Do These 2 Things and You Will Achieve Anything

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At first, I wanted to name this post “The Second and Third Step for Success,” because it is a follow up to The First Step for Success. But that title is not really catchy. So I picked “Do These 2 Things and You will Achieve Anything.” I hope you agree that the current title is more engaging.

Anyways … the title is not a lie. I truly believe there are only two things you must do and you can achieve anything. Take a look at anyone who has done extraordinary things, such as:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Wright brothers
  • Warren Buffett
  • The Beatles
  • Pablo Picasso

These are men who are famous in their respective fields: basketball, aviation, investing, music, and art. But there are two things all these people have done to become successful in their fields. And they are the same two things you can do, starting today, if you want to achieve whatever you want.

Do you want to know what they are? Well?

Alright, I’ll tell you, just because I am such a good friend.

The two things are …

  1. to always learn
  2. to always act upon what you have learned

That’s it. I promise you that if you do just these two things, you can achieve anything. Remember …

keep on learning and keep on doing.

Let me describe the two steps in more detail because they are so, so important.

Always Learn

This is so important, and so easy to do. Yet, only few people do it. If you want to become successful in anything, you must constantly learn. This does not mean you should be in school for the rest of your life. It means that you are taking proactive steps to find out how to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. So if you want to make more money, find out how the rich made their money.

On more than one occasion, I have read that a common trait of many successful people is that they read all the time. Let me give you an excerpt from The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg:

At a café near the WordPress office, in the San Francisco Embarcadero area, Matt (a self-taught PHP programmer who created WordPress) told me: “A common quality I see of people who are successful is that they are voracious readers. The book as a format is underrated in the digital age. I’m the first one to say blogs are fantastic, obviously. But they tend to be shorter form. Longer-form works stretch my mind more. When you write a book, it consumes you. What you get when you read that book, then, is someone’s entire life for several years or more, distilled into one work. That’s really powerful.

Heck, even Bill Gates, one of the richest people in the world, dedicate two full weeks just for reading.

Some people do not like reading. Some people like to learn by listening, seeing, or doing. And that is perfectly fine. The advantage that reading have over other forms of learning is that you can learn much more over a short period of time. When you listen or watch, the speed of your learning is dependent upon how fast the person speaks or teaches. But when reading, your learning is dependent upon how fast you can comprehend what you are reading.

Still, if reading is not for you, do not stop learning. You have other options, especially if you have an internet connection (which you most likely have, because you are reading this now). Learning by listening, by watching or by doing.

Bottom line is: always learn.

Always Do

If learning is the ying, then doing is the yang. Few people constantly learn, but even fewer people put into action what they have learned.

I guarantee that you if you fail to take action, you will never become successful!

Why are most people reluctant to take action? They are either lazy, or they are afraid of failure.

For the lazy people, they feel they have accomplished something just by reading (or however else they learn). And they think that one day, they will magically become successful because they know so much. But they are in for a rude awakening. The late copywriter-legend, Gary Halbert, describes these people as losers. (If you click on the link, see #7 in the second list.)

The people who are afraid of failure care have too much pride and / or care too much about what others think of them. Either one is not conducive for success.

  • Humility is a pre-requisite for success. Everyone has to start out in the bottom before climbing to the top. That includes you.
  • People are fickle. These same people will change their opinion of you once you find success. Those who looked down on you when you are the little guy will suddenly want to become your best friend when you are a successful.

Do not be afraid to fail often and to fail fast.

So bottom line is: always put into practice what you have learned. Overcome your laziness. Forget about your pride. Forget about what other people think.

Learning and doing is a constant cycle. The more you do, the more you will learn. If you made a mistake, you will know what not to do next time. And if you did something right, you will know what to do next time. To illustrate my point, here is an excerpt from Mastery by Robert Greene:

Continuing his self-examination, Leonardo would have thought back to the one great commission that he accepted during this new phase of his life—an enormous bronze equestrian statue in memory of Francesco Sforza, the father of the current duke of Milan. The challenge for him was too irresistible. It would be of a scale no one had seen since the days of ancient Rome, and to cast something so large in bronze would require an engineering feat that had baffled all of the artists of his time. Leonardo worked on the design for months, and to test it out he built a clay replica of the statue and displayed it in the most expansive square in Milan. It was gigantic, the size of a large building. The crowds that gathered to look at it were awestruck—its size, the impetuous stance of the horse that the artist had captured, its terrifying aspect. Word spread throughout Italy of this marvel and people anxiously awaited its realization in bronze. For this purpose, Leonardo invented a totally new way of casting. Instead of breaking up the mold for the horse into sections, Leonardo would construct the mold as one seamless piece (using an unusual mix of materials he had concocted) and cast it as a whole, which would give the horse a much more organic, natural appearance.

A few months later, however, war broke out and the duke needed every bit of bronze he could lay his hands on for artillery. Eventually, the clay statue was taken down and the horse was never built. Other artists had scoffed at Leonardo’s folly—he had taken so long to find the perfect solution that naturally, events had conspired against him. One time even Michelangelo himself taunted Leonardo: “You who made a model of a horse you could never cast in bronze and which you gave up, to your shame. And the stupid people of Milan had faith in you?” He had become used to such insults about his slowness at work, but in fact he regretted nothing from this experience. He had been able to test out his ideas on how to engineer large-scale projects; he would apply this knowledge elsewhere. Anyway, he didn’t care so much about the finished product; it was the search and process in creating something that had always excited him.

Remember …

If you fail to learn, or if you fail to do, you will never be successful.

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