Several years ago, I attended a wealth expo at the Learning Annex in New York City. I was so excited to go, like a kid on a sleepless Christmas Eve.
The amount of talent assembled was incredible. Over several days, I absorbed wisdom straight from the mouths of gurus like Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Summey, Suze Orman, and many more. The knowledge I took home from the expo was priceless.
Small Fish in a Big Sea
The atmosphere was electric, but my first reaction when I walked into the Jacob Javits center was panic (until I remembered my Grandpa’s advice). There were so many people there.
The building had hundreds of rooms including two stadium-sized auditoriums simultaneously hosting keynote speakers. To make things worse, every chair in the place was occupied by another starry-eyed glory seeker like me.
I came to the convention expecting to join an elite brotherhood of paying students who would learn the sacred secrets of the wealthy. Instead, I left feeling like the secrets had just been spilled to the masses who would quickly become my competition.
When the Dust Settled
In the days after the expo, as gems of information composted in my head, I came to the comforting (but sad) realization that I had nothing to worry about.
Ninety-nine percent of the people who paid good money for the same knowledge as me would never do a thing about it.
The more I thought about it, the clearer this reality became. Robert Kiyosaki has been on top of the business best-seller lists for many years since he let the cat out of the bag in 2000 with his groundbreaking book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Millions of people now know the “secrets” within its pages. Yet, it’s not as if there are proportionally more rich dads running around the world than there were seven years ago. The same small percentage of people control the majority of the wealth.
In fact, I personally know dozens of people who have read it; but I can count the number of those who have put its principles into practice on one hand.
It begs the question: If so many people know how to get rich, then why do so few succeed?
Of Guts and Glory
Most people are not willing to get out of their comfort zone, even if they know it will make them rich.
The biggest secret of successful people is right in front of everyone’s eyes: They’re just willing to do what most are not.
People don’t want to hear that they have to get uncomfortable in order to succeed; but they’ll flock by the thousands to listen to those who will tell them exactly that.
What Would Steve Pavlina Do?
Take Steve Pavlina for example, one of the world’s most successful bloggers. Steve makes an ungodly amount of money from his site, but has absolutely no secrets. In fact, he bends over backwards to tell us exactly how he did it and practically begs us to follow in his footsteps.
So why are there still relatively few bloggers who are making a full-time income from blogging? What is Steve Pavlina doing that the rest of us are not, even when he tells us what he’s doing?
Steve Pavlina is an absolute animal when it comes to absorbing, processing, and teaching personal development. In his own words, he is perhaps the most intensely growth-oriented individual you will ever meet.
In his first few years of blogging, he wrote over 500 mammoth articles on personal development. Have you seen how long his posts are? It would take you weeks to get through his entire archive.
He has put himself through all kinds of experiments and self-observation for the sake of his passion. He has put hundreds of hours into perfecting his content-optimization strategy. He has put every ounce of his soul up on that site of his.
How many people are willing to put 80 hours a week into their blog for two years? I’m not! I count myself among those who know how he did it, but are not willing to put forth the sacrifice required to have a million dollar blog.
The Difference Between Business Owners and Employees
Why are most people content to work for someone else even though they bitch about it all the time? Because they are not willing to do what business owners do.
Entrepreneurship is HARD. Business owners not only have to hustle, they have to do the dirty work like hiring, firing, negotiation, and (looking around and moving in for a whisper…) sales.
Here are the top five uncomfortable activities that most people avoid.
1. Hard Work
Hard work is HARD. That’s why it’s called hard work. It pains me to say this, but most people are lazy. They just want to put in the minimum and head home for snacks and TV.
Unfortunately for most, hard work is the easiest activity on the list. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be educated, intelligent, or emotionally put-together.
If you’re not going to work hard, just forget it. You’re at too much of a disadvantage. To even get yourself on the playing field, you have to work hard.
2. Taking Risks
Most people are afraid of failure, so they avoid risk. They might work hard, but they do so in a safe environment. They can’t bear the thought of wasted hours and pride lost by working hard at something and failing.
The universe rewards risk. The higher the chance of failure, the bigger the prize. Knowing this, you have to be prepared to fail several times before you make it big.
3. Doing Research
Today, information is more readily available than at any time in this world’s history. All of the world’s secrets are available to those who seek them. Yet, few people are willing to put in the work.
Successful people absorb all the information they can get their hands on. They read books written by successful people who have gone before them. They listen to tapes, read the blogs, go to the conventions, and personally ask the masters.
4. Getting Organized
For creative types especially, getting organized can be one of the most difficult activities some people ever do. Having systems and files takes discipline that most people don’t have. Filing papers or updating the accounting books is a task that few people are willing to learn how to do and even fewer are wiling to do.
I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that more people are afraid of public speaking than of dying. This tells us that fear of rejection is one of the most powerful fears that we know. This same fear keeps most people from learning how to sell.
I’ve worked with a lot of people who were searching to become their own boss. When I give them a list of viable options, the number one objection that I hear is that they don’t want to have to sell anything.
Do you realize that the ability to sell is beyond anything else the number one thing that separates business owners from employees? Even if the owner has a sales force, she still has to sell herself daily to employees, potential clients, potential distributers, the public, and anyone else that crosses her path.
Sales are even more important to small business owners who can’t afford a sales force. Commerce, by definition, is the exchange of goods and services. You cannot have a business without selling in some capacity. Even Steve Pavlina has to sell himself to us from behind his computer in order to get traffic to his blog.
In my very simple candy vending business, I have to cold call dozens of businesses before I get one new client. Even on eBay, the most successful sellers have mastered the art of selling their auctions.
Robert Kiyosaki had a great point in his book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. He was talking to an aspiring author who was asking him for advice on how to become a best-seller.
“Learn to sell”, he told her.
“What?” The idea of lowering herself to the level of a car salesman offended her.
“Why do you think they call it the Best Sellers List and not the Best Writers List?”
A good salesman gets rejected twenty times before he gets a sale. Most people would be absolutely horrified with that amount of rejection. They would rather die.
Many people think they are looking for a home-based business, when in reality, they are looking for a home-based job. If you don’t want to sell anything, you don’t want to start a business. There are plenty of great jobs out there that don’t require sales.
No Easy Way Out
There is no quick fix to our failures. The simple answer is that success requires work and getting out of your comfort zone. Upon learning this, you might just decide that success is not for you. Not everyone can be the best. There is no shame in living an honorable, average life.
On the other hand, you might decide that you can’t live with yourself unless you are at the top of your game. Maybe you have a burning desire deep inside to do whatever it takes to succeed. If that is the case, it’s time to bite the bullet and get to work.