What's the Difference between the Unsuccessful and the Super Successful? (besides better clothes)

Matt Moore in Australia writes, “You’ve spent a lot of time hanging out with successful people. Did you ever look for unsuccessful people who followed your 8 traits and did not become Bill Gates, etc.?”

Good question, Matt. In addition to spending a lot of time hanging out with successful people, I also interviewed some unsuccessful people, in order to get a point of comparison. Some were homeless men and women and others were people I met who had not achieved success, no matter how you measure it. Their responses indicated they didn’t follow any of the 8 success principles. They were doing jobs they didn’t like; they didn’t work hard, had no focus, sat back in their comfort zones instead of pushing themselves, and didn’t try to improve. They were only out to help themselves rather than serve others, and they tended to give up rather than persist. So, there was a high correlation between not doing the 8 Traits and not achieving success.

On the other hand, with the successful people I interviewed there was a high correlation between following the 8 principles and achieving success. Did all the people who followed those principles reach Bill Gates kind of success? No, everything is a matter of degrees, including success. In any endeavor, we can achieve: 1. Small success. 2. Moderate success. 3. Big success. 4. Super success. And be careful not to look down on those who achieve small or moderate success. Big success is built on a foundation of small successes and we need to pass through 1 and 2 before we reach 3 or 4. As Bill Gates says, “We took one step at a time and made the software better and better.”

So, if successful people follow the 8 Traits, what differentiates the ones who achieve super success from those who achieve moderate success? Again, it’s a question of degree. The Gates and Oprahs of the world not only do the 8 Traits, they do them to a greater degree than other people. They love what they do more than most people. They work more hours (even after he was a multimillionaire, Bill Gates worked most nights until 10pm and only took 2 weeks off in 7 years). The super successful focus more, push themselves more, come up with more ideas, improve more, serve others more, and persist more. They do the 8 to a greater degree, and that correlates to a greater degree of success. By the way, this applies to success in any endeavor, from the mother who succeeds big time at creating a family, to the CEO who succeeds big time at creating a company.

You may think, “I’m doing all those 8 things, so how come I’m not super successful?” Well, how long have you been at it? Remember, there’s no overnight success. We need to apply the 8 principles and PERSIST for a long time before achieving any success, let alone BIG success. As EDS founder H. Ross Perot once said, “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” So, if you’re doing everything right, but haven’t succeeded yet, hang in there and persist.

One last point: Forget about achieving “BIG” success, or comparing yourself to the Gates and Oprahs of the world. It just drains energy away from doing the 8 things that really will get you there. Legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “Don’t compare yourself to somebody else, especially materially. If I’m worrying about the other guy and what he’s doing, and what he’s making, about all the attention he’s getting, I’m not going to be able to do what I’m capable of doing.” So keep your head down, focus on doing the 8 Traits, and build a trail of small achievements. That’s the path to big success.