Quality guru and bestselling management author (“In Search of Excellence”), Tom Peters, recounts the story of a man who approached robber baron and American financer J. P. Morgan with an envelope, and said:
“Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.”
“Sir,” J. Pierrepont replied, “I do not know what is in the envelope. However, if you show me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.” The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the envelope. Morgan opened it, and pulled out a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look – a mere glance – then handed it back to the gentleman. And then he paid him the agreed-upon amount of $25,000! On that sheet of paper, were two things:
1. Every morning, write down a list of the things that need to be done that day.
2. Do them.
Clearly J.P. Morgan benefited handsomely from this advice. The point of this anecdote is that you can too. Oftentimes, we ourselves know what we must do. Yet, just simply knowing what needs to get done is the easy part. If you’re like me, you have your list of things to do. It represents our action items, plans and declarations. But taking action is the tough stuff. When you think about it, that’s the trademark of every successful person.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”
We all know that it’s easier said than done. Ultimately, we have to just do it and taking baby steps daily is a great start.
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.
In his book, “The Common Denominator of Success”, Albert Gray says, “The common denominator of success–the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful–lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
As the $25,000 solution illustrates, one needs to keep it simple, but taking action and “doing things that failures don’t like to do” is the trait successful people share.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)