The Most Fundamental and Overlooked Law of Success

by | May 26, 2019 | Boundaries, Self-respect, Values

Life has some unfortunate truths that we can’t sidestep. There are certain laws about success that are virtually impossible to get around. Life has winning strategies and it has losing strategies and if you want to win and if you want success you can do yourself a big massive favor by seeking the winning strategies and adopting them while leaving the losing ones behind. Too many people get hung up on whether not those strategies line up with certain ideals, what has been etched into their minds since they were children or whatever when the bottom line, in my opinion, is does it get you closer to your goals and does it cause direct harm to others. If it gets you closer to your goals and doesn’t cause harm to others then why stay committed to something? Let go of the stuff holding you back.

I guess there are those people that win the literal and proverbial lottery in life but the vast majority of us are left to hit the bricks and spear the woolly mammoth. Success isn’t easy and you can’t have both easiness and success in your life and if you don’t want to do anything that is difficult then there’s an important question to be asked. How badly do you want success? Whatever form that comes in, how bad do you want it? Do you want to be in good shape? Successful with women? Filthy rich? How bad do you want it? Do you want life to be easy or do you want success? You can’t have both. It boils down to are you interested or are you committed? “If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”

Winning Strategies for Life

There’s a law of success that people have to learn if they want to create this in their life. I’ve been handing this one off to teenagers for the last fifteen or so years. Teens want everything in life and they try to take the short cuts because they believe that there is value in cutting corners and doing what is easy instead of doing what is effective. Those that never outgrow this mindset may find themselves wasting their lives and die in a state of regret. They rarely see their best lives and best selves develop to the fullest.

So here’s the law: All of us, literally all of us, have to do things that we don’t want to do in order to get the things that we want. Teenagers struggle with this principle and the sometimes never grow out of it. We all have to do things that we don’t want to do in order to get what we want; this is just the way of things. The more you fight this, the more you’re going to chase success away from you. The bigger you dream, the more you have to realize that the path may require you to do some stuff that you really don’t want to do. I have seen hundreds of people, young and old, that find ways to get what they want through manipulative methods and what they fail to realize is that this works against them in the long run. They end up getting far less in the long run even though they may have gotten large gains up front. Let me give an example.

Recently I had a 15-year-old boy show up for therapy. I’ve known this kid for awhile. He gets what he wants usually through pushing limits, wearing people down, manipulation and taking more than he’s given. When he showed up I offered him an open bag of candy and instead of taking one or two, he took an entire handful. I immediately decided that he was probably not going to get any more candy in the future but it was a great opportunity to talk to him about one of the losing strategies that he actively uses. I told him I didn’t intend on ever offering him candy again and that if he would just take what he was offered and be grateful, he’d be more likely to get more of what he wants in the weeks and months to come. The same is true for all of us, we either learn it or we don’t.

Just today, as I was working, I was watching a video by one of my favorite badasses, Jocko Willink. If you’re not familiar with Jocko, he’s a former navy seal and former seal commander. In this video he was talking about when he was first brought into the elite seal teams, he was assigned to clean the toilets. Rather than gripe and complain, he had a good attitude and made them as clean as he could. This showed that he was willing to do anything and it opened doors for him in the right places that enabled him to enjoy large successes.

The Laws of Sacrifice

Life has some important laws of sacrifice. The first law of sacrifice is that you have to give something up before getting something of value in return and this especially works because people just don’t appreciate the things that they didn’t make a sacrifice to get. When people get something for free, they just don’t see it as something valuable or they don’t see it as valuable as they would if they had made a sacrifice to get it. If you’ve ever worked hard for your money, saved it and then purchased something expensive, you’re going to take much better care of it than if your grandmother gave it to you for your birthday. Give a kid an iPhone 7 and they will complain that it’s not an iPhone X. But when that same kid buys that 7 with their own money, it’s an entirely different story.

The second law of sacrifice is that if you give things to the world, the world gives things back. We need to be discerning about where to give things away but the world is more likely to reward us if we make some personal sacrifices.

Even if it seems pointless, do it anyways

Some of the things that we have to do in life seem pointless and we just have to do them anyways. Going to school can fall into that category. Young people tell me that public school is pointless and useless but it can actually help us develop a healthy sense of exactly what I’m talking about. Doing a whole bunch of tedious shit that we don’t want to do in order to get the things that we want, like homework. The glamour of running a business comes with a whole heap of stuff that we don’t want to do but is necessary. Even after you drop your hot rap album, you’re still going to have to do a whole bunch of stuff that you don’t want to do and I guarantee that if you ask any successful person, they will tell you the same thing. There are tedious and stupid things that they have to do and they just do it.

The more you get used to doing seemingly stupid and tedious things, the easier it will be to find success. The real trick here is to focus on the reward and what life looks like without it. All the crappy little tasks along the way are just temporary obstacles that have to be dealt with.

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