The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy offered to us the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Yes, “42” is the answer. If the answer to everything is this easy to remember, then humanity can take advantage of this pocket panacea. However, reality is made or perceived to be complex so carrying just a 42 in our life luggage is useless. The intricate patterns woven on the knowledge society is hard to understand. Explaining it is even harder. Thanks to people like Albert Einstein who believe that everything is simple. And to Albert Gray too. He claimed that he found the common denominator of success.
Albert Gray is a life insurance professional who became popular because of his short speech he delivered to life insurance agents. His speech contained the simple key to success. Many life coaches, business trainers or even self-help opinion leaders have their own recipes for success–many of which are too complicated to cook or too weird a delicatessen for some conservative taste buds. Albert Gray’s is a fried egg. Or a poached egg. Or a ready-to-eat raw egg. Here’s his one-step recipe:
The common denominator of success–the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful–lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
According to him, this is so general and universal, we need to deal with it every single day of our life.
It’s just as true as it sounds and it’s just as simple as it seems. You can hold it up to the light, you can put it to the acid test, and you can kick it around until it’s worn out, but when you are all through with it, it will still be the common denominator of success, whether you like it or not.
Here are some of his interesting claims in his speech:
Hard Work is not the answer. Like Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Gray said that hard work is not the key to success since he know many people who are hardworking but not successful. However, like the Rich Dad, Poor Dad author, Gray said that hard work might be one of the requirements. Considering his Secret to Success logic, it is safe to conclude that unsuccessful hardworking people works hard for the things failures like to do.
We like to do what failures like to do. You might ask the question: What are the things that failures don’t like to do? Unfortunately, Gray did not exemplified such things in his speech because, according to him, they are too obvious to discuss (though he cited two things; see next paragraph). However, he contended that these things are also the things that even successful men like to do–they just also do those things that failures don’t.
Connecting is vital. He said that two of the things that fail life insurance agents do not want to do are “call on people who don’t want to see us and talk to them about something they don’t want to talk about.” This supports John Maxwell’s claim about the importance of connecting with others.
Aim for pleasing results and not for pleasing methods. When we need to get a job done, we want the process to be fast and comfortable enough for us. Voila, you have the perfect recipe for mediocrity. In this generation of instant gratification, pleasing methods are so popular.
Purpose drives people to do unpleasing things. If all of us, successful or a failure, have the similar set of things we do not like to do, then what makes successful people do them anyway? Purpose, my friend. Maxwell’s 7 Habits has a similar advice–habit number 2, begin with the end in mind. Gray and Maxwell, moreover, also told us the importance of building habits.
- Purpose must be practical and not visionary. He explained this advice by telling a story. However, he did not really gave a personal explanation. What I extracted from it is this: A purpose must be something you can attain and must be something that came from your heart.
- Purpose must be emotional and not logical. Gray said that if your purpose is logical (i.e. when it is in the form of needs), once satisfied, it will stop pushing you. However, when it is emotional (i.e. when it is in the form of wants or desires), it will keep pushing you even if your needs are satisfied.
I’m thinking of some examples failures don’t like to do. I think some of the basic ones are these: finishing things early; eating and drinking moderately; aiming for a perfect score; staying away from vices; sleeping 8 hours a day; connecting to people; putting first things first; doing boring clerical, desk jobs (until you can afford a secretary); and keeping promises to self and other people. I believe that most of the things failures don’t like to do are just basic things in life. These basic things, although not always necessary, will build a strong foundation sturdy enough for the more ambitious things we want to do. Well, there are some more not really simple things that failures don’t like to do, and the the list can be endless–especially when considering a particular context. I’m not saying that doing these things will make you a failure. Doing these regularly to the extent that they become personal habits will transform themselves into failure bugs that can infest your life harvest. You want to successful? Stop being a brat. Just do it, bitch.