Many people ask me how I became so successful in the domain of money. The first thing I tell them is that ‘the map of how to get to the mountaintop of money is not the mountaintop’. Success never comes by simply studying self-help books and reading inspiring quotes. I’d learned that success has to be encountered, and you don’t encounter success until you learn to face failure.
When I started out with the dream of getting rich in real estate, I would study books on ‘how to get rich in real estate’; I would look at the mountaintop, and read guidebooks that told me how to get there … but I would stop short. I was afraid to advance, so I began believing that the books were the mountain. I thought if I read enough books, I would just find myself at the top (things would just happen). The longer I believed the books were the mountaintop, the longer I procrastinated climbing the mountain.
It may sound foolish, but millions do it. Millions obsess over ‘how to’ get to where they want to go. Millions read a dozen books that give great tips, yet they are not able to move forward. That’s why many self-help gurus get rich writing books on how to help yourself … millions of folks spend lots of money buying the books, even reading the books, but then they stop short.
Student: Why won’t someone move forward after reading a ‘how to’ book?
Teacher: Underneath it all, is ‘fear of failure’.
Student: What specifically is fear of failure?
Teacher: The very root of ‘fear of failure’ is the 60,000 NO’s that we hear during our childhood rearing years.
There was only one thing that made me fearless when it came to quitting my cushy teaching job and getting out there in the world to get rich in real estate … this one thing was the experience within me that I was part of the ‘living dead’. I was wishing and hoping but not daring to take action for fear of being scolded when I made mistakes. The brakes that stopped me from progressing toward my dreams was fear of hearing, “NO! I told you so!!” I was clinging to old NO’S, and afraid to move into the unknown. I’d created a strange relationship with ‘NO’ for so long, that now to leave that point of view would feel like a divorce.
I believe this insane relationship with ‘NO’ caused me to be one of the ‘living dead’. The ‘living dead’ are those who are alive, but don’t feel alive. I know it well. We become robots, living mechanical existences – doing today what we did yesterday, with a little twist to it – hoping the twist will make a difference. This one idea – “I am part of the living dead” – was what it took to motivate me to have a breakthrough. Understanding the truth, alone, has never betrayed me (and it didn’t in this case).
The only way I could overcome my fear of failure was to accept that I was flexible and intelligent enough to fail my way to success. The moment I agreed to accept this fact, creative energy was released within me. I was fearless and free!
Student: How long does it take to accept the fact that we are intelligent and flexible enough to fail our way to success?
Teacher: It takes but an instant to accept this fact … how long you want to take to lead up to that instant is entirely up to you.
The mountain of making millions was still in front of me, but my mind was no longer full of maps made by different explorers. Things were changing. I was changing. The rigid mind was dead. New sharpness and intensity overcame my old, dull ways. To climb the mountain to millions was now a totally different matter than to dream about it and read books on how to do it while simmering in ‘fear of failure’. Where I couldn’t move an inch, I was now able to move a mile.
The courage to face my fear of ‘NO’ developed quickly by the persistent practice of facing my fear of ‘NO’. True confidence comes from self-insights … not from reading self-help books. I am not putting down self-help books; I am suggesting that you put first things first, and lifting yourself up must come first. Then self-help books can help you. If you do not lift yourself up first – self-help books cannot help you.
This conversation can be translated into any domain of life – how to create harmonious relationships, how to help create world peace, how to start your own business or your own family, how to be healthy. Don’t let the money thing turn you off. Turn within and ask, “What does this have to do with me and my present aspirations and dreams?”
Illustrations by nick