Have you ever read somebody’s bio or business history online and think “damn, how the hell does this person succeed at everything?”
I just read this article over on Tim Ferris’ blog, and here’s how the guest author, Noah Kagan, is introduced:
“Mr. Noah has quite the start-up resume.
He was employee #30 at Facebook, #4 at Mint, had previously worked for Intel… and had turned down a six-figure offer from Yahoo. Since we first met, Noah’s helped create Gambit, an online gaming payment platform and a multi-million dollar business; and AppSumo, loved by entrepreneurs…”
…it goes on but you get the point.
So what’s the deal? How do serial entrepreneurs and the most successful people seem to strike gold over and over while other people never get their lucky break?
Hint: it’s not luck at all.
Process vs. Results and the “Overnight Success” Myth
I first read about this concept of process vs. results in the Millionaire Fastlane (best business book I’ve ever read and you should read it too).
The general idea is this: the average person focuses only on the results they want. Or the results they see others achieve.
You read about someone who sold their startup for $60 million and say “damn, he made millions overnight”.
The headline in the news article will probably read: “24 year old startup founder becomes multi millionaire overnight with photo sharing app”.
Because the writer has never built or sold shit themselves, and they are thinking in terms of results too!
We ignore the risks he took, the years spent learning and developing his own skills and his business.
You open up a news site and read about how Kim Kardashian gets paid $10K for a single tweet, or up to a million to endorse a brand, and you say to yourself, “that’s insane… that tweet takes two seconds and almost no effort”.
You’re ignoring the process of building an audience of millions of people. Whether you agree with her methods or not (read: sex tape), she built that audience and it has tremendous value.
If it were easy, everyone would do it. It isn’t. Most people don’t even start because they’re too busy complaining.
Overnight success is an illusion and viewing other people’s success like this is a poisonous mindset. It leads to jealousy and stops you from getting the results they got. So what should you do?
How to Succeed by Being Process-Oriented
Okay, so how can you turn it around quickly and easily? I’m going to give you the steps I followed this past year to completely shift my mindset (and start succeeding in terms of freelancing AND passive income streams.)
Step 1: Change how you view the success of others
Next time you read about someone selling their startup, or somebody making five or six figures to endorse a brand or anything else like that, stop yourself from saying something negative or playing it off as luck.
Think about the work that went into building their company or their audience. If it’s so easy why haven’t you done it? Stop yourself and really think about what went into that “overnight success.”
If it’s someone selling their startup, go actually read the story of the startup they just sold. I guarantee you’ll notice two things. A) It started a pretty long time ago, probably years ago and B) It was a bumpy ride and took some guts to get to the point they’re at.
And they might have failed at a few startups before this one, learning from their mistakes along the way.
Step 2: Kill Jealousy!
I used to be discouraged when other people succeeded. Sounds crazy, I know. It’s a horrible mindset but it’s tough to shake. Now if someone else succeeds, they’ve literally shown me a proven path to get what I want (money and freedom). I should thank them (and often do). They showed me it was possible, and how.
Jealous people don’t succeed. Better fix that!
Step 3: Embrace Failure
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
I think he said this about the lightbulb. I’m not sure, I wasn’t around at the time.
The point is this: If you only focus on results, each failure is crippling. You’ll give up and quit long before you succeed.
That’s why it’s important to focus on improving yourself and your methods, not just the business you’re building. You should be growing in parallel with your business, otherwise you’re doing it wrong.
If Thomas Edison didn’t give a shit about learning anything and just wanted to make a lightbulb so he could get rich and retire, there’s no way in hell he would have tried 10,000 times. He would have quit and failed.
This is a key piece to how the same people succeed over and over. They focus on their methods and skills and because of this, they can repeat their success very quickly in new industries.
Step 4: Never Stop Improving
Split your bigger goals into smaller pieces so you can really focus on the process along the way. Look for ways to improve and get closer to your goal.
I love this phrase that Gary Vaynerchuck coined: “Jab, Jab, Jab, RIGHT HOOK”
I didn’t read the book. I think it’s about marketing? I kind of just took the literal meaning from it… I picture myself as a boxer in the fight… and you just need to keep jabbing and stay in the fight. Don’t let yourself get knocked out. You don’t know which jab is going to connect but you need to stay in there.
Maybe someone who has actually read the book can tell me if this is what the catch phrase really means or if I’ve just completely butchered it. Either way, it helped me so who cares.
Not everything is a knockout. But if you’re not punching, nothing good will happen.
Conclusion (or not)
If you took the five most successful people I know (some of you know who you are) and took their businesses away overnight, they’d bounce back stronger. I guarantee it. Because they’ve all focused on process, not results.
In my other blogs I like to leave each post with one specific take away. I think that’s “good blogging 101”. I don’t know if I can do that here. It’s still a work-in-progress for me. But I’m excited about the changes I’ve made in mindset this year and if this article helps one person it was worth writing.
As a final note… if this sounds interesting I’d highly recommend grabbing the book Millionaire Fastlane. Incredible book that will repeat what I said only much better and possibly with less swearing.