The Common Denominator of Success

Pleasurable Methods vs. Pleasurable Results

This brings us to another principle: “The Common Denominator of Success.” The Common Denominator of Success is this: Successful people have formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do. Nowhere does it say that successful people enjoy doing these things. I would even go so far as to say that successful people despise doing the things that failures don’t do. Nevertheless, successful people understand the difference between pleasurable methods and pleasurable results.

Can you sit on the couch, drink a six-pack of beer, eat potato chips, and be in great physical shape? No, of course not. Can you take short cuts and not work very hard and have outstanding results – in school, business, relationships, or spiritual life? No. The world does not work that way. Short cuts are what I would categorize as pleasurable methods.

You have to determine what is more important to you. Is it instant gratification, or are you focused on pleasurable results, which oftentimes delay gratification?

For example, let’s take a student that wants to graduate Magna Cum Laude. There is no easy way to do that. That is hard. It takes sacrifice. Working toward that goal means spending a lot of hours in the library studying. It means missing out on a lot of social events. There is no easy way to graduate Magna Cum Laude, but is graduating with honors a pleasurable result? It most certainly is. So the common denominator of success is focusing on pleasurable results and doing the things necessary to achieve those pleasurable results. People who focus on pleasurable results do not focus on methods. They realize that to achieve pleasurable results, they have to work harder and make more sacrifices.

This is something you learn through habit formation. This principle is about consistently doing something a little bit better, a little bit longer, a little bit more accurately, time after time after time. Over years, the results of this extra hard work are absolutely incredible. It is the financial advisor that prospects twenty minutes more every day. Twenty minutes. Maybe that is in the form of cutting short that conversation with a co-worker or waking up earlier in the morning or staying at the office a few minutes later at night. Those twenty minutes a day, over the course of a year, add up to many hours of prospecting which lead to more appointments made which, in turn, lead to more clients that advisor is serving.

The Common Denominator of Success does not come down to one moment or one thing that you do one time to solve everything. It is a habit of formation.

It seems like there are some people that make it look effortless. They’re making the calls, writing the big cases, going to the gym, and it seems like they’re enjoying the process. They’re having fun in the moment even while they’re working hard and making sacrifices to achieve great results. These people are a stark contrast to others who work nine-to-five jobs and seem miserable. They are achieving an outcome but they hate their lives. So how do we avoid being miserable? How do we get to the point where we enjoy the process?

I believe it occurs when we fully connect the head to the heart and it is captured in a quote that my mentor, Phil Richards shared with me. “The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.”

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