You may remember the movie, book and audio “The Secret” from just a few years ago. A lot of people have spent a significant amount of time (and money) learning more about “The Secret” and how to make it a part of their lives. I’ve read the book(s), listened to more audio files than can be easily counted and seen the movie. What follows is my perspective based on being a “serial entrepreneur”, life coach, hypnotist and leader with decades of experience in many areas. Stated briefly: There is no secret!
When I say there is no secret, I don’t mean there aren’t some things some people don’t know about achieving success. What I mean is, there hasn’t been a centuries long conspiracy to keep the information about how to succeed away from people like you and me. The premise of “The Secret”, that through the ages those who have achieved success have done so using methods they have kept carefully hidden from the masses, is silly. It smacks of the same sort of conspiracy thinking often demonstrated by those at the extreme ends of the political spectrum. If we take a moment to think about it, the absurdity of the idea becomes pretty clear. Consider, for a moment, the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration. This was a real conspiracy in which a handful of people with power and influence were unable to keep the nature of the Watergate break-in quiet. There have been thousands (or more) of successful people throughout the years. Those who suggest there has been collusion or some conspiracy would have us believe that all those people kept such an enormous secret for thousands of years, when the members of Nixon’s administration couldn’t keep a secret for a relatively few months.
To say it again, there is no secret! If that’s the case, why has “The Secret” been so successful? There are a few simple reasons. They are:
Many people who have not achieved the success they want really want to know why.
If the road to success is a carefully guarded secret, then we bear less responsibility if we fail to achieve it. After all, we don’t usually hold people responsible for what they don’t (and couldn’t) know.
It offers an easy and low stress way of seeking and achieving success.
The desire to know why we aren’t successful makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, if we don’t know why things are the way they are, it’s going to be difficult to make real changes. This desire to know is not only normal, it’s also helpful. It motivates us to learn and do more and different things. All of us have holes in our knowledge, regardless of how successful we’ve been so far. Seeking and acquiring that knowledge is essential if we’re going to become more successful than we are now.
The second reason, while pretty normal, is less than helpful. It lets us hide behind our subconsciously driven tendency to seek a place or condition where things will never change. “I haven’t succeeded yet because the secret to success has been kept hidden from me for all these years” is relatively comfortable. It might be unpleasant to think that I’ve been deceived, but the discomfort of having to face up to my own shortcomings is even more unpleasant. Unfortunately, it’s easy and convenient to blame others, but it doesn’t lead to success. Successful people always accept complete responsibility for being wherever they are. They understand that it has been their choices, and nothing else, that has made their lives the way they are. The most important thing to remember about this, is that they started this habit of accepting responsibility before they achieved the appearance of success.
The third reason is also less than helpful. It appeals to us by telling us that we can become successful without working hard and without stress. Both of these are lies. Success always requires hard work. That’s just the way life is. Remember, though, you’re going to go through your life working hard, anyway. Why not do the hard work that can lead to achieving what you want? Just as success requires work, life involves stress. In fact, one person put it this way: “The absence of stress is death.” We all need to know how to manage stress, but stress is also the thing that will motivate us to get started and to keep moving toward our goals.
There are some things many people don’t know about achieving success. Fortunately, access to that knowledge is easy to obtain. If you don’t have the knowledge and want it, you could get a couple of ways. You can get it for free by spending time on the internet and in the public library researching success. It will take longer that way, but you’ll never spend a dime. If you want the information faster you can spend time with people who have what you want and learn how they got it. This probably won’t cost you very much and if you find people able and willing to teach, it can go much faster than doing library and internet research. Finally, you could hire one or more coaches to specifically focus on what you need to learn and do to become successful. While this one is in some ways the fastest, it also has the biggest initial cost (though research says the results can more than pay for the services of a coach). Or, you could do like many and use some combination of the three. This probably gives the best results.
The “secret” to success is really simple. If you spend time with coaches and successful people (hopefully your coach is experiencing success, too) you’ll find they tend to have some common views of success:
It’s more about who you become than what you get
You should spend more time working on yourself than on anything else
It’s not complicated
It’s a matter of doing just a few simple things over and over
Success is not found in your comfort zone
While your thoughts and attitudes are very important, if they don’t lead to action they will not produce success.
If you want to be successful, you can be. You can’t think or feel your way to success. You can gain the knowledge and skills you need to become successful. You can take the actions necessary to achieve what you want.