By Stephen Bean | Oct 06, 2009
I’m a big fan of Investor’s Business Daily, the popular financial newspaper. In fact, I read it every day. Not only does it have general news and a lot of financial information but it also has a wonderful section called “IBD’S Secrets To Success.” And, having been originally trained as a psychologist, I am quite naturally extremely interested in the general subject of human success.
I’ve noticed that the word “secret” is often used in advertising – usually to get you to buy something. It implies that to get what you want you must know the “secret” as to how to get there, and the seller of this type of information will share this “secret” with you for some tidy sum of money. What amazes me is that people actually buy this stuff so that they can learn the “secret” and become successful when, in fact, the secret is really not a secret – it’s simply, more often than not, being and acting mature.
Now, Investor’s Business Daily offers the secrets to achieving success for nothing (other than the cost of the newspaper). IBD originally started printing its “Secrets To Success” in September 1998 and has been doing so ever since.
Here’s the point: If you read and analyze these so called “secrets,” you will logically conclude that they’re simply a euphemism for being and acting in a logical and mature manner. They are really nothing more than that. I happen to believe that people who are successful are simply more logical and mature than those who are not. They behave in a more logical, adaptive and proper manner repetitively and, because they do, it helps them to become successful. For example, they delay gratification, they work hard, they expect nothing for nothing, they interact with people in a very proper manner, etc.
IBD studied several successful people and concluded that there were essentially 10 traits they had in common. So, I’m going to list them for you with the idea that perhaps you will take them seriously and by imitating successful people you can become more successful yourself.
According to IBD:
1. How you think is everything. Think success, not failure. Beware of a negative environment.
2. Decide upon your true dreams and goals. Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
3. Take action. Goals are nothing without action. Don’t be afraid to get started. Just do it.
4. Never stop learning. Go back to school or read books. Get training and acquire skills.
5. Be persistent and work hard. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Never give up.
6. Learn to analyze details. Get all the facts, all the input. Learn from your mistakes.
7. Focus your time and money. Don’t let other people or other things distract you.
8. Don’t be afraid to innovate; be different. Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
9. Deal and communicate with people effectively. No person is an island. Learn to understand and motivate others.
10. Be honest and dependable; take responsibility. Otherwise, Numbers 1-9 won’t matter.
Great, aren’t they? When IBD did its research into the success formula, it studied the lives of many highly successful people such as Abe Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Sam Walton, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and dozens of others from the world of sports to military leaders.
Since I own a long-established busy commercial laundry equipment distributorship and a large coin laundry, I meet a lot of people on a regular basis that own businesses – especially self-service laundries. Some are very successful, some are moderately so and some simply struggle all of the time. I appreciate that the economy and other factors beyond one’s control can certainly affect one’s business, but I do believe that how the owner reacts to and handles these “extrinsic” factors is a definite function of his or her level of maturity.
So, I highly recommend regularly reading the IBD secrets to success, and then conduct a self-analysis to see how many of these qualities you actually possess. It’s an ideal opportunity for personal growth.
Strive for emotional maturity and a mature outlook. Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. To be successful, you must be open to changing your thinking on various subjects – because if you always think the way you’ve always thought you will likely always be where you’ve always been.
I have noticed that many people are concerned with how unfair life is. Don’t be one of them. Life is certainly not fair, but the way to reconcile and deal with that issue is to understand that, although life is not fair, that it’s not fair for everyone – and that in itself makes it fair.
Growth of all types requires patience, and learning patience takes patience. So practice, because money does not grow on trees. It grows on the trees of patience.