Are you tired of the zillions of ads you see on Facebook or Instagram, promising you the keys to success?

Or how about those emails that go on and on with the “secret” formula that will make all of your wishes come true?

I’ve bought into some of them over the last twenty years. You too?

In fact, when we sold our forever home and decided to slow travel the rest of our lives, I gave away (or recycled) box after box after box of programs, and workbooks, and special reports all with information some guru had poured his or her heart into.

Did some of it work? Of course. These gurus really did give what they believed to be their secrets and best intentions.

And even though I got rid of about twenty years worth of information, I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything. I learned a ton from all of that education! All of that made me into who I am today.

I thought about that this past weekend as I followed a link in an email, making a recommendation for a book on Amazon. I’d never heard of this new author before, but the link was from a trusted source. When I clicked and read the book summary, it was definitely something I’d be interested in reading. So I went to the comments and started reading too. It was a newer book, so only several comments were there. All gave them a five-star review. Except one.

It gave the book one star with this review:

Terrible advice. It’s more about her stories than concrete steps. I expected something that could give me results immediately.

I laughed. I’m willing to bet that one star reviewer is anything but happy. You can tell from her comment that she’s on a quest to “find” a magic potion or pill, something that will transport her anywhere but where she is.

Nothing can ever give you the “magic pill” to success. The only way to do that is to live.

Living gives you all the steps you need to build your life your way. That’s the only way to do it. It’s up to you. Everything else is just talk influencing your behavior and where you are.

People focus on the wrong thing when buying a book, taking a class, or investing in a program that promises the keys to success. People focus on the outcome, when what they really should be looking at is the process.

Can anything really promise you one million dollars, a jillion followers, an easy way to make the pounds fall away, make your relationship oodles better, or even provide you with the secret to success? Nope.

The only thing any training material can do is to suggest something that changes YOU if you follow the advice. If you change, it’s up to you. And it only works IF YOU WANT to be changed.

  • You may or may not reach the destination
  • You may give up
  • You may choose a different path
  • You may manage to lose yourself again in the process

Or, you manage to get there and discover it isn’t as great as what you thought it would be.

It’s frustrating.

After all, all we really want is to be happy. All we really want is to feel like we’ve reached “the place.”

It’s super frustrating not arriving at a final destination and having your dreams come true, or being where you thought you wanted to be only to find you want more. You feel like you’re walking uphill in quicksand, and no matter what you do, that “feeling” envelopes you a little deeper.

I know this feeling all too well. I don’t think any of us can travel down the path of life, and not feel it from time to time.

Not knowing what you want or what it takes to get “it” sucks. To feel like you didn’t get what you thought you’d receive, hurts.

Ultimately, it’s not about what someone else is delivering. It’s always about what you’re receiving.

If you want to learn to do something different from this point forward, don’t go looking for a magical cure with a step by step plan to get there. It’s not about the endpoint; it’s about the process to get there.

Read Everything Looking For One Thing

I’m a big believer in books. I read all the time. But you don’t have to read; you can listen to them on audibles while you workout or walk.

Because I read so much, I have a secret. I check out free books whenever I can – at the library, on Kindle, etc. Then I read them fast.

Most people read self-help books hoping for life-changing benefits. I don’t. I look for one a-ha. Did the book give me one thing to consider? One thing that can change my current approach?

With the best books I read, I find that a-ha moment right away. So I read a little more, and find a few more a-ha’s.

The more a-ha’s, the greater the chance I’ll want to reread the book in the future. Those are the books I buy and store for later reading.

You can follow my 2019 reading list right here.

Build It And They Will Come

We all hope we’re “the one” – that one person who case studies will be created about. The youngest to do this. The first to do that.

Of course, we want to build a website and make a million overnight. Or start a business and have instant fame.

But I can promise you that’s rarely the case.

We also set all our hopes and dreams on it.

“I hate my job. I’m going to quit. I’m going to be happy … when this website makes me a million.”

Wrong approach, my friends.

We’ve been taught to focus on the money. When I get a raise, when I get a promotion, when I start my business, when I hit XXX in sales – all of that puts your mindset on the endpoint, not the journey.

Who will you become with each step of the journey? What will you learn? How will you better yourself?

With so much talk these days about “finding yourself” or discovering your passion, we tend to think we have to do something gigantic to help all humankind to have success. Or if you haven’t picked your passion, or know who you truly are deep inside, that you’ll never be successful.

Passion is merely doing what you love, and in a lot of cases, that works itself out.

Money = Success

We link money to everything.

I’ll be happy when I make $XXX. I need $XXX to quit my job. I need $XXX to feel like I’ve made it. I need $XXX to retire and travel the world.

You’ll never get there.

What’s it going to take to be happy today? How much do you need to live the lifestyle you desire? And speaking of lifestyles, what does that look like anyway?

That’s all you really need.

I want to live a certain lifestyle. Notice I didn’t say live in a certain house or even a certain location. That’s what has put me on this journey I’m currently on.

I sold my forever home because I no longer wanted the maintenance or upkeep a large home took. I no longer wanted that lifestyle. So I changed it.

Stop looking at money as a factor. If money were no object, who would you be? What would you do? Where would you spend your time?

For me, I’d write. I’d travel. I’d teach.

And once I discovered those were my passions, the things I want to do years into the future, it didn’t take long to put them all into place.

The rest comes right along with it.

When I Get “There” I’ll Be Set

I was talking with a fifty-something the other day about goals for the future. She complained about her job. “I can retire in five years. I’m counting down the days. Then I’ll be set. I’ll be more secure financially. I’ll have a guaranteed monthly income. I can start doing what I really want to do.”

What do you want to do then? I asked.

Ummm …

I get it.

But I also watched my dad counting down the days too. He wanted an early out, so that he could do something else – something fun. He was 74 days short of his goal.

While I’m not suggesting you should quit your job and forgo the pension check, what I am suggesting is to put other ideas in place. Create a side gig that will take up more of your life once you retire.

That’s what I did when we sold our forever home, sold part of our business. I made more time in my life to do what I really wanted to do.

If you want to write, write. If you want to start up a blog, do it now. If you want to paint, buy the supplies.

I learned through my father not to wait.

Ask the question today. And build that into your schedule now.