I couldn’t believe it. I spend a lot of time talking about why some people win and others don’t, but I’m still shocked when I see the reality playing out around me—with people so full of misinformation about winning.
But that’s the way the world works, false ideas float around forever.
If you really are serious about wanting to get ahead in life, you have to get the truth firmly planted in your brain. If you think like the average person thinks, you have no hope but to turn out average yourself.
I was talking to a friend about my book, Serial Winner. She said, “Oh, my brother is a perfect example.” The other day we were watching the news and a story about some hugely successful person—Mark Cuban or Bill Gates—came on. Out of nowhere he said, “I swear, some people are just lucky.”
I work with and coach people who are trying to achieve big goals. I forget sometimes that there are millions of people in the world who still believe myths about successful people—myths that hold them back. Myths that convince them that they haven’t got a chance. Myths that keep them from going for what they really want.
In Serial Winner, I bust a lot of these myths. Here are a few you should wipe from your thinking as fast as possible.
Myth #1: Winners Are Just Lucky.
They met the right person to help them when they needed it. Somebody came to them with the idea they needed. A friend or family member gave them the money they needed.
It all boils down to this: they were in the right place at the right time. And yes, they probably were. But so is everybody!
Here’s what I mean. A certain amount of good fortune falls in all of our laps as we go through life. The difference is most people don’t notice it when it comes and don’t jump on it as a chance to make an advance in their life and possibly create a situation where they can make permanent big changes.
In this Forbes article, Rainer Zitelmann elaborates on while luck does play a role in shaping success—nobody is only ever lucky.
We’re all presented with opportunities that could change the course of our careers and lives.We’re all presented with opportunities that could change the course of our careers and lives. Click To Tweet
People who don’t achieve much sit around waiting for luck to strike. What serial winners do is prepare for those opportunities (with a lot of hard work) and take advantage of them when they finally show up (with more effort and mental toughness).
Myth #2: Winners Have It Easy.
They haven’t faced the challenges the rest of us have, right? They have no idea what it’s like to suffer. They’ve never lost, been fired, gone bankrupt, lived off food stamps, been homeless, had health problems. They’ve never felt overwhelmed, depressed, or doubted by others.
This is another myth and is ridiculous! No one leads a completely protected life.
As it says in Ecclesiastes 9:11, “Time and chance happen to them all.” Look closely and you’ll see the scars your heroes have collected: physical, emotional, psychological. Everybody has them, especially winners. But winners overcome obstacles and win anyway.
They don’t make excuses, and they don’t quit.
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” —Winston Churchill
Life isn’t defined by easy. Life is defined by accomplishment.
Easy is eating that extra dozen donuts because they taste so good.
During my first year of expansion into North Carolina, I worked 24/7 and I never stopped to eat. That’s not true—I just rarely stopped to eat a decent meal. Too many times it was donuts and ice cream just to survive.
Unfortunately at the end of the year, I gained 50lbs. It was easy to run to the store and get that Breyers Chocolate Chip Mint ice cream, devour it, and keep on going.
It created a bigger problem that I had to deal with later. What a drag.
I think it took me three or four years to get all of that extra weight off. I got shocked into reality one day when I overheard Caroline Colson talking to her husband, Butch Colson, who was one of my top people. He was starting to get a little chubby and she told him he better start cutting back or, “you’re going to start looking like Larry.” That really stung and I fixed it, but it took a while.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”
We are all tempted to take the easy way out, to take the path of least resistance. That path leads downhill and that’s not where you want to go.
If you let your foot off of the accelerator in your car you’re going to stop, and it’s the same thing in your life.
When you live your life remember that while losers look for easy, winners look for ways they can be productive. Ways they can be profitable. Ways they can move up towards the life they want.
Myth #3: Winners Cheat Their Way To The Top.
Successful people cheat. They cut corners, take credit for other people’s work, and make backroom deals. They ignore ethics and principles. They say and do whatever it takes to get ahead.
This is just a myth cheaters use to justify their behavior.
The media might sell this idea: cheating winners get 80 percent of the airtime and ethical winners get the rest.
The truth is that more often than not, nice, smart guys finish first—not last. And they do it with their heads held high, knowing their legacy is intact.The truth is that more often than not, nice, smart guys finish first—not last. Click To Tweet
I’m not saying that they are perfect and that along the way they may have done some things they regret.
It’s impossible to live life without having some occasions that you do things that you’re not really proud of and wish you could change. But if you analyze the pattern of the lives of people who consistently win, you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of the time they get their results by hard work—not the occasional shortcut.
And you will almost always find they have superior people skills and treat those around them with respect because they know the value of a team. They know that if you don’t treat people right, they won’t stay with you.
Again, nobody’s perfect but winners are better than most in this area.
Why would anyone ever believe such a myth?
It’s because they are mentally lazy. It’s because it’s the way normal people think. It’s because they really aren’t that motivated to do anything big. It’s because it gives them an excuse not to extend themselves and work harder.
Everyone says they want to do great things, but look around—do you really see that many people excited about their lives? Getting up early and working hard? Getting extra training? Going out of their way to meet people who are more accomplished, and picking their brain?
Even those who listen to podcasts, take courses, take classes, listen to tapes, read books . . . so few of those ever really apply what they are learning.
They learn but they never do. They are afraid to take the first step.
This is a real tragedy because they have so much new information in subjects and areas that they are obviously interested in. Otherwise, they would not have spent the time to listen, study, and learn.
I think that’s the last thing that should be said at the end of every course and every training program. I also believe it should be written at the bottom of every diploma. Of course, I’ve been making that suggestion for years and no one has taken me up on it so don’t expect to see that happen.
The real story behind Bill Gates creating Microsoft
I have some special knowledge because my cousin Edward H. Roberts was the father of the personal computer, and the name of the computer was the Altair 8800. The name of the company was MITS (Micro Implementation and Telemetry Systems).
That’s where the name Microsoft actually came from—software for the M(Micro)ITS computer.
When the computer was first announced in January of 1976 on the cover of Electronics Illustrated, it caught the attention of Paul Allen in Boston. He got a copy and ran across the quad to find his buddy Bill because this is what they had been waiting on. A small computer powerful enough to run the software.
Unfortunately, the software wasn’t written yet because Bill refused to work on it until a computer showed up that could run it. When Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft with Bill, saw the cover, he knew it was go-time. That’s why he grabbed a copy and ran to find Bill.
I’ll cut the story short and just tell you that at 18 and 19 years old they won the contract for nationwide rights for the software for the Altair, and they moved to Albuquerque to develop it.
My cousin Edward and my brother Alan have told me separately the story. Alan happened to be in Albuquerque because Edward had asked him to come to pick up an order and drive it to San Diego where they were opening a new store.
My brother said when he got to Albuquerque my cousin took him down the hall and said, “I want to show you something and I want you to meet some people.” They went way to the back of the building into the warehouse area and opened a door. There in an otherwise empty room with concrete floors were two young guys sitting at computers.
The computers were on folding tables and they were sitting in metal folding chairs. After making introductions and a little small talk between Alan, Bill, and Paul, Edward said, “well we’ve got to get back to work” so they walked back to Edward’s office.
Edward chuckled and said, “those are the strangest guys I’ve ever met in my life.” He said, “they’re fanatics.”
“What they do is they sit in those chairs and program all day long. When they get hungry they order pizza and cokes. When they get tired they just lay down on the concrete behind the folding chair and konk out. Then they get up and do it all over again.”
This went on for months!
It sounds like something that would only be happening in a prison but it was a temporary prison-like experience they created for themselves because they had a dream even then of building something that eventually would be on every desk in every office in the world.
That dream not only happened but it led to Bill Gates becoming the richest man in the world since. . .well, since forever. And he actually retired from Microsoft decades ago but the stock keeps him at the top of the list. So there you go.
Mark Cuban is another one that did not just luck into his billions, Shark Tank, or becoming the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. If you’re interested, check it out on the internet.
The thing that separated him was his passion.
What should you take away from this and what should you do?
Of course we all know for you to win or accomplish anything, you’re going to have to run into some good fortune eventually.
Luck can show up in a variety of ways.Luck can show up in a variety of ways. Click To Tweet
You come up with an amazing idea. You meet an amazing person that is perfect for your business. You run into a mentor that you just click with and they take you under their wing. They show you things that allow you to move up to ten times faster than you would have otherwise.
How many times in life have you dealt with problems that seem overwhelming and helpless yet almost overnight things happen—circumstances change and the problem completely disappears.
All these are wonderful when they happen but what do you do when they don’t? You work. You learn. You move. You take the next step forward.
If luck shows up, great. If not, you can win anyway!
If you want to do something great, get the facts and get to work.If you want to do something great, get the facts and get to work. Click To Tweet
Hard work is the great equalizer. It’s the main thing that separates those on the top from everyone else. And usually it’s hard work for a long time so it better be something that you enjoy doing and know you can get good at.