Monday, January 26, 2015

What is the Formula for Attaining Success?



In “Ordinary Average Guy”, Joe Walsh sang how he picks up dog poop, takes out the garbage, and is boring.  Wait-a-minute, isn’t this the same guy that in “Life’s Been Good” sang about his gold records on the wall, his Maserati going 185 and fame and fortune?  Joe Walsh –   That does not make sense, or, does it?  There is a saying that successful people are really only ordinary people that do extraordinary things.  At the end of “Life’s Been Good,” he does talk about how being lazy takes up all his time.  For some reason, I think that we have the perception that highly successful people are different from us.  Truth is, to use the cliché; they still have to put on their pants one leg at a time.  Is it possible that I can derive a formula for success to help all of us?  Ordinary, average (lazy man) + something extraordinary (playing guitar and writing good songs) + a little bit of luck (being in the right place at the right time) = SUCCESS!
an ordinary average guy?!?

In March 2014, CNN money reported that in the United States there were 9.63 million millionaires in 2013.  In January 2014, CNBC listed how many millionaires each state had living in them.  New Jersey, the state where I live, ranked second with 242,647.   I am not one of them…yet. There have been many books written over the past decade that talk about average citizens that quietly save their money (not the majority) that in some cases have been diligent enough to become millionaires.  They are the average, ordinary person that could potentially live next door to you, not living the celebrity life styles that we grew up watching that were showcased in Robin Leach’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, or anyone in today’s reality TV shows that have celebrities or wealthy housewives in them. 

Success can be measured in many ways, yet money seems to be the easiest scorecard to read.  Keep in mind, many of the financially independent people in this country came from humble beginnings, and maintain their same values.  For example, I had the pleasure, for a short time, of having a business experience where I worked alongside some millionaires.  These people were not flashy, did not engage in self-promotion, and were not celebrities, but had done some extraordinary things that led to their financial successes.  One of them found his way to fortune as a young man when he had no experience, and was working at a series of low paying jobs while his debt increased.   The interesting thing is that if he were sitting next to you today, you might mistake him for nobody special, yet he is very wealthy and has helped to make many people financially independent (defined as having enough passive income to cover all of one’s expenses).  


Napoleon Hill said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”  One successful person, I know, had to make a choice once regarding attending a family wedding or a key event that would help in the pursuit of his goals.  He sacrificed going to the wedding.    Most of us will take on a little extra effort, but most of us would not be willing to sacrifice something of importance even if the results would put us in a better place.  Maybe we need to update our formula and add in a function, the function of doing what it takes = Putting in extra effort + Making personal sacrifices.  So the formula now becomes:  Ordinary, average + something extraordinary + a little bit of luck + f(Doing what it takes) = SUCCESS!

While in many ways, I would like the successes of these people (especially financially) and the others that I admire for their successes, however, up to this point I have not been willing to make the sacrifices to their levels.  It is, after all, all about the choices that we make. While I might not have financial freedom at this point in my life, I do have success relating to raising my family, where we have provided a positive, nurturing environment and instilled good values in our children.  SUCCESS = something extraordinary (Family Focus) + a little bit of luck (meeting Debbie, healthy kids) + f(Doing what it takes…to provide for my family) and, of course, being just an ordinary, average guy.