The ABCs of Success: The Essential Principles from America’s Greatest Prosperity Teacher

The ABCs of Success: The Essential Principles from America’s Greatest Prosperity Teacher

An accessible guide to the principles of success by one of the most respected and sought-after motivational speakers of our time. In the tradition of Og Mandino and Zig Ziglar, this inspirational guide uses a wide variety of subjects, from “Achievement” to “Worry,” to bring clarity, information, and motivation to readers.

For millions of readers, Bob Proctor’s name is synonymous with success. A former protégé of personal development pioneer Earl Nightingale, Proctor first bu

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Trapped by tl;dr

TL;DR is internet talk for “too long; didn’t read”. It’s also a sad, dangerous symptom of the malfunctions caused by the internet tsunami. (Here’s a most ironic example of this paradox…)

The triathlete doesn’t look for the coldest bottle of water as she jogs by… she wants it fast and now. That mindset, of focusing merely on what’s fast, is now a common reaction to many online options. I think it works great for runners, not so well for learners.

There’s a checklist, punchline mentality that’s dangerous and easy to adopt. Enough with the build up, wrap this up, let me check it off, categorize it and quickly get to the next thing… c’mon, c’mon, too late, TL;DR…

Let’s agree on two things:

1. There are thousands of times as many things available to read as there were a decade ago. It’s possible that in fact there are millions as many.

2. Now that everyone can write, publish, email you stuff and generally make noise, everyone might and many people already are.

As a result, there’s too much noise, too much poorly written, overly written, defensively written and generally useless stuff cluttering your life.

When we had trusted curators it was easy. We read what we were supposed to read, we read what we trusted, regardless of how long it was, because the curator was taking a risk and promising us it was worth it. No longer. Now, it’s up to us.

One option is to read incisively, curate, edit, choose your sources carefully. Limit the inbound to what’s important, not what’s shiny or urgent or silly.

The other option is to assume that you already know what you need to know, and refuse to read anything deeply. Hide behind clever acronyms, flit from viral topic to flame war, never actually diving in. It appears that this is far more common than ever before.

Here’s what I’ve found: When I read in checklist mode, I learn almost nothing. It’s easy to cherry pick the amusing or the merely short, but it’s a quick thrill with very little to show for it.

Judging by length is foolish. TL;DR shows self-contempt, because you’re ignoring the useful in exchange for the short or the amusing. The media has responded to our demand by giving us a rising tide of ever shorter, ever more amusing wastes of time. Short lowers the bar, but it also makes it hard to deliver much.

Please, give me something long (but make it worth my time.)

Perhaps a new acronym: NW;DR (not worthwhile; didn’t read) makes more sense. We’ve got plenty to choose from, but what we need is content that’s worth the effort.


What kind of media counts?

The Department of Justice has decided, apparently, not to prosecute Wikileaks for leaking information because the prosecutors would have a “New York Times problem.” In other words, because Wikileaks worked with a media entity that counts, they have to be treated seriously.

Amazon soon will have more new self-published books for sale than books that went through the old process. Do these self-published books matter? Are the reviews from readers ‘real’ or should they be ignored?

Many actors would rather do a low-rated cable show that doesn’t pay well than appear on a YouTube video that is seen by millions. Because the former counts.

Columnists for famous newspapers look down at bloggers, even bloggers with more readers and impact than they have.

In live theatre, a revue out of town that gets a well-deserved standing ovation nightly doesn’t count as much as a Broadway show, even one that’s frankly pretty bad.

Of course, television didn’t used to count, not if you were a radio star. And cable didn’t count, not if you were a network sitcom star…

Sure there are fake reviews, fake followers and fake views. Sure, there’s a huge amount of unreadable, unwatchable, unshareable stuff being published in the curationless media of our time. But eventually, the truth will out, quality will be shared (or at least interesting will be shared) and our definition of what counts will change.

The question for you is which line to get on… the line waiting to get picked or the line to start now?


Your alphabet

The only reason that typesetting works is that a small collection of letters can be re-used again and again to print millions of different words. This seems obvious, but it was actually the conceptual breakthrough that led to the long path that brought us to Gutenberg etc.

Your work is based on a similar insight.

Our skills, resources and assets are like letters in the alphabet and we can re-use and recombine them in many different ways. It might be the real estate you own, the skills you’ve learned, the permission base you’ve built over time, but all of those assets can be leveraged in different ways.

To grow, then, we only need to address two questions:

  • Do I need more letters?
  • How do I recombine the letters I’ve already got to create new value?

Chasing new letters is expensive. For most of us, a better first resort is to cherish the letters we’ve already got and be brave enough to recombine them into new forms, new approaches, new ways to add value. But yes, by all means, now that you’ve extracted maximum value, go get some new letters.


What does the fox say?

The viral music video of the moment is right here.

It’s probably going to be compared to Numa Numa (but not break any records–Gangnam has 1.7 billion views).

The question for the marketer, music or otherwise, isn’t, “what are the hooks and tricks I use to go viral?” No, the question is, “is it worth it?”

What does the fox say has the hooks and tricks in abundance. It has Archie McPhee animal costumes, nonsense words, just the right sort of production values, superfluous subtitles, appropriate silliness. It would probably help the cause to add spurious nudity, but give them points for getting the rest of it right.

To what end?

If your work goes viral, if it gets seen by tens of millions of people, sure you can profit from that. But most of the time, it won’t. Most of the time, you’ll aim to delight the masses and you’ll fail.

I’m glad that some people are busy trying to entertain us in a silly way now and then. But it doesn’t have to be you doing the entertaining–the odds are stacked against you.

So much easier to aim for the smallest possible audience, not the largest, to build long-term value among a trusted, delighted tribe, to create work that matters and stands the test of time.

“Baby bump bump bay dum.”


Q&A: The Dip and knowing when to quit

Our series continues with the book that led to the most questions so far: The Dip.

I veered even further off the marketing path with this book, my shortest and one of my most popular books–a book that intentionally asks more questions than it answers.

This is a book about mediocrity—about having the impatience to get rid of it and the patience to avoid the problem in the first place.

Two simple, unrelated examples: You’re probably mediocre at Twitter (if we define mediocre as average, then, do the math, most people are). Some people, though, set out from the first day intent on doing it often enough, generously enough and creatively enough that they would break through and become one of the handful that gets followed merely because others are following them. At some point along the way, this effort became a big enough slog that instead of leaning in, most people on the journey backed off and settled on being part of the herd of millions.

Or consider the case of the actor, the one seeking to be picked by the casting director and “made” famous. Just about every single person who enters this field fails, because the dip is so cruel and the arithmetic of being chosen is so brutal. People who are aware of the Dip, then, don’t even try. They pick a different field, an endeavor where they have more control and more influence, a field where others have shown that effort can in fact lead to success.

[I don’t use Twitter mostly because I saw the effort that would be required to do it ‘right’ and the toll it would take on me and my work. And I’m not an actor because I have no talent and because I couldn’t imagine the grind of endless auditions.]

Asking the question, the one I get asked the most, “how do I know if it’s a dip or a dead end?” is the wrong question, just as asking, “how do I know if it’s remarkable?” isn’t the key to the Purple Cow. No, the key insight is to ask the question, not to know the answer in advance. Asking yourself, “is this something that will respond to guts, effort and investment?” helps you decide whether or not this is where you can commit. And then, if you do commit, you’re not browsing, you’re in it.

The resistance is real indeed, and it fears being best in the world, it fears being on top, it fears being seen as the winner. So the resistance is just fine with pushing you to wander, to quit the wrong things at the wrong time, and most of all, to seek out the sinecure of mediocrity. The resistance will cajole and wheedle you until you compromise and get stuck with what you believe you deserve, instead of what you are capable of. The resistance wants a map, when you really need a compass.

Someone is going to come out the other side, someone is going to be brave enough and focused enough to be the best available option. Might as well be you.

This might not work, sure, but who better than you to try?

[Here’s a two-minute excerpt from the audio, and here’s the original blog about the book.]



My top LOA reads

Since its release in 2006, the movie “The Secret” has introduced millions of people to the Law of Attraction.  As one of the featured teachers in the movie, I firmly believe in the power of the Law of Attraction and I’ve used it for decades to effortlessly create ever-growing levels of success. The Law of

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Does The Law of Attraction Really Work?

Since its release in 2006, the movie “The Secret” has introduced millions of people to the Law of Attraction. As one of the featured teachers in the movie, I firmly believe in the power of the Law of Attraction. I’ve used it myself for decades to effortlessly create ever-growing levels of success. But sadly, I’ve

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The post Does The Law of Attraction Really Work? appeared first on America's Leading Authority On Creating Success And Personal Fulfillment – Jack Canfield.

Who decides what you’re going to read next?

With the much-heralded demise of Google Reader, millions of people are about to be left at the mercy of a blended, algorithmic mash of incoming news. Instead of picking what they’ll see and when, Google seems to want people to rely on luck as well as the coral-reef like filtering of a social network.


Subscribe for free.

Find your favorite sources, pick a newsreader or rely on good old email, and subscribe. You should be the one who determines what’s showing up in your inbox.

As they say in the dead-tree business: never miss an issue.

FWIW, you should definitely export your feed list from Google Reader today, as it will be gone forever soon. (more details).


The free-rider benefit

You’re probably familiar with the free-rider problem. That’s what economists call a situation in which someone benefits from the entire community paying for something without contributing themselves. It becomes a problem when others feel like suckers and then similarly drop out.

Cheating on your taxes is a classic example. You get to ride on the roads and benefit from the civilization that others are paying for. One non-participant won’t crash the system, but if it spreads…

Not vaccinating your kids is a similarly selfish act. In an affluent community, a few free-riders probably don’t cause much damage because if most kids are vaccinated, the disease won’t spread. But, as we’ve seen in the battle to eradicate polio, when more than a few people don’t contribute (in this case, by being vaccinated), we all lose.

Media, though, feels different. In Grand Central there are tall metal cages at the exit from each rail car, designed to collect already read newspapers. It’s actually against the law to remove a paper (if you could, the sides are too high) and read it.

I’m sure someone at a newspaper fought hard for this, figuring that everyone should buy their very own paper. The thing is, newspapers don’t make much profit on the sale of the paper, they make money selling eyeballs to advertisers. If more and more people read each copy of the paper, the audience would go up, ad rates could rise and they’d actually come out ahead in the long run.

Or consider Wikipedia. Almost everyone who uses Wikipedia (hundreds of millions of people) fails to contribute cash to run it, and they also fail to edit or contribute to the content of the site. At first, this feels wrong. Here’s the thing: one more reader costs Wikipedia virtually nothing, and the people who are donating and the people who are editing are doing it precisely because a lot of people read it. If the only people who read it were the people who were contributing, people would stop contributing.

This blog is read mostly by people who have not bought my books. That’s generally okay with me because I don’t write the blog to sell books, but it’s also okay because it turns out that the fact that lots of people read the blog makes my ideas and books more attractive to those that do buy them. Readers know that a better understanding of my ideas might just help them be part of a larger conversation, so the investment and time and money seems a lot less risky.

Or consider the art museum that prohibits photography, ostensibly to keep unpaid guests from seeing what’s inside. The thing is, for many people it’s more fun to visit a museum filled with famous images, isn’t it?

Take a second to reconsider the funnel mindset. A marketer who thinks about the funnel realizes that she needs 100 people in at the top to get ten in the middle to end up with just one paid customer at the bottom. A leaky funnel is a real problem, because it costs a lot of money to keep putting people in at the top. But what if instead of a funnel, we imagine a two-part market? One part is actively participating, supporting and partaking, all because the second part is busy free riding.

There are edge cases everywhere that make the free-rider benefit seem a lot less beneficial. Wholesale piracy, deliberate theft of services–many organizations and business models can’t thrive in a world of anonymous taking. On the other hand, once you can get your head (and your heart) around the idea that ideas that spread, win, there are significant opportunities in a digital world where it’s easier than ever to help people go for a free ride.