The One Secret to Being Successful

what others see of your success is just the tip of the icebergWhen people view other people’s success, they literally see just the tip of the iceberg.  What they do not see is just how many times that person had failed, how many times he has fallen flat on his face, how many hours he has spent learning from those mistakes and improving his skills. In short, an outside observer never thinks about all the hard work and heart break this person went through before finally becoming successful.

How many times did this person hit his head against the wall in frustration?
How many times was this person rejected?
How many times has this person come close to throwing his hands up in disgust, ready to walk away from it all?
How many times did he have to go back and try the same thing–different things–before finally able to see what he had been doing wrong in order to move ahead?

If anything, the observer thinks this person was a natural, that he was naturally talented, or that perhaps success was given to him because he was in the right place at the right time. The question people looking to become successful themselves invariably ask is “How’d you do that?”

Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars

I’m a big fan of the show, Pawn Stars, with Rick Harrison. This show is one part Antiques Road Show, one part American Chopper (when the family members start arguing amongst themselves), one part history lesson, and one part comedy.

When I first heard of the show, I naturally assumed that the History Channel sought out Rick Harrison, the owner of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, to do yet another reality TV show, this time about pawn shops.

But I was wrong.

Harrison actually tried to pitch the idea of Pawn Stars himself for four unsuccessful years, mainly to bring more business into his shop. For four years, nothing happened. All of the show producers he approached dismissed the idea, until one day out of the blue he received that fateful call . The rest, as they say, is history.

That the show went on for as long as it did was a surprise to Harrison, who would have been happy with just one season. The shop now attracts a lot of foot traffic. The main revenue-generating merchandise is, you guessed it, Pawn Star memorabilia.

An entrepreneur, Harrison advocates taking risks in new ventures, emphasizing you never know where they might lead without trying. He has failed a lot of times, but failure is an important part of being an entrepreneur. We learn from our mistakes.

You Must Choose to be Successful

This naturally helped me to realize that we choose our own successes in life. When I think back to a new skill, a new craft, or a new hobby I acquired over the years, I become successful at acquiring them by putting the long hours and hard work into developing and nurturing them. I found models, people who have already been down that road, to emulate. If I became stuck, I sought help.

Often, there was always a lot of head banging, a lot of frustration, a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of trying different things to break new ground.

But the one thread that binds everything is this: Once I made up my mind I was going to be successful at doing something, I was already half way there.

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  1. Another great post! I love the stories about people persevering, and you are so right about us only seeing the tip of the iceberg – great reminder to choose to succeed then buckle down and get to work!

  2. Ah; I really enjoyed reading the success story!

  3. Excellent post!

    You have to become fed up with being average and then take matters into your own hands.

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