Everyone seems to pipe up when the subject turns to their personal secrets to success, but of course, we are all well aware that not everyone is successful. At least, they’re not successful in the terms we ourselves use to define success.
Defining what it really means to be successful will necessarily vary from person to person and is entirely beyond the scope of this article. Rather than share my definition of success, I’ll just provide a quick list of what’s worked for me and leave it at that.
1. Silence is golden.
Throughout most of my life, I had always been a big talker. I always jumped at the opportunity to hear myself speak.
It has now become clear to me that saying less is much more powerful than talking. Listening and asking questions is not only admirable and impressive — it makes you smarter and puts you in a better position.
Shut up and listen. Others will pour their hearts out to you. They will tell you too much. They will give you the most invaluable commodity in the world: information.
George Bernard Shaw, co-founder of the London School of Economics put it perfectly. “Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men’s imperfections and conceal your own.”
2. Give more, take less.
I always quote the movie “Wall Street” simply because it’s my favorite film. People laugh when I say things like “Lunch is for wimps” and “Money is only something you need if you don’t die tomorrow.”
However, the most famous quote from this movie is when Gordon Gecko states, “Greed is good.” As much as I love the performance Michael Douglas brings to this part of the film, I vehemently disagree with this line. I believe that the more one gives, the more that will come to that person.
Being a giver rather than a taker provides satisfaction in life and goes a very long way with others. In business dealings, always make sure the one on the other side of the table feels confident that he or she is getting a greater value than you are. When pricing your product or service, give your customer the lowest price possible. This is one of those secrets to success that feels counterintuitive, but I’d rather have a lot of happy customers than a few disgruntled ones.
Greed isn’t good.
3. Don’t celebrate the weekends.
“If you believe in something, work nights and weekends, it won’t feel like work.”
— Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg
Dreading Mondays and celebrating Fridays is for those who do not like their work. It’s for those without the great desire to see their dreams to fruition. Taking a break for two days to cut yourself off from your work is far too long as success comes from constant work and persistence.
I do not distinguish one day from another. Every day of the week for me is filled with hard work, excitement, adventure, struggles, and a dire urge to see my goals and dreams to fruition.
4. Never admit to being busy.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.”
— Lucille Ball
I am constantly on the move, always on the phone, working day and night to succeed. Despite the constant hustle, I always make sure that I have time to take care of myself, be available for my friends and family, help others in business and listen to new opportunities.
One of my nonnegotiable secrets to success is that I would never admit to being busy.
I believe that saying that you are busy is simply a concession that you are unavailable, unwilling to help, and view your life to be more important than anyone else’s.
As I move forward in my life and career, I find that I am surrounding myself with people who are constantly making things happen. These people always answer when I call, and never tell me that they are busy.
Although I am always working, I have absolutely no time for people who tell me they are busy.
“There is little success where there is little laughter.”
— Andrew Carnegie
There are two reasons why it’s important to laugh.
- Being successful is extremely difficult, strenuous, and tiring. It’s imperative to be able to have a release from the constant struggle to laugh, make light of everything, and enjoy yourself in the company of others. I have found that the most serious and successful people are also the funniest ones.
- Laughing is the best way to connect with people. People will be drawn to you if you have the ability to make them feel good, laugh, and enjoy their time with you. Yakov Smirnoff said it best: “Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.”
I don’t pretend that my secrets to success will be the same for you, nor should they be. I suppose I could sum up the five secrets I’ve listed above as evolving out of an unwillingness to accept the status quo. By that, I simply mean that whenever someone mindlessly repeats a popular axiom, I stop every now nd then and ask myself a silly question. “Is that really true?”
Jeremy W. Crane is a serial entrepreneur from Rochester, New York, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the founder of StadiumPark, a mobile payment app for stadium and arena parking. He is most passionate about his friends and family, especially his brothers Dan and Ari. You can follow him at @jeremywcrane.