In his fourth book, RULE #1 DON’T BE #2, Daniel Milstein inspires like never before, challenging us to dream BIG with his charismatic candor, giving us each a compelling glimpse into our own limitless potential. In addition to Dan’s riveting accounts of overcoming adversity, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 captivates with countless stories of those who’ve dominated their respective fields against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Framed in Dan’s fast-paced, conversational style and his best-loved, thought-provoking quotes, we’re gifted the life-changing lessons of the world’s greatest achievers. Don’t miss Dan’s heartfelt tutorial that is destined to become a giant in the motivational genre, and beyond.
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About the Author
Dan Milstein is the Founder and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America, and Dan has been featured in many notable publications and numerous rosters of Top Business and Finance Professionals in the USA. Dan was born in Kiev, Ukraine and just 16 when he narrowly escaped the demise of the Soviet Union by immigrating to the United States. Arriving with only 17 cents and one suitcase, but fueled by his determination to seize the American Dream, Dan stormed every opportunity in his path, quickly rising to the rank of #1 Loan Officer in the USA and then building one of the most recognized brands worldwide. International best-selling author of The ABC of Sales, 17 Cents and a Dream, and Street Smart Selling, Dan brings his unique brand of motivation to the greatly anticipated Rule #1: Don’t Be #2, chock-full of energizing accounts of others who have dominated their field. From film stars to sport stars, world leaders to company leaders, these enterprising individuals will move you to work until your idols become your rivals. Highly acclaimed CEO, sports agent, consultant, speaker and author, Dan Milstein is credited with motivating hundreds of thousands with his simple, yet powerful, brand of inspiration. Read and be inspired.
Read an Excerpt
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,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Chase Your Dreams and Become #1! Do you have a dream? Is there a job you would love to have, maybe owning a business of your own? Do you want to be a star athlete? A best-selling author? In his book, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, Dan Milstein tells you how. Milstein speaks from experience. Having arrived in American as a 16-year-old from Ukraine with only 17 cents in is pocket, he overcame the language barrier and other challenges to rise up to become the founder and owner of the Gold Star Family of Companies. In this incredible book, Milstein not only tells us his own story, but he shares the inspirational stories of many others – people who have inspired him – and hopes that they will inspire you too. “I have a mentor’s heart…” says Milstein in his book. And he does. More than 20 “Rules for Success” fill this very motivational book, as Milstein gives us the steps to find our passion, get to the top in our field, and stay there. The book is also filled with a lot of motivational quotes, all laid out in a very eye-catching design that will have you leaving this book on your coffee table or gifting it to friends. “…but I will never buy into the excuses you may be using for giving up.” says Milstein, and he won’t. Written in more of a “kick-in-the pants” style, he doesn’t leave room for complainers or pity parties. If you fail, learn from your mistakes and continue forward. And don’t quit working until you reach your goal. With sayings like “Lunch is For Losers” you’ll find yourself staying behind in the office to answer the sales calls when others leave for a break. Written in an incredibly conversational style, this book is a fast and easy read, and one you will want to return to time and again. Pick up a copy and make your dreams come true. As Dan Milstein says, “You should have goals so big that you are uncomfortable telling you friends about them.” This would make a great book for a graduate, someone entering the work force, or anyone who wants to make their dreams come true. I highly recommend it.
Milstein Teaches That Success Not Accidental But is Earned Each Day You never retire from striving for success because it is an activity that requires daily commitment, planning, and deliberate action. Take it from the mentor of successful living, Daniel Milstein who just released his newest book packed with secrets to success – “Rule #1, Don’t Be #2: you get what you work for – not what you wish for.” This wonderful book is filled with nuggets of inspiration such as: • Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard for it. • Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t. • Being on the edge is not as safe but the view is better. • Winners are not the people who never fail; they are the people who never quit. • While you debated whether the glass is empty or full, I sold it. Milstein’s latest book is filled with other pieces of wisdom as well as steps to take and steps to avoid to become the successful person you want to be in life. The text is so well-written, and the advice so gripping, that the reader can finish the book in one setting and then begin applying the life-changing principles the next day. The author has the credentials to write about success because he is founder and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing and film production. A national leader in mortgage finance year after year, Milstein’s love for mentoring inspiring him to begin writing in 2010 and that has resulted him becoming the best-selling author of “The ABC of Sales,” “17 Cents and a Dream,” and “Street Smart Selling.” “Rule #1, Don’t Be #2” is the crown on his writing career as Milstein shares the secrets of how he rose from an immigrant from Russia to America at age 17, from a laborer at McDonald’s, to a leading mortgage financier, author and sports agent. This is a book you cannot afford not to read.
If you don’t sell yourself nobody else will! This book is a true gem, it is empowering, inspirational, ruthlessly honest, but most importantly it is probably the most outstandingly motivational book you will ever read, if you REALLY want your dream to come true. Why? Because it’s written by a man who knows what he’s talking about. You see, in 1991, Daniel Milstein and his parents arrived in America, they were fleeing the religious and political persecution which raged in their native Soviet Union. Daniel Milstein at 16, had only 17 cents in his pocket, however even at that young age, he was richer than most, why, simply because he had a win/win mind-set, a positive outlook, guts and determination. With these assets, from that moment, although he himself didn’t realise it, he was already on his way to achieving the American Dream. What I liked about this book is that it is so full of inspiring stories. However, this doesn’t mean his message is sugar coated, certainly not! This is a man who tells it as it is, and freely admits that his philosophy runs along the lines of a swift kick in the pants. Throughout he insists that success lies in attitude, and action, dreaming is no good, it is futile to wait for luck to come your way, the right time, approval from others. You MUST work hard, grab those chances, and not fear failure. Should things not go well, then use the experience as a learning curve, and take a lesson from Arianna Huffington’s mother, who told her daughter (Founder of The Huffington Post) ‘Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a steppingstone to success.’ Complacency is another very important factor Daniel Milstein covers. It is essential that you remember you can never rest on your laurels. “Success is never owned. It is rented and the rent is due every day!” is his motto. When you succeed be pleased, but don’t become content with your lot, your competitor is waiting to step in your shoes as soon as you lapse, so make sure you don’t! Persistency is vital. Whatever your dream, go with it, and don’t give up. Should you fail the first, second, third… time then continue to persevere. He provides examples of many well-known names from the MacDonald brothers, Henry Ford, to the inspirational Jim Eisenreich, people who didn’t give up, or listen to those negative influences. Through the motivational quotes and messages strewn copiously throughout the book, the reasons why those who succeed do so, are laid out in plain sight for you to see. Be brave, think outside the box, follow that dream, and then dream bigger, and better. Remember success might not happen overnight, but if you never go for it, you can never win. So stick with it, work hard and learn from those around you and, you will make it. Eighty-six percent of millionaires are self-made, and two thirds of the world’s billionaires made their fortune from scratch – so what’s stopping you? Pick up a copy of this book and follow the authors guide to success, learn from him, and others then show the world just what you can achieve!
‘You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ Daniel Milstein is the Founder and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. Having read all four of David’s books – STREET SMART SELLING, 17 CENTS AND A DREAM, THE ABCs OF SALES: LESSONS FROM A SUPER STAR, and now RULE #1: DON’T BE #2 - he has become not only a mentor and inspiration but also a focused friend in making life and work and everything we touch a success. More of his personal history informs us well: he previously has shared his beginnings in the USSR, his love for his dentist grandfather, the closeness of his family living in very meager conditions in Kiev, the Chernobyl disaster and evacuation from contaminated Kiev only to return later to a brutal expression of anti-Semitism and the eventual decision for his family to secretly flee to America. But landing in America, in Michigan, opened the door to a strange new land of foreign language that challenged the 16-year old immigrant Daniel. Living in cramped quarters with not enough money to buy food save for food stamps, Daniel learned to resist bullies, overcome hunger and set his sights for learning English, attending school, becoming a mechanic, and providing for his beloved family. Through all these hard times he had to remind himself: `I had all the tools, all the things I needed to be somebody. I could fall back on excuses and say that it was too hard, that I wasn't good enough or smart enough. I could have said that everyone picked on me, or that no one thought I could do it. I could have thrown in the towel and apologized to my grandfather for failing. But America was not a place for excuses. It was not going to be a place for failure. It was going to be a place for opportunities.' And that is precisely the reason why he draws us into this book RULE#1: DON’T BE #2. He warmly challenges us to follow our dreams – ‘That’s why I want to share what I’ve learned with you. I have a mentor’s heart, but I will never buy in to the excuses you may be using for giving up. I want to help you identify and address whatever is blocking your own success. Because I know you can ignite your dream and achieve your goals. Your challenges may be lesser or greater than those I’ve faced, but one thing is certain: you can learn from everything I have experienced and from everyone who has inspired me. Within these pages are the life- changing lessons and stories of people who have inspired me over the years: friends, mentors, and others I hold in high regard. They’ve overcome great odds and have become wildly successful.’ His book is filled with memorable quotations and inspiring one-liners that make this a book to keep close by for infusing the concept of reahing our dreams as well as practical instruction in the manner of a wise coach. Words such as – ‘Stop wasting time. Put down the remote and get off the couch. Stay productive.’ and ‘You’ve got to stay engaged and active; otherwise you can easily lose momentum in your daily routine.’ The book is full of such supportive encouragement. It is also an invitation from a very generous author to enjoy the adventure of following your passion. And that sums up the direction of this inspirational book.