“OH, don’t talk to me about how to succeed! I’ve read success advice and books and articles. They’re all——– ”
“No good? ”
“Good? They’re too good! Why, when I’ve read just what to do to succeed, I go down to the office ready to tell the president to get out, so that I may show the world what real success is. Those books inspire me! They wind me up like an alarm clock all set for success. They make me dream Rocke-Morgan-Van-der-Gould dreams, and then each Friday, I wake up at the pay window for my five little five spots! ”
“But,” I interrupted, “you know that dreaming of success is not enough. Men succeed bcause they do something, do it in a big way.”
“Oh, I’ve read that ‘do something’ advice,” he replied a little irritably, “but let me tell you there’s something left out! And, I don’t believe that very successful men know just how they succeed. They’re geniuses, and geniuses can do things without knowing how they do them.”
“For instance, I can’t play the piano, but my ten year old sister is a musical genius. She can play any tune she hears. She can play anything I whistle! But she don’t know HOW she does it, and she can’t tell me how she does it! I am certain that these very successful men are success geniuses, and so, isn’t it true that they can succeed without knowing just how they do it? ”
What George said made me think: “there’s something left out . . . sister is a musical genius . . . she can play anything I whistle but she don’t know how she does it, and she can’t tell me how she does it.”
Gazing into my grate fire, I forgot that George was there…
My thoughts ran on… I remembered several people I had known… each an especially gifted genius, who was able to do some one thing astoundingly well without knowing how he did it.
Geniuses are rare.
In degree of capacity, they differ from the rest of us, and so, perhaps, eminently successful men… success geniuses… are able to succeed without being conscious of how they do it.
I visioned the phenomenally successful men of today. There are not more than thirty of them. Most of the advice on success, which we read, comes from them. But since they are geniuses, perhaps they don’t know just what makes them successful any more than the natural born musician knows what makes it possible for him to play any air he hears without having been taught it.
I remembered my friend’s daughter, Margaret. She is seventeen. As an automobile driver, I have not seen her equal. She’s a driving genius devilishly calm and cautiously reckless. A car does exactly what she wants it to do. She’s a genius in driving a car; but as a mechanic, well, it would be wiser to trust my washerwoman to overhaul a car than to leave it to my friend’s daughter. Although Margaret operates a car successfully, she knows nothing of the inside parts which determine its action.
“Well,” said George, “wake up; I can see by your eyes, you’ve got an idea. What is it?”
“George,” I replied, “You’ve made me think. You’re right! There’s something left out! You need to know the process of succeeding, and the means to be used. But, first you need to know which factors determine success. I’ve been thinking of the advice which the most successful men have given us. They think that the factors which determine success are hard work, enthusiasm, honesty, persistency, and so forth.
These are valuable assets, but they are not the determining factors.
“Knowledge, for instance, is a valuable asset, but it does not determine success, for there are thousands of men of knowledge who fail… Being industrious is a valuable asset, but not a determining factor for thousands of industrious workers fail to become successful men. We must discover the determining factors first. Then, we’ll know the factors which will always insure success, which will always make success certain.”
The above conversation took place in August, 1915.
The young man was well known to me. He was earnest, faithful, a good worker, intelligent, ambitious, but he was not succeeding.
He was then twenty-one years old, and was earning twenty-five dollars a week. Four years later he was earning $10,000 a YEAR! (At least 2o times more in 2009.)
How did he do it?
The content of this book was first worked out for him.
It tells you the factors he employed, the process he followed, and the means he used.
First, I collected and classified those factors which eminently successful men considered essential. These I gathered from talks with big men, from personal letters, from printed interviews, and from books.
Thus, I had before me the ideas of thirty-one of the big men of our country. Although their ideas differ, yet certain factors are listed by each of these men; and seventeen qualities are mentioned more than twenty times.
They are: health, good appearance, hard work, enthusiasm, industry, persistence, sincerity, earnestness, self-confidence, concentration, determination, honesty, good memory, self-control, tact, patience, and imagination.
These qualities are not determinants of success. They do not guarantee success. Of course, they are important. They are valuable assets, but not determining factors.
For instance, a man must “work hard” to succeed, but “hard work” does not always bring success.
- Health: I know a man in perfect physical health; he has strong muscles and the strength of two ordinary men; his complexion is clean; his skin is ruddy; his eyes are clear. Yet, he is a failure his wife supports him. I know another man, who has been in poor health for twenty years. He is an eminently successful man. Health is a valuable asset, but it is not a determining factor of success.
- Good Appearance: I know a man with the bearing of a Royal Prince splendid shoulders, pleasing manners, and attractive smile. He looks you directly in the eye. He resides at Sing Sing.
- Enthusiasm, Industry, Persistence, Sincerity, Self-Confidence: I know a man who spent a year trying to collect money to publish certain literature to be distributed among the boys in the trenches. He wished to convince the soldiers that they should worship the Lord on Saturday instead of Sunday. He was enthusiastic, persistent, sincere, earnest, and self-confident. He was not a success.
- Concentration, Determination, Honesty: There is a certain man who concentrates so intently on his work that he often forgets to eat and sleep; he’s determined to win, and he is absolutely honest. He has been working seven years to invent a shirt which will not wear out, and which need not be washed. His honesty, concentration, and determination have not made him successful. He is in an asylum in Pennsylvania.
- Memory, Self-Control, Tact, Patience: I know a man who remembers the names of hundreds of people; he never confuses one with another. He has self-control, tact, and infinite patience. He has not succeeded greatly. He is the footman who opens the doors of the limousines of the women who shop at a certain department store.
- Imagination: I know of a girl, who for ten years ran a machine in a shoe factory. When I once questioned her of what she thought each day during her work, she replied, ” Oh, I just start the machine a-goin’ and then I imagine I’m one of them duchesses I read about in the novels.”
Since many character factors are helpful assets, but not the determining factors, what are the personal factors which make success certain?
To succeed greatly, you must Read the rest of the article…