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The awful truth about self-help

January 2nd, 2014 by Bob Bly

Self-help gurus and motivational speakers love to tell us that
whatever we want, we can do, have, or become.

Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe,
it can achieve.”

Earl Nightingale: “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind
and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a

The problem with this is: it’s often not true.


** Unless you have a high IQ, you can’t become an

** Unless you are athletic, you won’t get drafted by the

** Unless you can sing, you probably won’t win American Idol and
get a record deal.

** Unless you’re strong and can fight, you probably can’t KO
Lennox Lewis.

What many positive thinkers ignore is that it takes more than
just positive thoughts to achieve a goal.

And here’s what it does take to do or become what you desire:

>> First, you need the equipment: the aptitude, affinity, and
knack for a particular field or profession.

Example: I am 56, short, dumpy, and nonathletic. I would like to
be the Giants quarterback. But no matter what I think, it isn’t
going to happen.

But I do have an affinity for teaching. So I have routinely been
paid thousands of dollars a day to give training classes and

>> Second, you need desire.

This is especially true in fields like acting, music, and sports
where competition for a limited number of opportunities is
incredibly fierce.

Unless you have a burning desire for the goal, you won’t stick
with it and make the effort it takes to get there.

>> Third, you must be persistent.

The old adage: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Winston Churchill: “Never give up.”

In my observation, most people who want to pursue an
accomplishment or achievement give up way too early.

>> Fourth, talent.

You should have some natural talent or, if not, enormous
enthusiasm for the field in which you want to make your mark.

If you are not naturally talented, you can develop many of the
skills you need (e.g. web site design) through practice and

>> Fifth, skill.

In today’s competitive world, it’s tough to make a go of things
if you are poor or mediocre in your profession.

To increase the odds of success in your favor, you must get
really good at what you do. The key is: practice.

Mark Ford says you can get good at just about anything by doing
it for a thousand hours … and become a master when you have done
it ten thousand hours.

>> Sixth, training.

Your training may be on the job or in the classroom. It could be
night school, seminars, in-house courses offered by your
company, or college.

But you must acquire the basic knowledge practitioners in your
field are expected to have.

As a copywriter since 1979, I knew how to write.

But when SEO become a discipline some years ago, I took an
expensive Direct Marketing Association self-study course to
learn it.

>> Seventh, you need connections.

Very few people realize their dreams entirely on their own.

Cultivating a network of colleagues, specialists, and potential
clients or employers can give you an enviable shortcut to your


This entry was posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 2:56 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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