A Simple Formula for Success

There are many paths to success and you are probably following one now. But when working alone, there is always the chance of overlooking a valuable tip, tool, or technique. So, go through this article and see whether there is something else you can add to your success kit.

Let’s start at the beginning; what is the simple formula for success? It is simply this: (1) The willingness to cheerfully make sacrifices (2) without whining or (3) lying to ourselves. Let’s consider the three components of the formula separately.

1. The Willingness to Cheerfully Make Sacrifices

Imagine cavemen sitting in comfort before a fire in a communal cave being urged by their mates to go hunting for food on a cold, snowy, winter day. They are being called on to make a sacrifice. They are being asked to give up the comfort of their cave temporarily for greater rewards. Of course, there is initial resistance. But by accepting the task, they discover their rewards far outweigh the comfort they temporarily set aside. For they will come to experience the joy of victory over the foul weather, the exhilaration that follows a successful hunt, the praise of their mates and offspring, the sharpening of their survival skills, the camaraderie of working as a team, and the intense pleasure of returning to the cave.

Life has changed in many ways since the cave dwellers. Yet, in many ways it remains the same. After all, we are bound by an immutable law of the universe that states all achievements require sacrifices. Those who refuse to make sacrifices refuse to grow. They refuse to succeed. They refuse to discover the joy of accomplishment. They refuse to establish meaning and purpose in their lives. And when they do so, they pay a heavy price. For the pain of future failure will be far greater than any discomfort a sacrifice would have required. Don’t join the ranks of those who have yet to learn that it’s not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us successful.

We are social creatures. We depend on one another. We cannot achieve our goals without the help of others. Yet, others have their own agendas, goals, and interests. So, how can we work together without compromising? To succeed, we need to learn that we have to let go of one thing to gain another. We have to understand that sacrifice, or doing what we don’t want to get what we do want is inexorably enmeshed in life. The extent to which we are willing to sacrifice controls the extent to which we will be successful. Or, as James Allen wrote, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”

Most of us realize this, but before we can make a sacrifice, we have to overcome the resistance to doing so. How can we make our task easier? How can we reduce the sting? The greatest favor we can do for ourselves is change our perspective. That is, change the way we look at things. The problem is the word sacrifice has a negative nuance. It implies making an effort, doing what we don’t want to, and undergoing pain. Why not put a positive spin on it. Why not focus on the beautiful things suggested by the word?

For example, Ralph Waldo Emerson had this to say, “Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles grow.” So, instead of calling something a sacrifice, why don’t we call it a miracle? Think about it for a moment. We are the only animals that can willingly do what we don’t want to do. That is a miraculous power. Sacrifice is the miracle that makes great things possible.

The word SACRIFICE is made up of SACRI and FICIO, which means to make holy. So, when we make sacrifices, we are sanctifying our actions, for whenever we raise ourselves to a higher level, we are bringing ourselves closer to our Creator. Rather than looking at sacrifice as something negative, look at it as a miracle, a holy act, a heroic act, a joyous, creative act, the means to our goal, an investment in the future, and a step to greatness. Look at it as a commitment and determination to succeed. When we look at it in these ways, it becomes much more palatable. When seen in this light, we realize that sacrifice is not about loss but about gain.

Another way of looking at sacrifice is as a source of happiness. And the greater the struggle that sacrifice entails, the greater the happiness that follows. Consider the words of the American Women’s Suffrage Leader, Olympia Brown, who said, “He who never sacrificed a present to a future good or a personal to a general one can speak of happiness only as the blind do of colors.” Yes, those who refuse to let go of their present, transient comfort or pleasure are blind, and don’t know happiness. Their refusal to sacrifice defeats the very purpose of their being, for we are here to experience endless growth, joy, and freedom, all of which are realized by acts of sacrifice.

Yet another way to look at sacrifice is as service. Personal sacrifice for our own improvement is a holy act, but sacrificing for others, for their enrichment, as a parent does for a child, is the holiest of acts. Such sacrifices breed loyalty from those we serve and crown us with abundant blessings. To the enlightened soul, serving others isn’t seen as a sacrifice. Rather, it is viewed as joyful giving.

Those who reject sacrifices, remain enslaved by their own weaknesses. American Author Bruce Barton wrote, “What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage.” It is bizarre, isn’t it, that some young men and women are willing to make the supreme sacrifice for their country, yet hesitate to sacrifice small things for their own welfare and happiness.

Everyone would like to achieve great things, but the ordinary person sees only the sacrifices that must be made and gives up the struggle. The rash person sees just the prize and jumps into the fray without enough preparation and loses the fight. But the wise see both the difficulties, which they carefully overcome, and the prize, which they win. Once you know what needs to be done, don’t delay, as many prizes have been lost not because of the inability to act, but the failure to act quickly enough.

Willingness to sacrifice is a sign of a strong character and is to be encouraged. A German saying makes this same point, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, everything is lost.” While we can rightfully be proud of our many accomplishments because of the sacrifices we have made, let’s not forget the sacrifices made for us by others. So, let our achievements be marked by a feeling of gratitude and not one of smugness.

Sometimes, despite the sacrifices we make, we do not reach our goal. If we are stuck in a quagmire, making no progress, it may be time to change direction. After all, persistently pursuing something that was not meant to be merely stands in the way of going after another, even more valuable dream. Besides, sometimes the best win is to lose. How many times have your past ‘failures’ turned out to be blessings? It has happened in the past and will continue to happen. So be prepared for it and remain upbeat, changing course whenever necessary. And when you do ‘fail,’ use the accompanying feelings of disappointment and pain to empathize with others and offer them encouragement. By approaching life with open eyes and an open mind and heart, we can change ‘negative’ events into positive occurrences. Don’t think ‘sacrifice;’ think joy, growth, and freedom.

2. Making Sacrifices without Whining

The modern plague is one that kills the spirit, not one that destroys the body. It is experienced by millions, and the symptoms are feelings of fear, self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, helplessness, and resignation. The victims of this ailment lack self-confidence and are filled with self-doubt. One such person lives in England and is just 16 years old. He writes:

“I am really feeling down and feel like I am going to fail in life. I am studying media in college, but I have poor grades. I want to be happy and don’t want people to think that I am wallowing in self-pity. I want to change my life. Do you have any suggestions?”

I’ll start by commenting on additional information he has provided, make some general comments, and suggest some steps to take.

Although not his real name, I’ll call our reader “Charlie.” He is studying media, yet he uses his home computer mainly for chatting. No wonder he has poor grades. Why would he neglect his studies and waste time chatting on the Internet? It is not because he is lazy, but because a subconscious part of him is trying to protect him. You see, if Charlie is afraid of failing, or if he believes studying is very hard, failure or study would result in pain. And it is this pain that his subconscious is trying to protect him from. After all, if he doesn’t try, he won’t experience the pain of failure.

But there is no such thing as failure; there are only learning experiences. Charlie may or may not be suited to media, and the only way to find out whether he is or not, is by trying. If he continues to neglect his studies, he will fail the course without knowing if he could have passed. What Charlie doesn’t realize is he doesn’t have to pass, all he has to do is try to pass. If he tries his best and fails, he will have learned something. He will have learned that media is not for him and he should try something else. Eventually, he will discover what he is suited for and become a great success.

My first suggestion to Charlie is to stop using the computer for chatting and start using it as a powerful tool to help you practice and develop your media skills. True, if you don’t study hard, you won’t experience the pain of tough work, but in its place, you will experience the bitter pain of regret.

He spends most of the time at home at the computer in his room, and there is little communication with the rest of the family. Charlie says, “My family doesn’t really come up and see how I am doing.” But Charlie, your family doesn’t know you are chatting on the Internet; they think you are studying and they don’t want to disturb you. When you feel you need a break and a few moments with your family, leave your room and see how they are doing.

Men and women in their 30’s and 40’s realize that when problems erupt they’ll have to struggle for a while, but it all will pass. And in the long run, the worst problem will prove to be the greatest blessing. But 16-year-old Charlie lacks the experience, so not surprisingly he finds it difficult to have faith in the encouraging words of others. To help Charlie see the big picture, I’d like to share a couple of facts.

Like Charlie, another British boy was doing poorly in school. He quit school at age 16 and went into business for himself. He later founded a very successful record company, 360 other companies, and an airline. Today he is worth approximately 4.8 billion dollars. His name? Richard Branson (Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson).

Charlie may be too young to know the great American actor, writer, director, and producer, Michael Landon. But he had a bed-wetting problem until age 14, and his mother would hang up the soiled sheets on her clothesline for everyone to see. Imagine how he felt. Nevertheless, he went on to achieve fame and success. Yes, many of the greatest names in business, entertainment, sports and the arts all started out with problems like Charlie. I, too, Charlie, was doing poorly in school when I was your age because I was raised by immigrant foster parents who had a sixth grade education. So, you see, the problems you now have are no indication of what your future will be like. Everyone has to start where they are at the time and this includes Charlie.

Steps to Take

1.Learn the difference between “I  can’t” and “I won’t” or “I choose not to.” Don’t make the mistake of saying to yourself you can’t study when you really mean you don’t feel like studying. We all have the power to do what is important even though we don’t feel like doing it. Some things, Charlie, are more important than avoiding discomfort. Things like your happiness and success. You may have to work hard for them, but aren’t they worth it? Don’t you deserve better?

2.When you’re feeling in the dumps, don’t use that as an excuse to stop working. As another British man said “Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.” (Edmund Burke) Hardly anyone had more reason to feel depressed than Helen Keller. Yet, this is what she had to say, “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”

Also, make every effort to get over a bad mood as quickly as possible, not only for your own good, but for the good of others. For we have no more right to spread misery and rob others of happiness than we have to enter their homes and steal their possessions. On the contrary, we are obligated to spread joy because the world is in great need of it.

3.Don’t get trapped in defeatist thinking. Just because something goes wrong, don’t believe the problem will continue indefinitely, affect all areas of your life, and be your fault. It is precisely this kind of thinking that leads to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair. As you grow in experience, Charlie, you will realize problems are temporary setbacks with limited impact and due to external causes. So be patient; be hopeful, and don’t blame yourself. In a word, be positive.

4.Self-pity is a coping mechanism. It is like stepping into a sauna in that it provides temporary relief. But it is not temporary relief but a permanent solution that you need. To find it, seek strength, not comfort. Along these lines, here is what Dr. Megan Reik had to say, “There are few human emotions as warm, comforting, and enveloping as self-pity. And nothing is more corrosive and destructive. There is only one answer; turn away from it and move on.”

You can never grow successful by brooding over what troubles you. Rather, focus on what you wish to become and work towards it. Or, in the words of Harry E. Fosdick “Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one’s best.”

5.Charlie is troubled by his shyness and lack of confidence, but sometimes it is these very qualities that drive us to excel in special areas. In other words, we compensate for our weaknesses by excelling in other areas. For example, I was like Charlie, shy and lacking in confidence, so at age 14, I studied magic and hypnosis, which resulted in large crowds whenever I performed. A great many famous entertainers became super stars not because of their confidence, but because of the lack of it! Charlie, too, can turn his ‘weaknesses’ into strength by using them to goad him on to excel in some other area. Charlie can make his problem a blessing in disguise.

6.We cannot think of two things at the same time. Neither can we experience two feelings at the same time. Why not use these principles to our advantage. For example, if we are frustrated, why not focus on what we have rather than what we lack? Each moment that we’re grateful for what we have is a moment that we are not complaining and are not frustrated. Use idle time wisely, rather than brooding over your worries, you can divert your attention from the negative and get closer to a solution by reading a helpful book. No self-confidence? Why not read a book on self-confidence or self-esteem? It will remove your attention from your problems and help you solve one of them. Repeat this for each problem and you will find you won’t have time to worry and your life will improve.

7.To beat off the battle of the blues, start each day planning how you can brighten the lives of others. Thinking of others removes the attention from yourself and your problems. And because it is impossible to help others without helping yourself, you will find that as you help others solve their problems, you will be solving your own as well.

8.Accept responsibility for your success and happiness. You are the only person that can abandon you. Don’t do it; come to your aid and fight for your success. Don’t wait for someone to solve your problems for you because there are none that can. You are the only person that can help yourself. Also, there are no magic bullets, no shortcuts, no easy way out. You have to do the work yourself. And as you do so, you will grow increasingly proud of yourself and ever more confident.

9.Speak the language of success, not failure. Let your mantra be, “Yes, I can.” It is impossible to fail if you keep trying. Sure, you may experience temporary setbacks and travel down some side streets and detours, but as long as you keep your eyes fixed on the goal and keep trying, you will eventually reach it. So, don’t give up.

10.Stop worrying about what others think of you. Putting all of your attention on yourself is like driving with the headlights beaming on you instead of the road. You will be blinded by the light, unable to see the opportunities and possibilities, and you won’t be able to see where you are and where you are heading. You are in the driver’s seat; don’t allow others to cause you to lose faith in yourself. Make your own roadmap to success and follow it.

11.Welcome the challenges you face for they offer an opportunity to take heroic action. Don’t be a scaredy-cat or fraidy-cat. Take chances. Train yourself to risk failure and rejection rather than avoid them. You see, if you try, you may be unsuccessful, but if you don’t try, you will be.

12.Don’t be concerned if you or your ideas are rejected. Consider the source. What are the qualifications of those judging you? And if you are rejected, there isn’t one possible explanation, but countless possible explanations. So, don’t jump to conclusions. Learn how to handle rejection, rather than avoid it. Also, don’t set yourself up by having overly high expectations. If you expect too much, you’re bound to be disappointed. Reasonable expectations are more likely to lead to success. Here are two more points: if we act inferior, people will treat us that way, and since you have a right to reject others, grant them the same right to reject you.

13.Here’s a way to put some of the time you are alone in your room to good use. Practice this mental exercise. Relax, close your eyes, and imagine that there are two people in the room. You and a 3, 4, or 5-year-old boy. The boy is actually you as a child. Note how lovable the child is. Befriend him. Play with him in your imagination. Love him. Would you ever say to him, “You are stupid. You will never succeed. You are lazy. You are worthless. You are a failure. You have no guts.”? Of course not. But you and that little boy are the same person. Why do you say these things to yourself? Embrace that little boy and promise him you will watch over him and never say anything bad to him again.

14.Here is another powerful mental exercise. You should practice it at least three times a day. It only takes three minutes to perform and it is designed to dissolve your problems and bring peace into your life. To perform this exercise, just tell yourself you are going to take a three minute mini vacation from your problems. That is, for three minutes you will not think, worry, or brood over your troubles. Your three minute vacation consists of the following three steps:

a)Spend the first of the three minutes thinking of something pleasant. Perhaps you recently met with a close friend or will meet with one soon. Pick any example you can think of and allow yourself to experience some pleasure. While you are trying to do this, some worries may suddenly enter your mind. If they do, just say to them, “I’m sorry, you’ll have wait a few minutes. You can return later, but I’m setting you aside for now as I am on a mini vacation.”

b)Almost all of the remaining two minutes will be spent here in the second and most important step. Now imagine what it would be like if all your problems were gone. How would you feel? Relieved? Elated? Joyous? Excited? For almost two minutes allow yourself to feel the way you would if all your problems were gone. If you harness the full power of your imagination, you will easily be able to do this step. As in the above step, if any negative thoughts arise and interrupt what you are trying to do, just set them aside and tell them to wait for a minute or so.

c)Now that you have felt just the way you would if your problems were gone, say “Thank you!” with gratitude in your heart. That’s it. That’s the third step. It just takes a second or two to perform.

Practice this simple exercise three or more times a day and you will experience peace and solve your problems. You don’t have to understand how it works to be successful. But for the curious, I’ll briefly explain. The language of our subconscious is images and feelings. By repeatedly doing this exercise, the feelings of victory over one’s problems reach the subconscious. Once it reaches there, the subconscious interprets them as a command.

That is, it is just as if you were speaking directly to the subconscious and saying, “This is how I want to feel.” Now that the subconscious knows how you want to feel, it will automatically work to bring it about, but before it can do so, it must eliminate your problems. It does this by changing your behavior. You will find yourself spontaneously doing things differently. Not because you planned it that way, but just because you feel like doing things differently. Your subconscious will be working in the background, guiding you. If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry about it. Just do the exercises and enjoy the benefits.

15.Although the goal should be to escape from the pit of self-pity, every now and then – especially after very trying circumstances – you mind and body may need a two or three day break to lick its wounds and feel sorry for itself. But the thing to remember is if you decide to give yourself a few days relief, first set a deadline. Tell yourself firmly that regardless how you feel, you’ll get back to what needs to be done in a few days. Richard Gordon Guindon couldn’t say it better, “You shouldn’t wallow in self-pity.  But it’s OK to put your feet in it and swish them around a little.”

16.Whenever you’re experiencing negative thoughts and feelings, don’t try to suppress them. Your feelings are your friends. Embrace them. Negative ones are a built-in alarm system. They’re just alerting you that you are doing something wrong and you need to make some changes. So, rather than trying to ignore negative feelings, heed their advice and ask yourself a series of questions whose answers will point to a way out of the morass of misery. Ask yourself questions such as, “What causes me to feel this way? What am I doing wrong? What am I neglecting to do? What shouldn’t I be doing? What small steps can I take now that will lead me to a bright future?

17.One thing in Charlie’s favor is he likes to participate in sports in his spare time. But, presently, he isn’t as active as he should be. Whether it’s a game of soccer, a workout in the gym, jogging, or merely a series of push-ups done in his room, Charlie needs more exercise to ward off the blues. Exercise will take his mind off his worries, improve his health, boost his confidence, and give him a natural high. Don’t just sit on your chair, but do some sit-ups to beat the blues, Charlie.

18. Also helpful is to do the opposite of what the cartoon character Charlie Brown said. Here is what he said, “This is my depressed stance. When you’re depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you’ll start to feel better. If you’re going to get any joy out of being depressed, you’ve got to stand like this.”

Well, as I conclude, Charlie, I would like you to understand that the feelings you are going through are natural and common, especially for someone your age. Not only do common people, such as you and I experience them in our youth, but a large number of super stars as well. The lesson, then, is not to be discouraged. Follow your instincts and do what you know needs to be done.

I can tell that Charlie is made of the right stuff and up to the task. But I’m not saying that the road to success will be swift or easy. After all, anything worthwhile never is. Just remember, Charlie, that inferiority is not what you are but a feeling that you have, and when you roll up your sleeves and work toward your goals, that feeling will change.

3. Making Sacrifices without Self-Deception

Why is it that we hesitate to deceive others, but think nothing of lying to ourselves? I’m afraid we all practice self-deceit and sometimes with grave consequences. The most common ploy we use is rationalization. That’s just a fancy way of saying we make excuses and blame our lack of success on circumstances beyond our control. We don’t like to admit we are the cause of our problems, so we invent reasons for our failures. Let me give you some examples of the lies we tell ourselves.

Did you ever notice in your discussions with others that they are wrong and you are right? Isn’t it odd that you are always right and never wrong? How can that be? This lie prevents us from learning from others. Why do we feel threatened by different opinions and find it painful to admit we may be wrong?

Well, we often get stuck in “either-or” thinking. That is, either Tom is right or I am right. Either Mary is clever or I am. But it is never that way. Actually, some of what Tom says is right and some isn’t. Tom is sometimes right, but sometimes wrong. Just because Mary knows more about some things than I do doesn’t mean she knows more about everything than I do. Once we understand this, we will feel less threatened by different ideas and more willing to listen and learn.

The lies they tell themselves allow some people to destroy their health with cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and overeating. Others go penniless because they justified their wild spending habits by saying “I work hard, so I deserve these luxuries” or “Perhaps I can’t afford it now, but I’ll be able to pay for it later, so I’ll put it on my credit card.” Lies. Lies. They’re all lies.

A favorite lie of many is, “I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the time.” If you didn’t have the time to do the important stuff, how come you had time to do the unimportant stuff? Yet another all too popular lie is “I have more than enough time to do it later.” These procrastinators while their lives away, later wondering where all their time went and why they failed to reach their goals.

Those who are too frightened to step out of their comfort zone and make something of themselves proclaim, “I’m not afraid, I’m just being cautious.” “Those who year after year fail to make any progress announce, “I cannot help it. That’s just the way I am. It is my nature; I was born this way.” Lies. Lies. Lies. They don’t get us anywhere.

Unless we end the self-deception, face our fears, admit our faults, accept responsibility, roll up our sleeves and get to work, things will remain the same. Is that what we want? Is that what you want? Assuming that it isn’t and that you are committed to stop lying to yourself, let’s look at some of the methods we use to deceive ourselves, for once we are aware of them, they will be easier to uproot.

1. Rationalization.I already mentioned this method,  but the important thing to understand is that No Results + Great Excuse = No Results. This formula clearly shows that no excuse, regardless how good it is, advances our cause. In a word, there’s no point in making excuses. It’s just a waste of time. Far better to use that time to take steps, no matter how small, to bring us closer to our goal.

2. Justification.When we justify our actions, we twist the facts, pretending to ourselves that our wrongful acts are perfectly reasonable. For example, an office worker who pilfers office supplies tells himself, “My boss is exploiting me, so I have a right to take some supplies for myself.” Not only is he a liar, but a thief!

3. Selective Attention.When faced with an opinion that we disagree with, rather than consider we may be wrong, we dismiss, discount, and downplay its importance. We always remain on the lookout for information that supports our beliefs, and automatically reject anything that conflicts with our preconceived notions.

4. Denial.Rather than face the painful truth, we choose to ignore it. Denial is a ruse frequently used by addicts. For example, an alcoholic may say, “I don’t have a problem; I’m just a social drinker.” or “I’m not drunk. I can still drive safely.”

5. Wishful Thinking.This is the opposite of denial. Deniers pretend that what is true, is not, and wishful thinkers pretend that what is not true, is. Wishful thinkers delude themselves into believing something is true simply because they want it to be so. The world abounds in wishful thinkers, so it’s not surprising that more than 2,300 years ago Demosthenes taught, “Nothing is so easy as to deceive oneself; for what we wish, we readily believe.”

6. Projection.This is a form of denial, but neither the problem nor its severity is denied. Instead, all responsibility is denied. “Yes, it’s true I have many problems,” Tom says, “but so would you, if you were raised by my mother.” In this tactic, we shift the blame for our problems on another or claim life circumstances are responsible.

7. Introjection.This method is the opposite of projection. Rather than deny our responsibility, we assume the responsibility of another. In other words, instead of blaming the perpetrator, we pretend it is our fault. For instance, a woman is in love and finds it too painful to acknowledge her boyfriend is a bad person. Rather than admit the truth and end the relationship, she believes he abuses her because there is something wrong with her.

8. Regression.Rather than coping with a problem in a mature way, a person under stress or frustration may revert to earlier, childish methods. That is, the troubled person may sulk, whine, or cry, and feeling helpless expect others to rush to his or her aid.

9. Repression.Child victims of sexual abuse and incest may find the pain and confusion too much to bear. So, the subconscious represses the memories. That is, it buries the memories below the level of awareness. Although repression alleviates the pain and allows the child to function, the memories remain intact. And until they are faced and dealt with, the victim may not be able to form healthy relationships.

10. Suppression.After a traumatic event, victims may find the memories too painful to bear and deliberately push them out of their mind. In repression the memories are subconsciously hidden, but in suppression they are consciously hidden.

11. Displacement.In this method of coping we take out our frustration and anger on innocent people. Suppose your boss gave you a hard time today and you are angry. But you feel you cannot express your anger to your boss without putting your job in jeopardy. So, what do you do? You pick on someone who will not strike back, such as your spouse or children.

As you can see, lying to ourselves is a coping mechanism. We do it to avoid pain. But here’s the rub; the pain of not facing and handling the truth is greater than facing it. You probably already understand that. So, why do you continue to lie to yourself? You see, it is one thing to understand it is better to face our problems and quite another thing to feel the pain, doubt, and worry that accompanies facing them. When it is a battle between the intellect and our emotions, our emotions almost always win. That’s because we usually operate on autopilot, allowing our emotions to run the show. However, with practice, we can interrupt our feelings and ask ourselves “Is the action that I now feel like taking in my best interest?” If it isn’t, we can choose to act differently. When we stop and question our feelings often enough, it will become a new habit, so that we will always be acting in our best interest, even when our actions are automatic.

I don’t wish to get morbid, but if your doctor told you that you had a terminal illness, wouldn’t you do things differently? Wouldn’t you see to it that you spend your remaining time doing what works for you, rather than sabotage your own success and happiness? Well, guess what? You do have a terminal illness. It is called life. So, if you don’t start acting in your own best interest today, when will you begin?

So, the next time problems erupt, face them. Analyze them and tear them apart. Ask yourself, “What are the best steps for me to take now?” Then do what you believe is best. Study your results, and make further refinements if needed. Force yourself to look at your life in order to make it better. Don’t just talk about it; take action! Change affirm-ations to affirm-actions.

And as Bernard Baruch wrote, “Approach each new problem not with a view of finding what you hope will be there, but to get the truth, the realities that must be grappled with. You may not like what you find. In that case you are entitled to try to change it. But do not deceive yourself as to what you do find to be the facts of the situation.”

The problem with self-deception is it blinds us to the cause of our problems, thereby making us incapable of solving them. We’ve got to remove the dark glasses we’re wearing, regardless how bright the light of truth may be. Once we face our problems, we’ll be able to overcome them. And that’s the truth!

So, there you have it; a simple formula for success: Cheerfully make sacrifices without whining or lying to yourself. Why not make your success kit more powerful by adding a few of the tips, tools, and techniques that were covered here?



The Entrepreneurs: Success and Sacrificeby Kip Marlow

Quantum Success: The Astounding Science of Wealth and Happinessby Sandra Anne Taylor

The Paradox of Successby John R. O’Neil 

In the Shadow of Sacrifice: Thoughts on Life and Success by Howard Calhoun

Stop Giving It Away: How to Stop Self-Sacrificing and Start Claiming Your Space, Power, and Happiness by Cherilynn M. Veland LCSW MSW

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

by John C. Maxwell

Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Lifeby Larry Winget

Quit Whiningby Victor Milt

Common Sense Happiness: 5 Principles for people who want to stop whining, bitching, and suffering by Loree Bischoff

The Lies We Tell Ourselves: Eliminate the Lies, Discover Your Truths, Design Your Success

by Robert Kintigh

The Lies We Believeby Chris Thurman

Hide and Seek: The Psychology of Self-Deception by Neel Burton


Self pity – The game and resolution

7 Psychological Sins: Self-pity

Leadership & Self-deception

The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life

Why You Won’t Succeed Without Making Sacrifices