Rule #1 Don't Be #2248
Rule #1 Don't Be #2248
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MAKE HARD WORK YOUR WEAPON
It's not how much you sleep, it's what you do when you're awake.
Success means working hard every day and making the necessary sacrifices to accomplish often-challenging goals.
People frequently ask if there is a "secret" to attaining success. The Greek philosopher Socrates had a very simple answer to that question. One day a young man asked him if there was indeed such a secret. Socrates told the man to meet him at a nearby river the following morning. When they met, the philosopher suggested they walk into the water. Socrates surprised his companion by dunking him under and holding him there for several minutes. Finally, he pulled the young man's head out of the water. As he quickly gasped and took a deep breath of air, Socrates asked him, "What did you want the most when you were under water there?" Without hesitating, he replied, "Air." Socrates said, "That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret."
The one constant is that every true success story usually begins with a dream, the inspiration to reach seemingly impossible goals. One of my own early dreams of future success
It's essential that you don't let others' definitions of success alter your drive to achieve.
occurred as my parents, brother and I stepped off the plane that had taken us from our old home in the Soviet Union to a new one in America. We carried few possessions, and my only money was the 17 cents in my pocket to mail a letter back home to my best friend. My family faced an uncertain future, but I was excited at the potential of our new home and hoped that it would be the first step on my way to achieving the American Dream.
My life has since been made up of many accomplishments — from becoming a top producing salesman to establishing a major residential lending company that has also expanded into publishing, movie production, and a professional celebrity and athlete management group — that many well-meaning people told me were impossible.
It's essential that you don't let others' definitions of success alter your drive to achieve. If the opinion of others is enough to make you quit, then perhaps you're not quite ready for the success about which you dream.
Obviously we learn that achieving success is not an overnight process.
Behind every successful person there are usually several unsuccessful years. You may be one of the lucky ones who enjoys "quick" success, but most people take a steady climb to reach their various goals.
One of the most important lessons I've learned about success from studying great achievers is that there is no finish line. If you find you're realizing high aspirations, never be fooled into thinking you have "arrived," as that may lead to arrogance or complacency. How you handle success often determines how long you will hold on to it.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
Whatever you're thinking, think bigger.
You have to think big in order to "get ahead."
Soon after arriving in America, I realized that this is a country of big thinkers with supersized visions. I adjusted my own ways of viewing things and tried to adopt some of the best practices of successful people, such as Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, and Bill Gates. Among other things, their common characteristics include supreme confidence, a thorough knowledge of their industry's potential challenges and solutions, and "the glass is three-quarters full" philosophy. These and many other accomplished entrepreneurs always stretch themselves and take bold actions.
When I consider big thinkers, I always recall the story of San Francisco businessman Amadeo Giannini, who lived during the early part of the twentieth century. He opened his San Francisco Bay business in an old saloon and catered to the hardworking immigrants that others would not serve at the time.
But shortly after Giannini set up shop, the Great Earthquake of 1906 struck. Homes were reduced to rubble. Rather than leave the area as many did, he decided that he would help members of the community by lending them money, proclaiming that San Francisco would be the first area to rise from the ashes. Since most of the banks in the area had been destroyed and were unable to lend money, Giannini set up a plank across two barrels at the corner of an intersection. There he collected deposits and made rebuilding loans to businesses based on a handshake. He got the economy moving again. Little did anyone know at the time that these loans and deposits would form the basis of the portfolio that would later become Bank of America, one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
Giannini didn't invent commercial lending. But what he did do was think about the enormous opportunity before him and spring into action as soon as he could get that plank across those barrels. He accomplished what those who were giving up thought impossible, by thinking — and acting quickly — on agrand scale. He wasn't concerned about how he was going to replace the windows in his saloon. He was concerned about how to salvage the city's economy — and in turn laid the foundation of a banking empire. He accomplished what others thought was impossible by not being afraid to think on a grand scale.
I must admit that some of my own early career moves might have been a little grandiose, but the overall approach has generally worked to my advantage.
Businesspeople often say it's wise to include a "big idea" in a plan or proposal — something that is exceptionally distinctive. But from my perspective, the entire plan or goal should be based on an ambitious vision. You won't be able to develop aggressive goals and achieve huge results by thinking small.
You should have goals so big that you are uncomfortable telling your friends about them.
Mark Zuckerberg had a big goal. In 2004, the 19-year-old Harvard sophomore partnered with his college roommates and a fellow Harvard student to found Facebook. Today, Mark Zuckerberg's net worth is $51.5 billion, Dustin Moskovitz — $9.8 billion, Eduardo Saverin — $7.2 billion, Chris Hughes — $450 million, and Andrew McCollum — $18 million. They didn't let their youth or inexperience stop them. Nor should you. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic.
When I started in the lending business I strived to be the best, determined to become the top loan officer in the country. That was a big goal, which I only shared with a few people because I knew they would think it was out of reach.
I encourage our managers and other employees to think of their most innovative ideas. There are no limitations. Obviously some of the "over the top" concepts may not be feasible to actually implement, but along the way this approach leads to some dramatic results. An interesting phenomenon occurs: thinking beyond and around limitations becomes a habit. Apply this same concept to your own daily behavior, and I guarantee you'll eventually become a big league thinker. You have to remind yourself: "Today I will do what others won't do so tomorrow I can do what others can't."
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE
Focus on your future, live in the present, and learn from your past.
You'll have a much greater chance for longterm success by constantly focusing directly on what you want in life.
Lack of clarity is one of the major stumbling blocks to success. Too often people rush into something without being fully prepared. They start with an exciting idea, but haven't thought it all the way through. As a result, they may be unsure of their purpose or direction.
Without a clear direction, you can quickly wander off course, which leads to delays reaching your destination, whether it's an immediate or long-term project. I always like to remind people that "A man without a vision for his future always returns to his past."
In the early phase of my career, I took a few missteps. I definitely had the desire, but wasn't quite sure how to get there. I was impatient and overlooked some of the fundamentals necessary to be successful. I also had to redefine my purpose — for example, was I seeking a long-term career, or to become financially secure at a young age, or some combination? Once I was absolutely clear of what I wanted and how to get there, I was on a fast track and never looked back.
Many people start out with a clearly defined purpose, but then their focus becomes blurred. Well-known former Dallas Cowboys football coach Jimmy Johnson had an opportunity to share an important pregame lesson with his players. "I told them that if I laid a two-by-four plank across the room, everybody there would walk across it and not fall, because our focus would be that we were going to walk that two-by-four," Johnson said of this motivational talk. "But if I put that same two-by-four plank 10 stories high between two buildings only a few would make it, because the focus would be on failing. Focus is everything. The team that is more focused today is the team that will win this game."
Johnson told his team not to be distracted by the crowds, the media, or the possibility of losing, but to focus on each play of the game itself just as if it were a good practice session. The Cowboys obviously listened carefully to their coach's talk. They had a decisive win that day. This kind of coaching helped Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys win two Super Bowls.
Some people find it easier to develop "clarity of purpose" than others. They are able to articulate their goal and pathway from the very beginning and can then focus on their objective with laser-like concentration. However, others have a more difficult time with what seems to be a simple process.
Whenever I talk to new employees worldwide, or our celebrity and sports agency clients, I ask them what their short- and long-term goals are.
I encourage them to write this in a statement of a few sentences, and then reread it a few days later. They frequently see that their initial Purpose Statement isn't as clear as they intended, which then gives them an opportunity to rethink and revise it. It is a powerful exercise that you can adapt to your own business and personal lives.
Not everyone will see your purpose and goals the way you do. Sometimes the people around you won't understand your journey. They don't need to — it's not for them.
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.
You must know what your priorities are.
Priorities are more than a daily or weekly "to do" list; rather, they refer to those things that are most important to us professionally and personally. They guide us as we establish a set of goals and develop a framework with which to accomplish them. And as we remain focused on our priorities, they also help us continue to make necessary adjustments in order to reach our goals.
Being at the "top of their game" is a major priority for many people, as it has been for me since the day I entered the workforce at age 16. As I tell most people, my number one rule is "Don't be #2." However, part of that is developing patience, and improving incrementally until you've reached the highest possible mark. Early on I realized that "it's not always about being the best, it's about being better than you were yesterday." One of my other early priorities was to not be the smartest person in the room. I always wanted to be open-minded, willing to learn whatever I could from mentors and fellow employees.
Early on I realized that "it's not always about being the best, it's about being better than you were yesterday."
Brain surgeon Ben Carson's mother made her son's education a priority. Sonya Carson was an illiterate woman with only a third grade education who married at age 13. She later found herself a single mother raising her son in poverty. Wanting more for Ben, she insisted he read two books per week. Her priorities became his, and he went on to earn a medical degree, publish several books, and even make a bid for the presidency of the United States. Sonya Carson used a library card to raise a brain surgeon. Never underestimate the power of the human mind.
Abraham Lincoln's determination and perseverance is another excellent example of focused priorities. In addition to ending the Civil War, Lincoln's number one priority was ending slavery. As the war continued, his obsession with ending slavery included 1863's Emancipation Proclamation, using the U.S. Army to protect escaped slaves, encouraging border states to outlaw slavery, and prompting Congress to enact the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. He fought critics in both parties who either didn't support his mission or were skeptical that he could accomplish it. Lincoln remained true to his priorities.
Our priorities certainly evolve. As a newly arrived immigrant to America, my main priority was fitting in with my high school classmates. Later it was graduating from college and finding business success, then establishing my own firm and ensuring that it would thrive, rather than simply survive, during difficult times.
We often hear people say "get your priorities straight," meaning that they may question someone else's values. But I believe that should only apply to unprofessional or otherwise poor behavior. I'm usually most inspired by those who have developed a set of ethical principles and don't let others dictate what their priorities should be. As I often tell people, "Don't worry about what I'm doing. Just worry about what you're not doing, and remember that the difference between excellence and mediocrity is commitment."
RAISE THE BAR, THEN JUMP OVER
Eighty-six percent of millionaires are self-made.
The only way we will reach our full potential — in our work and personal lives — is by raising the performance bar.
We won't get there by maintaining the status quo or lowering the bar when we have an especially difficult month or year. You have to shoot for the moon, because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. You'll still achieve greater overall results than if you hadn't pushed yourself, and along the way you'll have made the necessary adjustments for future growth.
People say, "The sky is the limit," when talking about someone's potential accomplishments. However, I believe you can amend that to, "The sky isn't the limit, but rather your mind is." Because of a lack of self-confidence, someone else's perception of our abilities, or another reason, there is a tendency for people to limit themselves by applying self-imposed restrictions.
When Morris Markin arrived at Ellis Island from Russia in the early 1900s, he spoke no English and was unable to pay the bond required to enter the United States. A janitor there loaned him the $25 required for the bond. Even then Markin was clearly ambitious, learning how to set high expectations in his new home country. From New York he traveled to Chicago to live with his uncle. He later held several jobs as an errand boy, including work for a tailor who taught him the trade. Markin worked hard and was able to save enough money to bring his seven brothers and two sisters to America. He and one of his brothers subsequently opened a factory that made pants under government contracts during World War I, and their company was quite successful. In 1921, Markin entered the automobile business when he acquired an auto body manufacturing company, and later a failed automobile manufacturer, a defunct chassis plant, and a body plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Markin relocated the entire operation to Kalamazoo and in 1922 formed the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. By refusing to set limits, Markin was able to achieve the remarkable success about which many others only dream.
Many professions force their members to regularly surpass their previous performance levels. Salespeople must continue to increase their annual volume. However, the most successful people have learned to raise the bar on their own. They are always looking for ways to exceed last year's performance. When I was first striving to be one of my industry's top loan officers, it was apparent that I'd have to push myself beyond what my sales manager expected. Even when I formed my own company, I often set overly ambitious targets, but that enabled me to continue reaching higher.
It can be a little difficult to know just how far to raise the bar, but if you're in doubt, make smaller increases until you reach a reasonable level. But don't ever "settle" for less than you're capable of doing.
If you're not achieving what you want, don't lower your expectations. Instead, you need to raise your standards.
Surpassing your limits can also be applied to your personal life. You just have to determine what you want to accomplish — and then raise your own bar and leap over it. Remember that reaching higher to achieve success is supposed to be hard. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Excerpted from "Rule #1 Don't Be #2"
Copyright © 2017 Daniel Milstein.
Excerpted by permission of Gold Star Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
SECTION ONE Time to Pay the Rent,
SECTION TWO The Rules of Business Success,
1 Make Hard Work Your Weapon,
2 Go Big or Go Home,
3 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,
4 Stand Up and Be Counted,
5 Raise the Bar, Then Jump Over,
6 Do It Now,
7 Go All Out,
8 Chart Your Course,
9 Be Bold: Make the First Move,
10 It's a Team Sport,
11 Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do,
12 Who Said It Would Be Easy?,
13 Fake It Until You Make It,
14 Get Real,
15 Love the One You're With,
16 An Overnight Success Usually Takes Ten Years,
17 Get Off the Couch,
18 Adapt and Conquer,
19 You Can't Stop Believing,
20 There's No Room for Complainers,
21 Keep Your Enemies Close,
22 Everyone Is Afraid of Something,
23 Failure Is the Best Teacher,
24 Always Be Closing,
25 The World Is Full of Survivors,
SECTION THREE Turn Your Ideas Into Action,
Rising to #1: Never Give In. Never Give Up.,
About the Author,