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Life’s Number One Success Principle

Jul 15, 2009

by Tim


— The truth can disappoint many success-seekers —

Life's Number One Success Principle

A friend just sold her single-person company for a multimillion dollar sum, less than three years after founding it.

Many onlookers would be astounded by this unannounced transaction (only insiders or those who scour SEC filings would know about it).

“It’s just a Web site,” they might say.

Just a Web site. Yet everything more.

For behind the Web site lies 20 years of striving in the online world, from the forums of CompuServe to the mailing lists of the early 90s to today’s Web sites, blogs, and social networking media.

Nor would surprised onlookers know about the 70 hour + workweeks, the marathon weekends, the vacations not taken, the sacrifices made during the lean years, until, finally — and in a most natural way — her efforts were recognized and rewarded by a skyrocketing user base.

Popular perception holds that stunning success, especially in the online world, takes place overnight and involves as much luck as skill.

And, in fact, many of those who experience such success modestly attribute it to “luck.”

But what it really involves is, as my old man used to say, “elbow grease.” Hard work, sustained over many years.

Herein lies life’s number one success principle.

Are you ready for it?

Are you sure?

Because the truth is a disappointment to many success-seekers.

Okay, here it is:

Effort determines results. Average effort produces average results. Good effort produces good results. Extraordinary effort produces extraordinary results.

That’s it.skyrockets

I can almost hear you groaning. “C’mon, Clark, tell me something I didn’t know.”

But do you really know it? I didn’t. Not really. For years.

But my wise wife casually let this slip one day, explaining some minor success on my part: “Average effort produces average results. Extraordinary effort produces extraordinary results.”

Drafting these words on Independence Day 2009 amid the boom of fireworks, I recall how her words jolted me like a string of bursting firecrackers.

Effort determines results. How could it be otherwise?

You may also enjoy:

A Message to Those Aspiring to Blend Meaning and Money

Steve Martin Tells the Story Before the Glory

Three Lessons My Students Taught Me

2 Comments to Life’s Number One Success Principle

On Jul 16, 2009, Pace commented:

Hear, hear!

One thing I’d like to add is that effort isn’t just elbow grease. It’s also mental grease. Eww. I’m sorry I just said that.

What I mean is that working smarter is just as important as working harder. All the elbow grease in the world won’t get you anywhere if you’re greasing the wrong wheels.

On Jul 16, 2009, by Tim commented:

S’OK. Better than… all right, let’s stop right there.

Point well taken. As they say, got to make sure your ladder’s leaning against the right wall before you start climbing.

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