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You and I have different areas of expertise and different dreams, but we can use the same success principles to get where we want to go.

I’m a writer. Ever since I can remember, my goal has been to publish a bestselling book, one that sells hundreds of thousands of copies. Over the years I’ve spent thousands of dollars going to writing critique groups, meetings and conventions.

Guess what? More than half the people who attend these meetings have never even published a book. And of those who have, only about one in a thousand is able to successfully market and sell more than ten thousand copies. Despite the fact that most of the people around me were not best-selling authors by this conservative definition, I spent years of my valuable time taking advice from these nice people generously offering their advice.

Do you think this was a good idea?

Dr Lorraine writing in Indonesia

Dr Lorraine writing in Indonesia

Hold that thought.

Did you know that there are about 3000 different species of snakes around the world? And there are about 260 different species of monkeys around the world? For every one monkey, there are 10 snakes! For every 10 snakes slithering around on the ground, there’s only one monkey hanging out in the trees above.

If you’re serious about succeeding in your field, you’re probably a member of at least one professional organization and you attend networking events to expand your contacts. But if you pay attention and really get to know people, you’ll quickly realize that only about 5-10% of people are exceptionally successful at something.

The world is full of lots of people slithering around on the ground. Most of the time they’re minding their own business and don’t mean any harm, but occasionally you’ll come across some with fangs and poisonous venom. It’s polite to be friendly with most people, but if you want to be successful, you have to guard yourself from picking up habits from snakes.

Their venom may poison your thoughts.

Their fangs may puncture your dreams.

Lorraine and Bob Haataia handling a snake in Bangkok, Thailand.

Lorraine and Bob Haataia handling a live snake in Bangkok, Thailand.

Their body may strangle the life out of you.

You’re probably familiar with the bell curve. Would you like to live the rest of your life with the many snakes on the left side of the bell curve? Or would you like to live with the few monkeys on the right side of the bell curve?

What’s the biggest difference between the snakes and the monkeys? Their parents, genetics and instincts tell them where they belong. Even if your parents were poor, even if all your friends and family tell you that you can’t live in the treetops and even if you feel insecure inside.

What’s the difference between animals and humans? It’s our mind. With our mind we can reprogram our thoughts, our personal software, to redefine our future. Would you like to live on your belly in the dirt or swing from the tree tops?

If you decide to immerse yourself with the thoughts, ideas and principles of the people who have already succeeded, you can shed your snake skin, climb up the tree and live like a monkey. The view is better from the top, don’t you agree?

Want to climb to the top?

Here are three success strategies that will help you achieve almost any goal:

1. Read books written by successful people.

Study books and blogs of successful people. They’ve put it all down in an organized fashion making it easier for you to understand. Make reading a habit. The advantage of books is that is allows you to tap into sources of knowledge that go way back. Some of the best mentors are ones who are dead.

You can learn time-tested solutions from people who are no longer here. Many success principles are universal and timeless. One of my all-time favorite books is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. He intentionally surrounded himself with the most successful people of his time such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and many others.

Read every day.

2. Get face-time with successful people.

If you want to succeed, you’ll increase your odds by surrounding yourself with others on the path to success.

Look for opportunities to see successful people speak. Seek out a mentor who’s willing to help you. Identify someone who has already achieved success in the way you want to you. Ask them to mentor you through until you reach or exceed their results. Don’t be afraid to ask! Many people achieve success because they care about helping others. If you recognize their accomplishments, they just might be willing to give you a window of time each week.

It’s better to be alone than to be in the company of ten snakes. It’s ok to hang out with them occasionally, but you’ve got to learn how to handle them.

3. Study the systems of successful people.

This is easier now than ever before. Study the blogs, business models, Ted Talks, YouTube videos, and websites of people you admire. Read articles written about them. Become a student of the people you honor. In most professions, you’re more likely to succeed doing this than going back to school for your master’s or doctorate.

Bob & Lorraine Haataia hanging out with a monkey in Phuket, Thailand.

Bob & Lorraine Haataia hanging out with a monkey in Phuket, Thailand.

It’s up to you to decide what type of creature you want to be . . . what type of life you want to live. I encourage you to read books written by successful people, associate with successful people and study the systems of successful people. Do these things every day until you reach your goals.

Today I’m reading bestselling nonfiction books, learning from the people who wrote them and studying their techniques and writing styles. I’m doing this nearly every day. Next time you see me, please ask me how my book is coming along. Each day I’m getting closer to this goal.

There’s a good reason most of us have a fear of snakes. We don’t want to end up on our bellies in the dirt for the rest of our lives. Make a habit of looking up instead of down. If you want to swing through the tree tops like monkeys, then start “hanging around” them.

What’s your definition of success?

What are you doing to get there?



Author doctorlorraine

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