On this site, there will be no “Rah, rah, you can do it!”. I try to keep it to practical advice.
Have you noticed that the advice in many so-called success books does not seem to work?
In my opinion, one of the worse offenders is the book The Secret.
The Secret is well-written. The movie is great as well. I love the movie. I am totally a sucker for that kind of nonsense.
Unfortunately, the entire “success” secret is wishful thinking. A relative who is a psychologist told me he had to give therapy to people who wondered why The Secret did not work for them. What was wrong with them?
For some reason, it never occurred to them that the problem was not with them but with The Secret itself. He had to do therapy to convince them that wishful thinking does not work.
After people made lots of money selling The Secret, the same people started writing about why The Secret did not work. For example, why weren’t people making lots of money using the methods taught in the book and the movie?
It turns out that the “missing” factor was that you have to provide value to people to make lots of money. Why couldn’t they have said this in the book and movie in the first place?
Also, wishful thinking is not needed if you are providing lots of value for people and properly promoting it.
This is the problem with all books and movies on the so-called Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction is basically wishful thinking.
Focusing on a goal or a skill is important for success. Why can’t they simply say that? Oh, that would not sell books. Also, it is boring.
Here are some books that I found to be practical and realistic about success.
Scott Adams, in his great book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, says to have about 10 different projects going at once and one might take off. He said that Dilbert was just one of ten projects he had on the go at the time. It was the one that took off and made him rich.
He also talks about talent stacking. This is a method where a person with average ability can stack their different talents in such a way that they can succeed at something big.
He points out that successful people put processes in place that are guaranteed to succeed in the long run. For example, a proper diet and regularly working out at the gym properly will not give short term success but will give long term success with weight loss.
Another is John T. Reed’s Succeeding. This is the first book on succeeding that I actually respected. He tells you outright that there are some skills you will never have a talent for. He tells you to find your strengths and focus on them.
Most books on success tell you that if you apply your mind to something you can do it. You will hear nonsense like if you practice any skill for 10,000 hours you will become a world-class expert.
Not so. This triggered my baloney detector. 10,000 hours is about 5 years of full time work. How many people do you know that have 5 years experience in a job that are truly world-class?
Five years is a sweet spot career-wise because at five years, a person has enough experience that they know the job well and are still cheap to “buy”. Their salary is still relatively low, and they should be able to handle most tasks with the job and do them well.
But world-class? No way. I know many people who are terrible at their job after five years. The Peter Principle explains why so many people are incompetent, even after many years in the same job.
Another great book is The Millionaire Mind It will tell you that working harder than everyone else is needed to succeed.
When I was in Toastmaster, a guest speaker at their District Conventions was a self-amde milionaaire who strated his puble speaking career at Toastmasters.
He sold products on public speaking that are very good. I know. My wife and I bought them all and they are worth every penny.
He gives his speeches at Toastmasters for free, but has clients that pay $10,000 for one speech. I would love to hear that speech!
He described how he promoted his business using inexpensive and clever marketing. He told us how he checks out a room before speaking. He mentioned his coaches and the amount they charge and why they were worth every penny.
I noticed something. It was something he never outright told as one reason behind his success.
One day, I mentioned to him that I noticed the one thing he never talked about. He worked very, very hard at his business. Long hours, and a lot of attention to detail. He was a very hard worker.
I asked him why he never mentioned that people needed to work hard to succeed. His reply? “The public is not ready for that.”
The above books are for doers. Buy them.
The Peter Principle is an important book if you want to understand why there is so much incompetence in the world. I find that understanding things makes things much more tolerable. I highly recommend you buy this book.