More myths about the pathway to success

I graduated from engineering school and then went to work for the US Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, DC. I attended George Washington University Law School and graduated in the top 10% of my class. I moved to California and soon found myself in a private law practice. And I worked hard at it.

But after 11 years, I was a struggling sole practitioner, just barely getting by on a month to month basis. Why? I had bought into a couple of other myths:

Myth #2: How smart you are determines your success.

Don’t you know really smart people who aren’t very successful? And don’t you know people that don’t appear very smart who are really successful? Of course.

Myth #3: If you work really hard, you’ll be successful.

People that work the hardest – laborers – are often the least successful. And so many people that hardly work at all are really successful. I have a client who’s a multi-millionaire who retired at the age of 41 to raise a family and never stepped foot into his company again. He let his VP of sales become the President and run the company. He just gets a check every month.

I am truly fascinated by some of the responses I received from the last issue, what many of you think is the source of success. Here are some of them:

“How about, my success is determined by how I react to (handle) situations (obstacles)...?”

“I believe it is about having a love/passion/commitment-that-keeps-you-going that does it.  Another way to put that would be to have a "calling".  And to know your calling, one needs to have a clear understanding of one's self and what you have been created as/for.”

“What I believe successful people have in common is knowing what their strengths are and then surrounding themselves with people who have a greater knowledge in areas that they are weak in - they have the ability to see beyond the surface and tap into the potential not just the obvious.”

 “I believe its passion and the ability to hear their inner voice (intuition) to do what is right for them.  They don’t allow other people “write on their walls and live in their heads”.  Also, they surround themselves with other awesome people.  It takes awesome people to know awesome people.”

 “The answer: discipline.”

And, finally: “I think I know what it takes to be successful. I have carefully observed people over the years and found the 2 following things are common amongst successful people: (1) Successful people pick careers that they love instead of what is going to bring them the most money and power. This singular focus on what they love to do often brings them the money and power anyways. (2) Successful people have good judgment. Knowing the right things to do is not enough. Life presents complicated problems that need good judgment or common sense to resolve.”

Absolutely fascinating. These are all myths. And that we buy into so many of them explains why most people are not successful. Research shows that 90% of individuals will never be financially free in the way they’d like to be.

So what’s the answer? And, is there “an answer?” I believe there is. I will reveal it next week. In the meantime, keep sending me your ideas.