Today I want to talk to you about the secret to success in life!
Work hard to create options, and then pick the best one. That’s it.
When I first think about options, buying a car comes to mind. You start off with the base model, and then add all the little dew-dads that make the minivan you are settling on seem more bearable. The options I am talking about however are like intersections or “forks” in the road. This may sound cliché, but it is the best way to explain the very simple concept.
Let’s start off with a story on this one. Jon is very good at bagging groceries at the local store. He has a job and he is content. Ben is also a bagger at the same store. After he has mastered the art of avoiding smashed eggs or the accidental combination of meat and bug spray in the same bag, he asks if he can get trained at stocking the shelves during slow days.
Jon may be the best grocery bagger in the business, but when times get tough at the store, he will likely be without a job because he isn’t worth as much. Not only that, but he might have a hard time finding new work because he only has experience doing one thing. Jon’s road is a one-lane trail without any turnoffs, where any obstacle in his path will likely leave him stuck. He doesn’t have options because he didn’t take the time to create them.
Ben on the other hand has shown potential for versatility. His store will keep him because he has shown that he has the ability and desire to learn. Ben took advantage of his down time to make himself better and more marketable. For some reason, people today seem to have forgotten the entire concept that if you work hard early in life, you won’t have to work as hard later. When Ben eventually learns all the functions of the grocery store, he will likely become a supervisor. He has created an interstate highway system for himself so he can decide for himself where he wants to go.
The great secret to success and happiness in life is to work hard and create options. Ask anyone who is without and they will tell you that having to make a difficult decision between choices is a good problem to have. Many people want to know what rich parents teach their children. I never had the opportunity to get that particular lecture, but I can’t help but assume that it is this simple concept.
I experience this same thing all the time. People find out that I work full time, go to school full time, and still make time to read books to my four children before they go to bed at night and they actually feel sorry for me, which is surprising. They feel pity that I am actively trying to make my family’s life better.
Is that where our society is today? We used to be defined by two things in life – our occupation and our word. Now it seems like those two characteristics aren’t even important, much less viewed as defining qualities. Some would argue that not everyone has the same opportunities that I have had. They are absolutely correct. I went to public school and barely graduated. I went to work after that because I “decided” to start a family very early. Later, I put myself through college. Stop using opportunities as an excuse for being lazy. You create your own opportunities. Stop saying things aren’t fair because you have to work for them.
That is my challenge to all of you. Don’t sit still. Don’t get comfortable. Set goals and build options. Take pride in your work ethic. Instill this habit into your kids. I know my children will be fine simply because I teach them work ethic. That alone will put them ahead of most of their peers.
There you go. That is the big secret to being successful. Spread the word.