* Note: This post is part of an ongoing series in which I am sharing the entire contents of a currently unpublished book I wrote last year, entitled: unBelievable: How to Get Unbelievable Results By Giving Up Believable Ideas. Review my blog's archives or do a search for unbelievable to see all previous posts.
Introduction - Part 1
Everything Popular Is Wrong
- Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. - Mark Twain
- If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. - Leo Babauta
- Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth. - Theodore Roosevelt
You've probably heard it said that if you want be successful, you've got to do what successful people do - model their successful thinking and behavior. Sounds simple and doable enough, right? Then why do so many people who work hard at putting this principle into action continue to struggle with mediocre results for most of their life?
I believe it's because they've not been given the complete recipe for achieving outstanding results. And without a complete recipe to work with, achieving the desired outcome of a life of excellence becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, to reach.
Well, while it's definitely crucial to learn how to model what successful people do, the piece of the 'success recipe' that's often left out is the equally important idea to avoid doing what unsuccessful people do - avoid their unsuccessful thinking, habits, and behavior. The reason for this is clear: Just doing the right things isn't enough, you've got to stop doing the wrong things, too!
To help you appreciate the value of this concept, I'd like you to consider a simple scenario that illustrates this point: Does it do any good to eat a healthy, nutritious salad, if you wash it down with 32 ounces of sugary soda and have a hot fudge sundae for dessert? When you think about it, isn't it true that the benefits of doing the right thing are largely canceled out if you don't also eliminate doing the wrong things?
This is an important principle to understand and live by because, despite your best efforts to do things the right way - including all the books you've read or seminars you've attended about how to be a successful person, there's a big world around you that often tempts and encourages you to do things the wrong way, and you've got to be able to identify and avoid those wrong ideas and behaviors if you want your hard work to be successful and to really pay off!
So how do you identify the wrong stuff that you should avoid doing? Well, the process of discovery isn't as hard as you might imagine. All it requires is for you to view the world from a new perspective, and to begin paying attention.
It was once said that success leaves clues. Essentially, study the thinking and habits of people who regularly experience success, and you'll find specific clues and common strategies about how they operate their lives, which provides you with part of the recipe that you can follow to get similar results as they do.
The opposite is true as well: Lack of success also leaves clues. Unsuccessful people tend to think and behave in common ways as well - they do a lot of things you want to avoid doing. These kinds of clues are all around you. Here's how to see them...
Over one hundred years ago, Irish author and poet, Oscar Wilde, made a profound observation, when he wrote, "Everything popular is wrong."
What did he mean?
Well, instead of looking at popular ideas and behaviors of his time, and thinking that they must be popular because they're true and good - which, at first glance, seems logical - Mr. Wilde likely observed that a majority of people around him were unhappy, dissatisfied, and never accomplished anything of significance in life (they were unsuccessful people). And if this majority believed something to be true, or they did something a certain way, it was probably a good gauge of what to avoid, so as to prevent getting the same, unsuccessful results that they got. After all, you can't think and act the same way everyone else does, and expect to get different results. That makes sense, doesn't it?
Flash forward to today, and in our modern world, where more than 90 percent of people (a wide majority) don't even take the time to make use of one of the most simple yet foundational tools for success - written goals, his observation is as true right now as it was when he originally wrote it - what's generally accepted by a majority of people as true and right is often the furthest thing from being true or right. In other words, if a majority of people don't practice something as valuable and essential to success as goal setting, do think there's a chance that they might be doing a whole lot of other things that hinder their success?
Interestingly, many people don't ever consider this possibility. Very often they just 'go with the flow', doing and believing pretty much what everyone else does, never questioning how good or bad it might be for them, simply because it seems like the right thing to do - they tend to equate 'popular' with 'right'.
- If it's drilled into their head that the only way to be happy and get ahead is to devote their lives to their job, they accept it as 'the way it is these days'
- If the people they associate with, sit around the water cooler complaining about all the horrible problems and drama in their lives, they assume that experiencing horrible problems and drama must be the 'norm', and often end up feeling defenseless when these things appear in their own life
- If everyone around them is doing this or watching that, they often go along, simply because they figure that it must be the right thing to do
I want to teach you to take a different perspective, one where you begin examining and questioning the conventional wisdom that may have been the foundation for a lot of your beliefs, decisions, and actions over the years, because quite often this 'wisdom' is wrong - very wrong.
This book is designed to help you do that. But beyond just exposing the pitfalls of some of the most commonly held, 'believable' ideas, you're going to discover the benefits of doing just the opposite - the 'unbelievable', as well as why the unbelievable is a better solution, and how to put it into action in your own life, so you can finally begin to see results where you may never have before.
In a nutshell: I want to share with you, not what's popular, but what works!
Next: Introduction - Part 2: The unBelievable Mindset