your marketing communications from yourself... to the prospect. You have to tell him all the BENEFITS you have for him, and you have to make these benefits as specific as possible. You need to cut the adjectives and stress what the prospect will get when he uses your product/service. You have to add credibility to your argument by telling him what others have achieved with your product/service. These testimonials need to be specific and they need to be specifically attributed. Moreover, you have to provide an offer for immediate action... something special that the early bird gets when he takes action. Every marketing communication must have an offer... and the offers must be focused on something the prospect wants and which will make his life better because he takes faster action. The only action in marketing that's meaningful is fast action. And it is your job to stress the benefits and provide an offer that gets the prospect to act quickly to acquire them. Most marketing communications don't do this, and that's why most marketing communications aren't worth the paper they're printed on; why they're an expense to a business, not an investment helping to bring in new dollars.
Q. Have you explored all the marketing alternatives available to you... and done everything you can to find and use the least expensive first?
Comment: Future millionaires know the value of a dollar. They know that they have to make the scarce marketing dollars they have go farther and that they can't afford to waste a penny. Therefore, they are always exploring how to get more marketing bang for less business buck. Thus, they:
The objective of marketing is to make yourself a millionaire, not to spend all your money in marketing. Dim "marketers" forget this. Remember, the only marketing expenditure that makes sense is the expenditure that can help make you rich. All others are just a drain on your resources.
Q. Do you understand and abide by The Rule of Seven?
Comment: Millionaires run marketing campaigns. We (for I am one myself) understand that the prospects in our target markets are inundated with offers, both from competitors and others anxious to absorb the precious, limited dollars of our target markets. We understand that even the most client-centered offers, those rich with client-centered benefits and meaningful offers don't get everyone to take immediate action. We understand we have to hit them and hit them again... until at last they do act, either to make an inquiry or to buy what we're selling. Unfortunately, while most marketers understand this point, they don't live by it. Their marketing is episodic and disorganized; it never achieves the meaningful impact of synergy. It is neither client-centered enough nor sufficiently repeated to achieve substantial results. When the initial results aren't what the "marketer" expected, instead of analyzing to see what could improve them, including instituting a far more focused effort, he changes to an altogether different market... and starts the same losing sequence all over again! Without ever figuring out that the process he's following is doomed to failure.
Q. Do you discard flatworms and others who show you they are not prospects... and both seek to find and concentrate on the better prospects, the ones who can buy what you're selling - and will?
Comment: Just because a person sends in a lead card, or calls you, or even walks in your door, doesn't mean he's a prospect. And, take note, only real prospects deserve your attention and assistance, because only real prospects who become real buyers can help make you wealthy. The rest simply waste your resources. Thus, it's your responsibility to ask the key questions: What do you want? When do you want it? Do you have the money to pay for it? Are you ready to get started NOW? If the answers to these questions are unsatisfactory, the "prospect" isn't a prospect, he's a waste of time and money and must be treated accordingly. Do you do this? Or do you keep hoping against hope that the people who give you vague and unsatisfactory answers, who don't answer your letters or return your phone calls are prospects and keep wasting time on them - as far too many businesses do? A millionaire trains himself to determine who is and who is not a real prospect, and who is deserving of his time and attention. Everyone else he tosses out of his life without regret. You should do this, too!
Your Score And What It Means
Now the moment of reckoning. Do you want to be a millionaire? Are you running your business so you can be? Or are you simply huffing and puffing, talking about an objective but not doing what's necessary to achieve it? See for yourself...
Each question has a number in front of it. Go back and add these up. If your score is between 7-10, you're on your way to becoming a millionaire. Yes, you have more work to do (particularly if your score is over 7), but you understand the game and are doing what it takes to win it. Congratulations. When you're in Boston dining at the Ritz, I'd appreciate the chance to have dinner with you!
If your score is between 11-15, you have a lot more work to do. If you're not just talking about becoming a millionaire, you'd better buckle down. You're insufficiently organized and haven't formulated - much less implemented - your Million Dollar Plan. You're at a critical crossroads, and if you really want to be rich, it's time to take your fate and your business in hand and start running it like a money-machine. Otherwise, what you say you want is going to elude you.
If your score is over 15, you're a sad sack. Stop talking about becoming a millionaire. You'd better start being nicer to your richest relative; get over there now and clean her cat-box. Since you obviously have no intention of doing what's necessary to make your own money through your business, inheritance is your likeliest option. Good luck to you. If you handle sweet talking your rich relation like you've handled becoming a millionaire through your business, you'll probably strike out there, too! Don't call me. I can't afford to know people like you.
MEGATRAITS: 12 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
To be an American is to be a success seeker. Indeed, no other creed, cult, belief or religion in the nation embraces so many of our fellow countryman as the sprint for "success." Yet, as we all know, most people never succeed in becoming the success they dream of being.
That's why I was delighted when her publisher sent me Doris Lee McCoy's new book MEGATRAITS: 12 TRAITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE. I had two reasons for promptly focusing on her research: my own continuing desire to be ever more successful and my wish to disseminate to the greatest number McCoy's detailed findings.
McCoy, who comes across as a congenial, empathic personality eagerly seeking the essential modules of success, has over the last many years interviewed a host of people most of us would regard as successful... that is, people who have reached a certain plateau of physical, emotional and spiritual/psychological comfort. They include politicians, statesmen, entrepreneurs, media and entertainment personalities, athletes, and authors. As a result of her interviews, McCoy has identified twelve essential components of success she called "megatraits." While many of these come as no surprise, it is, I think, instructive to see them listed in one place where, each day, one can review them and see whether one's work and life really exemplify these essential traits.
Successful People Enjoy Their Work
Be honest with yourself. Are you enjoying what you're doing today... or this week? Successful people do. They enjoy the challenge, the game, the sheer excitement of what they're doing. Indeed, as real estate magnate Trammell Crow put it, "Work is so much more fun than fun, it is improperly called work." Oh, sure, each of these successful people has moments that are less than thrilling... but they expect them and shuck them off as trivial by comparison with the excitement of their productive lives generally.
What comes out clearly in McCoy's work is that the truly successful feel blessed by their work... and delighted at the opportunity to work on the projects and problems that make up their chosen occupation. Do you feel this way? Or is it pure drudgery getting up and facing yet another day of employment? Says Malcolm Forbes "The essence of success lies in doing what you enjoy. Otherwise you neither do it well, fully, or successfully."
Successful People Have High Self-Esteem And A Positive Attitude
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of meeting people who have refined self-contempt and self-criticism to an art form and spend their time (and too much of my time, too!) telling all the reasons why they've been victimized by life. This disgusts me... and it ought to disgust you.
McCoy's research points out in detail that you can't truly be successful if you don't have a good, healthy quotient of self-esteem and a positive attitude that irradiates everything you do.
Truly successful people are confident, upbeat, enthusiastic and certain that things will work out. Yes, they know that many projects will fail; no, they are not mindless Polyannas. But they figure that having done the necessary homework and taken the lay of the land, it is better to go forth with an expectation of success... than the certainty of failure. As Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics says, "It never occurred to me I couldn't do it. I always knew that if I worked hard enough, I could." Is this how you feel?
Successful People Use Negative Experiences To Discover Their Strengths
I know many people who take defeat personally... who almost gladly tell me that as a result of their bad experiences they now feel fully justified never having to try again. But these people, as McCoy's research demonstrates, have taken the wrong lesson from experiences that didn't go as well as they might like.
Negative experience, you see, successful people almost come to regard as a private tutorial, a tutorial that gives them insight into what works, what doesn't, and why. As McCoy puts it, "In retrospect, many of the successful can actually see how the difficulties they experienced offered them opportunity to discover more of their potential. In some cases, they were able to use traumatic experiences as a means of seeing more options than they had before." In other words, they analyzed even the worst of experiences seeking to squeeze the last drop of insight and education from them... so they could go out again and, at last, triumph.
Successful People Have Integrity And Help Others To Success
We live in the age of the fast buck at a time when crooks seem to prosper marvelously and where even the best of people wonder whether integrity and empathy aren't drawbacks instead of must-have ingredients for success. Because of this pervasive attitude, I was delighted that McCoy found integrity and helpfulness part of the makeup of the truly successful individual.
What this means is running your business so that on all transactions both people really benefit. As Robert Dedman, Board Chairman for Club Corporation of America, says, "Your ability to set up successful, lasting relationships is the biggest determinate you'll ever have of personal and business success." This means you can't "strip mine" your way to success riding rough-shod over people, pushing "ahead" without a thought to their benefit. As Karl Eller, Chairman of the Board for Circle K Stores, comments, "With any deal I've ever made, I've been careful that I was fair to the other side - so that both parties were happy." Can you say this?
Successful People Are Persistent
This seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? Yet how many times can you name in your own life that you took "No!" for an answer... despite the fact that you knew the person who said this to you really would be better off with what you're selling? Successful people learn from the no's they get... learn to see in them the beginning of the yes that they want. In short, they know that the most successful people in the world are the people who get turned down the most... and who make sure they know why, taking the time to re-craft the next approach based on what happened to them before. They don't take this rejection personally... but see it as a learning experience. Is this you?
Successful People Take Risks
As McCoy discovered, "One overriding trait of the successful is that they believe in their idea, their product, themselves so fully that they are willing to take risks." Sadly, most people - whatever they say to the contrary - don't take risks. They don't take risks in human relationships or in business... but wait for someone else to lead the way. Not surprisingly, they never have much success.
What happens when you risk? Sometimes you fail... producing just the result the quivering ones fear. More often, especially as you learn from failure, you succeed. Thus, as Forrest Shumway of the Allied-Signal Companies says, "In 75 per cent of the cases over the course of a lifetime, I will be intuitively correct, and that is a fair percentage." Now, ask yourself: in what you do, do you put yourself on the line, extending yourself, taking the risk to make any given situation better... or do you hold back until someone else takes the "lead?"
Successful People Have Developed Good Communication And Problem-Solving
I think of a friend I have who turns off virtually everyone he ever talks to, despite a good heart and a zealous commitment to success. Why? Because he doesn't know how to communicate with people... almost invariably he offends them. What's wrong? He doesn't have good communications skills... the kinds of skills that enable him to put what he has to say in the best possible way and so both engage the person he's talking to and persuade that person to take action. But successful people have these skills. And you must have or develop them, too.
You must also have the ability to confront established norms of behavior and procedure and say, "Does this make sense anymore?" It's just astounding to me how few people are unwilling to look at a situation with an open mind, remembering that all things outlive their usefulness and must be changed. Successful people know this. Their loyalty is to getting things done in a mutually beneficial way; not how things are done.
Successful People Surround Themselves With Competent, Responsible,
With the best will in the world, successful people cannot do everything themselves that needs to be done. They realize they must rely on others... and so they seek out such people, cultivate them, and reward them... taking every opportunity to include their supporters, praise them, and help them develop. Truly successful people don't want "Yes People" around. They want people who are bright, loyal, questioning, capable of being truly helpful. As Malcolm Forbes says, "No matter how successful your business is, the only real asset is the people you have."
Successful People Are Healthy, Have High Energy, And Schedule Time
As McCoy discovered, the successful are generally characterized by a very high energy level... they get up early, work late, and don't complain when it is necessary to work hours other people would regard as onerous. McCoy discovered that many of the people she interviewed get by on less than the normal amount of sleep and that most have a regular exercise program. In addition, most of the successful take time for renewing themselves... for doing things that are not related to their regular line of work. As McCoy puts it, "The changes in rhythm might involve a shift in activity or pace and often a new environment. Revitalizing themselves is crucial enough to them that they actually schedule time for it."
Successful People Believe In God, A Higher Power, And Sometimes Just
Importantly, the successful people interviewed by McCoy do not feel alone in their ascending development. Not all are conventionally religious by any means; indeed, those involved in organized religious constitute a diminutive percentage of her sample. Yet, these successful people see themselves as "co-creators" with a higher power that guides them; in other words, they're not inventing their lives alone... nor, in trying moments, do they have to face circumstances by themselves. As Ronald Reagan told McCoy "I have a deep-seated faith that if you ask for help, it will be given."
[Editor: Those who don't believe in religion or luck, may want to believe in a "higher self" with a "super-conscious mind" - or just plain common sense coupled with competence!]
Successful People Have A Sense Of Purpose And A Desire To Contribute
These days, so much of what many people do seems pointless to them. A terrible feeling of ennui and "is that all there is?" is pervasive and casts a blight on far, far too many lives. The successful don't have this feeling. They know not only what they are doing but they know why it matters. They have, in short, a sense of purpose about their activity that informs all they do and makes them want to get "up and at 'em" instead of wasting time in self-destructive doubts and frustrating introspection.
The successful are certain they are contributing to society, making people's lives better. Most have a zealous sense of mission that gives them both focus and zest. As McCoy writes, "The successful show an inner strength, a 'knowing,' that enables them to move out of the ordinary at times when they believe the situation calls for it. Not so much a rebellious act, it is the will to inspire a higher level of good in society."
Other Characteristics Of The Successful
As a result of McCoy's hundreds of interviews, she was able to see that the vast majority of successful people shared either all or most of the preceding 12 "megatraits." She also discovered an additional six traits which, if not quite universal, were still widely shared by the successful, and it is worth pointing these out to you, too.
Many Of The Successful Challenge Traditional Concepts
As McCoy points out, those who cannot succeed within the established system for whatever reason get ahead more often than not by challenging existing patterns of behavior. Their desire to be included, to be successful in conventional terms, drives them to change the game and its prevailing rules.
They Are Constantly Coming Up With Innovative, Fresh Ideas
The mark of the successful people, according to McCoy, is their willingness to discard ideas that don't work any more... and their ability to keep coming up with new, fresh solutions to problems. What matters is what will work... not how things have been done before.
Age Is Not A Barrier To Their Starting New Companies
McCoy presents many individuals - including Ray Kroc who started McDonald's when he was 52 - who didn't let their age get them down... but pushed ahead when others their age were thinking about retirement.
They Continue, Even In Their Late Years, To Be Productive, Many Choosing
Not To Retire Until Long After The Traditional Age.
Because the successful are not "working" in the traditional sense, they have no incentive to "retire" in the traditional sense either. They realize that the work they have undertaken for so long is what has made their live so rich and productive... and they see no reason to abandon it, whatever the majority of their age peers are doing.
The Successful Continue To Schedule Time For Their Education
McCoy reports that the truly successful are under no illusions that they know it all... or that what they know today will be sufficient to enable them to compete tomorrow. They have succeeded because of their ability to change, retool, rethink, develop and discard previously usable ideas... and they know that this is what they must continue to do to remain successful. Thus, whether with formal or informal programs of education, they are committed to staying abreast of the crucial developments that will enable them to remain successful.
Now that you've read this article, reread and post it. As the successful also know, each moment of your life is either an opportunity to be more successful... or the chance to fall back and sabotage yourself. Which is it to be? Too many people reading this article will say, "I know lots of what Doris Lee McCoy took years to discover. I certainly don't need to consider it again." But, be honest with yourself. Are you as successful as you want to be... and are you exhibiting these traits in your daily life? Do you "know" the "megatraits"... or are you living them? Either way, the answer will be perfectly obvious in time. The question is, will you like that answer?
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