Some of the smartest people I know continuously struggle to get ahead because they forget to address a few simple truths that collectively govern our potential to make progress. So here’s a quick reminder:
#1 – Education and intelligence accomplish nothing without action.
It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in Quantum Physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world progress without taking action. There’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it. Knowledge and intelligence are both useless without action. It’s as simple as that. For some practical guidance on taking action, I highly recommend The Now Habit.
#2 – Happiness and success are two different things.
I know an extremely savvy businesswoman who made almost a million dollars online last year. Every entrepreneur I know considers her to be wildly successful. But guess what? A few days ago, out of the blue, she told me that she’s depressed. Why? “I’m burnt out and lonely. I just haven’t taken enough time for myself lately,” she said. “Wow!” I thought. “One of the most successful people I know isn’t happy.”
I also know a surfer who surfs almost all day, every day on the beach in front of our condo complex in San Diego. He’s one of the most lighthearted, optimistic guys I’ve ever met – always smiling from ear to ear. But he sleeps in a van he co-owns with another surfer and they both frequently panhandle tourists for money. So while I can’t deny that this man seems happy, I wouldn’t classify his life as a success story.
“What will make me happy?” and “What will make me successful?” are two of the most important questions you can ask yourself. But they are two different questions.
#3 – Everyone runs their own business.
No matter how you make a living or who you think you work for, you only work for one person, yourself. The big question is: What are you selling, and to whom? Even when you have a full-time, salaried, ‘Corporate America’ position, you are still running your own business. You are selling one unit of your existence (an hour of your life) at a set price (the associated fraction of your salary) to a customer (your employer).